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It is THE pilmigrage for L.A. first-timer visitors, walk over the most glorious Californian strip. Over the years, the glamour faded but the history remains. Let’s reveal some hidden gems and fun facts that define Hollywood Boulevard’s past and present.
A pinch of history
- Originally, Hollywood Boulevard was named Prospect Avenue.
- It attracts more than 10 million visitors every year
- The Walk of Fame stretches over 18-blocks (15 blocks on Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks on Vine Street), 1.3 miles (2.1km) for more than 2,600 stars.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Back in 1953, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce developed ideas to promote and maintain Hollywood grandeur. E. M. Stuart proposed to put stars on the sidewalk. The Walk of Fame was born.
Filmmaker Stanley Kramer was the 1st honored with a star on March 28th, 1960 (Star location: 6100 Hollywood Blvd)
Did you know?
Muhammad Ali is the only star set on the wall of Kodak Theater. The boxer refused to be walked over. (Star location 6801 Hollywood Blvd.)
Stars are awarded in five categories: Motion pictures, Music, Radio, Television, and Live performance.
There is a special category allocated to events or companies. For example, you will find the 1969 Apollo moon landing (Star location: 6200 Hollywood Blvd), Los Angeles Dodgers, Victoria Secret, Princess Cruises & the Love Boat TV show.
Did you know?
Gene Autry is the only person honored with all FIVE stars!
(Gene Autry’ stars location: Radio: 6520 Hollywood Blvd, Recording: 6384 Hollywood Blvd, TV: 6667 Hollywood Blvd, Live Performance: 7000 Hollywood Blvd, and Motion Pictures: 6644 Hollywood Blvd)
Anyone can nominate a star. The candidate needs to accept his election to be eligible. Then, every year in June, the committee selects 30 celebrities over approximately 200 nominations. The nominees will pay $50,000 fees and will schedule their ceremony within five years.
Are you looking for a specific star? Check out https://walkoffame.com/ to find the exact location. Be aware that stars can be temporary removed for construction. In 1994, 450 of them were store for three years for the subway development.
Note that there are less than 20 fictional characters like Mickey (Star location: 6925 Hollywood Blvd), and Minnie Mouse (Star location: 6834 Hollywood Boulevard)
Hollywood Golden Age: the best Historic Landmarks
The Boulevard tells the story of the Hollywood Golden Age.
From 1910 to 1960, Hollywood developed an aura for filmmaking and entertainment. Studios, theaters, and hotel buildings replaced and transformed the former residential district.
Real estate developer Charles Edward Toberman, named the “Father of Hollywood,” contributed to this development. He built some iconic places like The Egyptian (1922), El Captain (1926), the TLC Chinese Theater (1927), and the Roosevelt Hotel.
Don’t miss this historic heritage while visiting Hollywood Boulevard. Below are some of the “Must See” gems.
- The Egyptian Theatre
Palms trees, pharaohs, and hieroglyph murals. Welcome to the Egyptian theater!
The Egyptian theater hosted the first Hollywood Premiere in 1922 with the movie Robin Hood
Damaged during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, it was renovated and restored.
The Egyptian Theater 6712 Hollywood Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90028
- The TCL Chinese Theatre
Opened in 1927, it is one of the preferred theaters for movie premieres. The Chinese design theater includes many artifacts imported from China like the temple bells.
The forecourt immortalizes nearly 200 celebrities’ handprints and footprints. Theater co-owners Mary Pickford was the first to officially press palms on the wet cement.
Note for moviegoers: since 2013, it’s the first (and only) IMAX auditorium (94ft x 46ft screen) on Hollywood Boulevard.
TCL Chinese Theatre: 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
- El Captain
Built-in 1926, the 1,550 seat theater operated as a playhouse until 1941. It cost $14 million to renovate and modernize as a movie palace. Today it welcomes Walt Disney Studios’ film premieres.
El Captain: 6838 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
- The Pantages Theater
Opened on June 4th, 1930, the Pantages Theater was the last movie palace built in Hollywood.
Since 1977 the theater showcases Broadway’s notorious productions. Pass the doors to admire the 1930 Art Deco- style entirely renovated in 2000 for the production The Lion King.
The Pantages Theater: 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90028
- Capitol Record
One block from Hollywood Boulevard, look up at the circular 13-story tower home to Capital Records, the 1st West Coast-based music recording studio. Established in 1942, the recording label signed artists like Franck Sinatra, the Beatles, and the Beach Boys.
- The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Historic landmark, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel opened in 1927. The Spanish colonial-style hotel is a 12-story building including 300 rooms and 63 suites. Since its opening, it welcomes countless icons from Clark Gable to Brat Pitt. Many movie stars enjoyed a longer stay while filming in Hollywood. Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Patterson were permanent residents as their lived respectively two and thirty-five years in the hotel.
The hotel is featured in many movies and TV shows like I love Lucy, Lucifer, Catch me if you can, Internal Affairs, etc.
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood BLVD Los Angeles
- Dolby Theatre
The Dolby Theater opened in November 2011 and welcomes the annual Academy Awards since then.
The theater was renamed in 2012 after Kodak’s bankruptcy and a new sponsorship deal with Dolby.
Museums and Shopping
Hollywood Boulevard includes multiple souvenirs shop, bars, and restaurants. The largest shopping area is the Babylon Court next to the Dolby Theater. The massive pachyderms and Babylon décor are inspired by The 1916 silent film Intolerance.
Babylon Court, 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles.
For more activities, you can check out the following museums: Madame Tussauds Hollywood, Hollywood Wax Museum, and the Hollywood Museum. There are also multiple pop-up exhibition halls.
Touristic trap? Probably. I was extremely disappointed during my first visit to the Boulevard. Dirty and crowded sidewalks, loudly protesters, dull costume characters in place of the expected cliché of glittering, glamour, red carpet, and celebrities.
However, I came back and (re)discover it. I enjoyed many Broadway shows at the Pantages, saw Ryan Gosling while missing his movie premiere, run at night with BlacklistLA to discover some murals, and guided family & friends visiting.
Hope you will enjoy your visit and appreciate Hollywood past and present landmarks.
Article based on my visits from 2013 to 2021
*COVID-19 update as of May 2021*
- Please wear a mask and respect physical distance of 6 feet between yourself and others.
- Please check L.A. County’s health and safety protocols before your visit.
- Location: Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles
- Los Angeles Visitor Information Center: 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood 90028
- Admission: Free
- Duration: 1-2 hours
- Parking: Metered street parking or paid lots
- More information available at https://walkoffame.com/
Have you walked over Hollywood Boulevard? Did you like it? Share in the comments!
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