Self-guided Hollywood Walk of Fame tours tend to be underwhelming.
For most Angelenos, unless they work near the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the only occasion for going there is to satisfy their curious out-of-town guests. And often, their guests are surprised and underwhelmed. Decades of Hollywood's self-promotion have led many tourists to expect something completely different. Perhaps the city of Los Angeles could do a better job of making this much-visited tourist attraction a little less seedy. The sad looking retail fronts could also use some sprucing up to compliment the more prominent and attractive historical buildings in the vicinity. The crowds and street vendors that gather here everyday tend to overwhelm the senses with a chaos and confusion. All of the above prompts the average visitor to ponder why this place is such an world famous attraction.
Consider taking a tour with a private guide.
But before you cross Hollywood Walk of Fame off your exploration list, you should consider taking a tour with a knowledgeable private tour guide. It will help you scratch through the gritty surface of Hollywood and uncover this neighborhood's rich history. Many times, I have watched my guests' attitudes change as they follow me on my tour and hear me explain what has been happening in this neighborhood for the past 120 years. There is much to miss if you don't have a knowledgeable tour guide to point it out. For instance, a few clever cosmetic tricks are all it takes to transform a touristy shopping mall into a glamorous award venue. You probably would never guess that at its founding, Hollywood was as a super conservative community far more interested in building churches than theaters.
Something is always happening in Hollywood.
Obviously that changed, and today, the history of Hollywood is the history of entertainment. When you are standing on Hollywood Blvd, you might become part of this history just like the innocent bystanders on the video clip shown here (Hollywood Blvd Filming). Filming is just one of many exciting events that you may encounter in Hollywood. Twice a month on average, Hollywood invites the public and celebrities to add one more star on the Walk of Fame. Almost weekly, a new movie premiers at one of the historical theaters on Hollywood Blvd. Since the first Oscar ceremony was held at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1929, Hollywood Blvd has been the regular host of such world-renowned entertainment events. The exotic Grauman's Chinese Theatre is one of the most recognizable icons of Hollywood, as are the Dolby Theater, and El Capitan Theater. The handprints and footprints of stars such as Shirley Temple, Marylyn Monroe, Michale Jackson, Will Smith, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Anniston, Emma Watson and Stan Lee inspire nostalgia from childhood family fun to remembrance of difference era.
Nobody escapes Hollywood.
Pop culture worldwide is conveyed through stories that are told on the silver screen. And as technology makes screens ever more omnipresent, Hollywood has expanded its influence and story telling far beyond through just movies. Social media, YouTube, and other streaming content have all become intertwined with the Hollywood business. Even as teens abandon TVs and movies theaters, Hollywood continues making waves in the pop culture through our cell phones and iPads. Willing or not, we are inevitably consumers of the products and lifestyles that we watch through various types of screens. Few of us can honestly claim that we have not somehow been influenced by the Hollywood entertainment industry. So, while you're in L.A., be sure to come witness it first hand. It would be a shame not to.