Things to Do in Hollywood

This post covers the best things to do in Hollywood, including nighttime, free, as well as family-friendly tours, attractions, and activities.

 

 

 


TOP TEN THINGS TO DO IN HOLLYWOOD


1) Explore the Hollywood Walk of Fame 

Discover your favorite celebrity star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame!

What began in 1958 with just eight honorees has evolved into thousands of stars within a few city blocks.

 

 

Explore your favorites within the categories of film, television, radio, live entertainment, and music.


2) Take a Bus or Walking Tour 

Exploring Hollywood with a guide, whether a live guide or a self-guided tour, will help you find all the best sites, greatest photo stops, and most interesting stories.

 

Hollywood walking tour

 

Check out our post for the best Hollywood Walking tours, which includes our guided name your own price walking tour and a self-guided tour that you can take on your own time.

Also available to you are hop-on-hop-off bus tours as well as Hollywood homes tours.


3) Tour a Movie Studio 

Most of the biggest movie studios in Hollywood offer some type of tour to visitors.

At each, you’ll be able to get that behind-the-scenes action you’ve been after and tour some pretty iconic backlots where filming continues every day!

 

 

There are 4 major studios offering tours, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony, and Paramount Pictures.

Check out our post where we compare the best movie studio tours Hollywood has to offer!


4) Take a Stars’ Homes Tour 

It can’t be Hollywood without a big dose of fame! Get your celebrity fix with a Stars’ Homes driving tour, which you could go on your own or one an organized bus tour.

 

Starline Minibus tour. Image Source: Starlinetours.com.

 

Not only will you see the dwellings of some very famous people, but you’ll also cruise Rodeo Drive, through West Hollywood, and into neighborhoods like Belair & the Hollywood Hills.


5) Consider a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass 

Tourist discount passes work by bundling tickets to popular tourist destinations into one price, usually between 20%-50% the retail price.

Hollywood is filled with museums, attractions, and tours that are included for free or at a large discount on several passes, including but and celebrity tours.

 

 

Read our post comparing the different LA (which includes many Hollywood items!) tourist discount passes.  

Several bus tour companies, including hop-on-hop-off buses, also offer discounts and deals.


6) Visit TCL Chinese Theatre

One of Sid Grauman’s iconic theatres, the TCL Chinese Theatre has been a staple for Hollywood movie premieres since opening in 1927.

 

TCL Chinese Theatre Los Angles

 

Explore the famous celebrity hand and footprints out front or take a tour of the historic interior. Plus, it’s still used as a movie theatre!

 

TCL Chinese Theatre Los Angles Handprints

 


7) See a Show! 

It is Tinseltown after all! Hollywood is home to a handful of historic theatres where on any given day you can see a film or live stage show.

Check out what’s on at legendary theatres like Hollywood Pantages, El Capitan, and the Egyptian.


8) Museums and Attractions 

Hollywood offers a lot of fun and informative museums covering a range of topics and caters to people of all ages!

See our section below to see what museums might be the best pick for your visit to Hollywood!


9) Watch a TV Taping

Most often, the audience that’s a part of a live studio taping for game shows, daytime, and late-night shows are there at no cost for admission.

 

 

Check out our post on how to get tickets to TV shows in LA to secure your free tickets!

Check out our section on free things to do in Hollywood for more ideas.


10) See the Hollywood Sign 

What once read “Hollywoodland” and was part of a real estate development is now one of the most famous and photographed signs in the world!

 

Hike to Hollywood Sign Los Angeles

 

The Hollywood Sign can be seen from various places in Hollywood but we particularly like the views from the breezeways at the Hollywood and Highland center. 


HONORABLE MENTION

Grab a Bite to Eat! 

A lot of restaurants in Hollywood still survive from the 1930s Golden Age.

Take your seat in Hollywood history at favorites like Pig N Whistle where Shirley Temple was a regular.

Or, grab a steak at Musso and Frank Grill that will be celebrating 100 years of service in 2019 and has hosted literary giants like F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck.

There is more in the sections below. For even more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on things to do in LA.


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MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS

The Hollywood Museum 

Housed in the historic Max Factor building (where Marilyn Monroe became a blonde),

The Hollywood Museum has exhibits that offer hundreds of movie artifacts, props, costumes (including a pair of the Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz), and photographs among much more.


Guinness World Records Museum 

An interactive museum that’s great for families.

The Guinness World Records Museum will let you attempt the world’s long jump record, compare your weight and height with the world’s tallest and heaviest, and experience speed records in the Adrenaline Theatre.

The museum is located centrally on the Walk of Fame.


Ripley’s Believe It or Not

A museum that’s home to dozens of oddities, Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Hollywood will certainly have you (and your kids!) scratching your head.

Explore the strange exhibits which include a shrunken head, pose with pop culture icons, and experience some incredible visual illusions among much more!


Hollywood Wax Museum 

The original wax museum in the neighborhood, the Hollywood Wax Museum gives visitors the opportunity to pose and take photos with wax replicas of some of their favorite celebrities.

Additionally, the museum provides props and costumes for guests to use while getting their best selfie!


Madame Tussauds Hollywood 

In this famous chain’s Hollywood outlet guests can pose with their favorite movie stars, singers, athletes, and much more! For the adventurous, try the team-based virtual reality experience.


Universal Studios and CityWalk 

More than just a film studio, Universal Studios in Hollywood offers people of all ages an adrenaline-filled theme park in addition to its studio and backlot tour.

Enjoy a number of rides & attractions and experience the wonder of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

CityWalk at Universal doesn’t charge an admission fee and is filled with popular restaurants, souvenir stores, other specialty shops, a dueling piano bar, and much more!


Museum of Death

Essentially, the goal of this museum is to make people feel “happy to be alive.”

It’s for the morbidly curious and contains exhibits that features a large collection of serial killer artwork, coroners instruments, Manson Family memorabilia, and much more.

It’s suggested for mature audiences only and might be too explicit for children.


The Hollywood Bowl and Museum

This historic concert venue has hosted some of music’s greatest ensembles including The Beatles.

See a concert in the evening or take a free self-guided tour of the venue’s museum which features ten photographic displays throughout the property focusing on a range of information.

 


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THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN HOLLYWOOD

Below are a few great things to do at night in Hollywood.

Some of the items we’ve already mentioned in this post like walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame and seeing a show at the TCL Chinese Theatre are also great nighttime activities.

 

 

For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post on things to do at night in LA.


Cruise the Sunset Strip 

Let the lights of the Sunset Strip shine down on you as you cruise through larger than life movie billboards and past some of the most legendary comedy clubs, bars, and music venues Hollywood has to offer.


Spend an Evening at Hollywood & Highland (kid-friendly)

Centrally located in the heart of Hollywood this complex offers a number of restaurants, souvenir stores, and other shops.

Additionally, check out the great views of the Hollywood Sign from the center’s breezeways and enjoy the dancing water installation in the middle of the ground floor.


Enjoy the Nightlife in West Hollywood

Paint the town red at some of LA’s best nightlife venues in West Hollywood. There are dozens of bars, clubs, and other venues to choose from that feature dancing and live entertainment.

West Hollywood is also the LGBTQ neighborhood of LA and thrives on being all-inclusive.


Catch a Concert at the Hollywood Bowl!

This historic amphitheater has hosted musical acts from The Beatles to Coldplay and offers an incredible experience to any concert goer!

Check the calendar to see what performances might be on while you’re in town!

 

 

For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post on things to do at night in LA.

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO IN HOLLYWOOD

Hollywood has a lot to offer free of charge!

Some of the attractions and activities we’ve listed like getting stellar views of the Hollywood Sign and watching a live TV taping are completely free of charge!

 

 

For even more free activities, see our guide to free things to do in LA.


Visit Hollywood Forever Cemetery 

The final resting place for some of Hollywood’s biggest legends. Walkable from Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood Forever Cemetery will lead you to the graves of Rudolph Valentino, Bugsy Siegel, Jayne Mansfield, and many more icons.

 

 

Additionally, the cemetery often hosts cultural events like movies and a Day of the Dead celebration


Browse Records at Amoeba Music

Music enthusiasts love perusing the aisles of the world’s largest independent record store!

 

 
Amoeba Music has hundreds of vinyl records, CDs, movies, and other merchandise to discover. Plus, they often host live music events.


Hike Runyon Canyon 

Head up the Hollywood Hills and enjoy the sweeping 360 views from the top of Runyon Canyon.

On a clear day, you’ll see the Hollywood Sign, Downtown LA, Griffith Observatory, and even the ocean! Keep your eyes peeled for celebrities too–people love to come to see and be seen.

TIP: Our Guide to Free Things to do in LA lists a number of activities and events that won’t cost you a dime!

 


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FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

Hollywood is really a haven for family-friendly activities in the LA area.

Some of the items we’ve mentioned in this post like touring a movie studio and visiting The Hollywood Museum can be fun for people of all ages!

Here are a few more kid-friendly things to do in Hollywood.


Visit Madame Tussauds

Families love Madame Tussauds Wax Museum for its interactive nature. Visitors are able to touch the figures (except their faces and hands) and it provides a fun environment for lots of photographs!

Watch your kids’ amazement as they see their favorite celebrities come to life (sort of!).


Go Bowling!

During the day, this trendy bowling alley located at Hollywood and Highland can be a fun activity for families. In addition to bowling, Lucky Strike offers a full bar menu and food!


Go Horseback Riding at Sunset Ranch

A fun activity that also offers incredible views of Hollywood, the Hollywood Sign, and downtown LA, a guided horseback tour with Sunset Ranch is a one of a kind experience for all!

 

 

Choose from a variety of tours that include day trips, evening tours, and an evening sunset tour and BBQ combo.

TIP: For more ideas of things to do with kids in LA, see our post on things to do in LA with children.

 


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SEASONAL THINGS TO DO IN HOLLYWOOD

There is always something on in Hollywood no matter the time of year! However, special seasonal events take place around a number of holidays creating even more fun for everyone.

Here are some of our favorite seasonal Hollywood events.


SPRING

Hollywood Farmers Market (kid-friendly)

Lovely to visit in the spring when the weather is nice but open all year round, the Hollywood Farmers Market features seasonal produce as well as meats, cheeses, eggs, jams, jellies, and an array of other homemade items. Additionally, the street market offers gifts and other craft items. 


SUMMER

Movies at Hollywood Forever (kid-friendly)

Spend an evening among the dead with summer outdoor film screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy DJs and photo booths before the movie begins. Sometimes, the film’s stars or director might even stop by!


FALL

Day of the Dead Celebration at Hollywood Forever (kid-friendly)

Hollywood Forever celebrates Dia de los Muertos annually on the last Saturday before November 2nd. Over 40,000 participants (many of them in costume!) honor the departed with this colorful Mexican tradition. 


West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval

One of the largest Halloween events in the country, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval features live music, dancing, local eats, and so much more! Santa Monica Boulevard closes to traffic for the event making it a true block party!


WINTER

Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Studios (kid-friendly)

Universal Studios theme park in Hollywood features a number of holiday attractions. Explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with real snow or get in the Whoville holiday spirit with Grinchmas. Don’t miss the Christmas Tree at CityWalk!

Grinchmas at Universal Studios Los Angeles


Seasonal Events at Hollywood and Highland (kid-friendly)

Throughout the month of December, Hollywood and Highland offer a number of holiday events. These might include special pop-up shops, live entertainment, a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and more!

 


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About the author

Manager | Chicago & Los Angeles

Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!