Los Angeles isn’t just filled with iconic places, the entire city is an icon! The home of Hollywood, many places in the City of Angels have been featured* repeatedly in movies television shows, video games, and songs giving them a familiar feel to people around the world.
Touring around town for the first time, you’ll recognize familiar street names like Rodeo Drive or Sunset Boulevard, and sights like the Hollywood Sign or the Santa Monica Pier. Although there are countless places just waiting to be discovered it makes perfect sense to check a few of these icons off your list first!
1. The Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood Sign is one of the most famous icons in the world, making it the perfect place to start! How can you come all the way to LA, and not see the Hollywood Sign! There are many places around town to get a view of the famous sign, but Bronson Caves or the Griffith Park Observatory, both in Griffith Park are nice options for closer views if you’re not up for a hike.
Featured in: San Andreas starting Dwayne Johnson, Grand Theft Auto, Miley Cyrus Party in the USA, Katy Perry California Gurls and so many more.
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2. The Griffith Park Observatory
If you’re in the neighborhood viewing the Hollywood Sign why not check out The Griffith Observatory? Looking out from the Observatory and it’s grounds there are incredible views in every direction and on a clear day you can see forever.
A visit to the Griffith Park Observatory includes something for everyone! Fabulous views of Downtown Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign, hiking, The Halls of Space, a planetarium, and a cafe. Entrance to the Observatory is free of charge.
Featured in: La La Land, Jurassic Park, Freaks and Geeks, Transformers, The Terminator, and Rebel Without A Cause are just a few of the many titles filmed in the area.
3. The Walk of Fame
Another nearby famous Hollywood institution is the Walk of Fame, which runs 1.3 miles along Hollywood Boulevard between Gower Street and La Brea Avenue. There are more than 2,500 stars along the Walk and you’ll be sure to recognize a few of your favorite entertainers.
Featured in: Pretty Woman
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4. Capital Records Building
Located on the famous corner of Hollywood & Vine, the iconic Capital Records Building isn’t open to the public, but its still a fun sight to see. The landmark building is designed to look like a stack of records and was the world’s first circular office building.
The red light at the top blinks the word Hollywood in morse code.
Featured in: Earthquake, Hancock, The Day After Tomorrow. Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, and Paul McCarney are just a few of the music legends who have recored at Capital Studios.
5. Graumans Chinese Theater
Don’t miss a visit to the famous Grauman’s Chinese theater located on Hollywood Boulevard. The theater is famous for the many celebrity prints which have been pressed into the courtyard floor and its fun to fit your hands and feet into molds of some of films greatest legends. The theater is operational, and many movies are premiered here.
Recent Premiers: Game Night, Tomb Raider, Pandas, Pacific Rim Uprising, and The Handmaid’s Tale
6. The Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is located one mile from the famed corner of Hollywood and Highland and is an amazing place to see a show, however, you don’t have to attend a show to see this wonderful landmark. The Hollywood Bowl is a public park! An easy walk from Hollywood Boulevard, the Bowl is open to the public during the day and very worth a look around. While you are there check out the free museum featuring artifacts from the Bowl’s history.
Featured in: A Star Is Born, Double Indemnity, Anchors Aweigh, Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl, Xanadu, Some Kind of Wonderful, Beaches Escape from L.A., and Zombieland
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7. Sunset Strip
The Sunset Strip is a mile and a half stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes though West Hollywood. It is home to many famous night clubs, massive billboards, hotels, and boutiques.
Famous Venues: The Viper Room, The Whiskey a Go Go, The Sky Bar, and The Chateau Marmont
Featured in: Sunset Boulevard, Sunset Strip
8. Rodeo Drive
First timer or resident, there’s something special about a stroll down Rode Drive. You’ll hear music as you stroll the down the street peeking in and out of the many world famous luxury boutiques. Looking for something a bit more affordable? Both the Paley Center for Media and the Beverly Hills Fountain are nearby and both are free.
Featured in: Pretty Woman, Beverly Hills Cop, Clueless
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9. The Beverly Hills Hotel
The Beverly Hills Hotel is located in the city of Beverly Hills on Sunset Boulevard, and opened in 1912, before Beverly Hills was even a city! You can’t miss its iconic pink paint and famous sign. The Hotel’s famous pink color and Polo Lounge didn’t come along until the early 1940s, but the Hotel has long been associated with the glamour of Hollywood’s film and rock stars.
Not a guest? Don’t worry, you can still visit the hotel. Eat in one of the hotel’s famous restaurants and enjoy the lovely ambiance.
Featured in: California Suite, The Way We Were, Shampoo, and American Gigolo. You might also recognize it from the cover of The Eagles’ Hotel California album.
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10. Santa Monica Pier
Yes, it’s very touristy, but everyone should visit the Santa Monica Pier at least once! Not only does it boast the only over water Roller Coaster in the world, but it also has na adorable little aquarium and an old fashioned carousel. My favorite time to go is at night when it’s all lit up!
Featured in: A Night at the Roxbury, Miracle Beach, Forrest Gump, Not Another Teen Movie, Iron Man, Dark Ride, Cellular, Falling Down, Ruthless People, Love Stinks, Hancock, Hannah Montana, 2012, The Glenn Miller Story, Pacific Rim Uprising,
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11. Venice Beach
There’s nothing like the beach in Southern California, and when you throw in everything else that Venice has to offer you’ve got nothing short of paradise! Venice is easily my favorite place in all of LA and the first place I bring all newcomers. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Featured in: Lords of Dogtown, The Real World, The A-Team, Three’s Company, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Fletch, Skatetown USA, and The Seventh Sign
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12. Angels Flight
The newly reopened Angels Flight Railway has been in operation on and off since 1901, and at 298 feet is the world’s shortest railway. When it opened, one hundred years ago, its location was the main hub of commerce and entertainment in Downtown Los Angeles. The Angels Flight Railway is a treasured piece of LA history, and it has given more than 100 million rides!
Featured in: La La Land
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*This is just a sampling of films, videos, tv show, and songs that each of these locations has been featured in. There is simply no way I could list them all.
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