Hollywood

by Peter Baxter  

signs_hollywood_236386_l.jpgHollywood refers to an area just Northeast of downtown Los Angeles and its name now stands alone as a reference to the movie industry, but when most people think of Hollywood, they think of the sign. The most distinctive landmark in California and an international symbol for sunshine and entertainment, viewing the Hollywood sign on your trip through Los Angeles is both a rite of passage for most travelers and more difficult to spot than it would seem for a sign with such notoriety.

The Hollywood sign was not always the white lettered beacon of fame and fortune that it is today. Originally extended to spell “Hollywoodland” and built to advertise a real estate development in the area, the “land” park fell down one day and no one ever bothered to put it back up.

Today, the famous smog of Los Angeles obscures the sign from distant view points and from Hollywood it’s difficult to get the proper viewing angle. One of the best views of the large white letters is at the Griffith Observatory. Walk around the back of the building and look north over the mountains and you’ll see the sign like Ace of Base.

Attractions

There is more to see and do in Hollywood than just the sign, however. Runyon Canyon, Griffith Park, Hollywood and Highland, and the Walk of Fame, are all in Hollywood offering a diverse line up of attractions.

In Runyon Canyon you’ll find some of the best looking bitches in Hollywood… and their owners. This dog-park in the hills just above Hollywood attracts aspiring actors and actresses from the many cheap apartments at the base of the park. Every day you’ll find beautiful people walking beautiful dogs waiting for their big break on trails overlooking the Hollywood Hills and downtown Los Angeles.

Hikers enjoy similar trails and views at Griffith Park, but the park burned in 2007 and the trails through the blackened hills don’t make for as refreshing a walk as the steep, looping routes through Runyon Canyon.

The trendy intersection of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave has tons of restaurants, bars, clubs, shows and comedy acts to choose from and it is the start of many a night out in Hollywood. Promotions, celebrity appearances and the kind of fare that keeps Hollywood on the pop-culture radar makes the intersection a popular tourist destination as well.

Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the nearby “Walk of Fame” give movie stars and other Entertainers ample opportunity to cast their names in cement in Hollywood. The front of the theater is a tourist hub: bus tours of the city depart from Grauman’s and movie-character look-alikes both offer their likeness for photo ops and bother pretty much everyone.

Pink’s Hot Dogs has been a Hollywood staple for half a century. Pink’s began out of the food cart of Paul and Betty Pink in 1939 and today hot dog concoctions named after celebrities. Although sometimes a little hard on your digestion, the inventive sausages are a treat and a fun food choice for after a concert or a night out in Hollywood. You’ll have to overcome the slow-moving line to get your hot dog from Pink’s but most of those in line say that the wait only adds to their enjoyment of the sausage.


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