If you think that Hollywood Walk of Fame's bronze-rimmed stars won't be enough to satisfy your appetite for star-sighting, maybe seeing the real kind will.
On a recent trip to see this famous landmark, we shared an escalator ride with Amaury Nolasco (that's Sucre to you, Prison Break watchers) as we came in from the Hollywood and Highland parking structure.
Although there's never a guarantee that you'll be seeing stars in this popular tourist spot, you can be sure that you can literally step in their footsteps. In front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood Ave., you can measure the hand and footprints of mega-celebs like Will Smith, the Harry Potter stars, and Tom Cruise against yours. Morgan Freeman's was most impressive to me.
For souvenir photos, you can pose with the street performers dressed as your favorite movie and TV characters. Caution: you do have to pay at least $1 per photo with these mascots, and some of them can be pushy so prepare for the hard-sell.
Other paid activities include taking the Hollywood bus tours, or if you want to avoid the harsh summer sun, you can buy a ticket for a tour of the Kodak Theater and have your Oscar moment indoors. Outside, for free, you can have your picture taken on the steps where celebrities walk on their way to the theater during Oscar ceremonies.
Don't miss the chance to pose against the Hollywood sign background. Best spots to see the giant iconic sign would be on the California Pizza Kitchen patio on the ground floor, or at the second floor hallway overlooking the fountain.
If you're flush with sightseeing money, you can also go to the Hollywood Wax Museum and Ripley's "Believe it or Not" Museum (a bit creepy for my scaredy-cat taste), or see Wicked in the Pantages theater while you're in the area.
There are souvenirs and shops galore in the Hollywood and Highland (H&H) mall so there are plenty of opportunities to choose a memento to remember your Hollywood visit by.
TIP: To save on parking costs, park inside the Hollywood and Highland parking structure and have your ticket validated by buying water or cookie from any shop that offers validation (almost every shop in the H&H mall does). If you're coming from Hollywood Ave., make a right on Highland and enter the structure on your left. It's a big parking lot so don't forget where you parked!
Validated Parking: $2
Entrance Fee to H&H: None
Kodak Theater tour: Adults $15/kids under 3 Free
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[topmost photo from wikipedia]