Glitsy Hollywood holidays 2019 / 2020
Unless you’ve just arrived on the last flight from the planet Zog, it’s fair to assume that everyone’s heard of Hollywood, right? Large hill just outside of Los Angeles in California which has the iconic name ‘Hollywood’ emblazoned across it in massive white letters, no? Yes, we’re all familiar with what and where Hollywood is and precisely what it stands for. What many people won’t be aware of, however, is the holidaying opportunities Hollywood has to offer those seeking out their shot at a big-time break in the movie mecca of the world. Any actor or actress who’s anybody has made their name in this fabled and illustrious part of California, while the postcode and its satellites are home to some of the biggest, most prestigious and indeed, historically-relevant film studios in the world.
What’s more, Hollywood is also, geographically-speaking, an integral part of LA; which again, draws millions of tourists each and every year for any number of reasons (just think Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Strip, etc). Indeed, away from the cameras, lights and action sun-seekers (and celeb-spotters/autograph hunters) will quickly find a host of things to do and places to see in and around Tinseltown during their Hollywood holiday in 2019 / 2020; where the magic of more than just the movies lies around every corner.
So, out of interest, just what are some of the main things which habitually pull the crowds towards Hollywood? It reality it would be quicker simply to compile a list of the things you CAN’T do in Hollywood, compared to the almost infinite experiences readily available to you; in a city – like it’s east coast counterpart – which seemingly never sleeps. From the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame, Madame Tussauds and The Hollywood Museum through to various walking tours which take in many of the area’s famous hotels and moreover, the tales of what happened with stars staying within the fall walls during the so-called ‘Golden Era’ of cinema. Plus, the world-renown Sunset Strip (famed for its eclectic mix of nightlife, including music venues such as The Roxy Theatre, Whiskey-a-Go-Go and Johnny Depp’s co-owned The Viper Room, alongside the Comedy Store (which launched numerous TV and stage careers) and much more besides. Elsewhere, the Disneyland Resort will feature pretty high up the family’s Hollywood holiday hit-list and with good reason!
You name it (in terms of a dazzling array of foodstuff sourced not just locally, but inspired from traditional menus and palates from across the globe), and those opting to eat-out can order it in Hollywood. Based almost entirely on reviews and first-hand experiences, this quick-fire summary of must-visit eateries come highly recommended.
Diddy Riese Cookies is the best dessert place in LA, according to reviews, while California Pizza Kitchen, The Griddle Café, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Pink's Hot Dogs, Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood, and Mel's Drive-In are the hotspots for some seriously filling fare. For those wishing to distance themselves from the more well-known family dining areas, the likes of Verlaine, Pizzana, The Flats, Bone Kettle, Salazar, Officine Brera, Farida, Manuela, The Mar Vista, Catch and Fleishik’s should do the trick.
Family holidays in Hollywood encompass a world of opportunities. And where better to kick things off than the Disneyland Resort; the original theme park where Walt Disney himself walked. Since then, in excess of 750 million guests and counting have followed in his footsteps and the park has grown into a world-class destination with two theme parks, three hotels and the Downtown Disney shopping, dining and entertainment district.
Of course, if you’ve got the kids with you, nothing beats a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood either. Widely regarded for its immersive experiences (an uber realistic Jaws, anyone?!), this theme park allows tourists to leap headlong into their favourite films. While kids (and bigger kids) can always take a trip on the Hogwarts Express in the wizarding world of Harry Potter; or alternatively get a little too close for comfort with King Kong in an explosive 3D experience to remember.
Action & Adventure
Given that Hollywood is (unofficially) the very epicentre of action and adventure – at least from a cinematic entertainment perspective – it’s perhaps of little surprise to learn people enjoying a Hollywood holiday will be spoilt for choice when it comes to throwing themselves into more thrill-seeking twists and turns than your average movie stunt man.
For the action-seeking traditionalists out there, then the Runyon Canyon will be more like it. This 160-acre park at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains has one main loop, plus a glut of dirt-hiking trails. Although the mobilised legions of buff personal trainers and their svelte, athletically-shaped clients might be too much for some, the visual rewards are there for all who ascend to the summit to observe.
Well, it would be if there was an actual beach to speak of here in West Hollywood. That said, not more than a beachball’s throw from Tinseltown are two sandy strips which have certainly had their fair share of the spotlight over the years, routinely appearing in the visual realms of popular culture; namely Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach. The former being widely acknowledged as ‘no ordinary beach’; courtesy of a myriad of street vendors, quirky stores and crazy street performers. In addition to this, Venice Beach is also known for a dedicated area within its parameters called Muscle Beach. Here visitors will often find people working out in the open-air gym – only in America! The latter, Santa Monica Beach is known for being an extremely family-friendly beach. White sands and calm, inviting ocean waters ensure that Santa Monica’s beach appeal to both families and couples, while several beach front cafes are within easy walking distance.
The Hard Rock Café, Angel City Brewery, Bardot, Cicada Club (add US TV series, Mad Men to the long list of awesomeness that has been filmed here), Exchange LA (which once served as the Los Angeles Stock Exchange long before being repurposed as the cool nightclub you witness today), Bootsy Bellows, and Circus Disco are just a small selection of the trendy haunts waiting to host a night out like no other.
Hollywood nightlife really is something else, in fact we’ll just stop talking here as it really has to be experienced first hand…
For incomparable sightseeing, why not take a drive along one of the most glamorous addresses in the world; namely Mulholland Drive. Not only is it home to great swaths of Hollywood’s biggest actors and actresses, it also affords those who venture there a fantastic sunset vista over the Hollywood Hills. Which is nothing if not hugely romantic. And if you head out of Hollywood (but not too far) you’ll encounter the most instantly recognisable sign anywhere. Originally created in 1923, the then ‘Hollywood’ sign was supposed to remain in situ for just 18 months; yet here it is some 90 plus years later for all to see. Speaking of getting an eyeful, there's plenty of parking to view the sign by Lake Hollywood Park, however if you really want to view it in style why not take advantage of the dedicated helicopter tour of the sign. Or maybe – and in the same Beachwood drive vicinity – you might like to pay a visit to Sunset Ranch Hollywood. Which, to the naked eye, is a cluster of horse stables and ranch that offers a variety of daily trail rides through Griffith Park.
The predominant culture found permeating every nook and cranny in Hollywood is, what else, but the silver screen; and its various guises and historical surrounds. The Dolby Theatre – previously the Kodak Theatre, until the name change in 2012 – is a 3,400-seat live entertainment centre which, among other accolades, is the LA seat of the annual Academy Awards. Or the OSCARS as it’s otherwise known. Yet all year-round the venue stages a series of high-profile screenings, premieres and events which attract visitors from afar. Meanwhile the Hollywood Bowl – a familiar-looking outdoor amphitheatre which has been hosting concerts since the LA Philharmonic first played here in 1922 – is situated in an aesthetically and geographically-advantageous fold in the Hollywood Hills. This 18,000-seat venue can bring out the romantic in the terminally cynical and has in its past hosted everyone from the Beatles to Big Bird, and today mixes classical concerts with all manner of rock and pop performances.