Hollywood is so much more than the brass stars commemorating celebrities on the Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre. While the neighborhood has a rich history in the entertainment industry, it’s also full of fascinating places loved by tourists and locals alike.
Explore 14 local favorites from Hollywood and the communities it encompasses, such as Little Armenia and Thai Town.
Elevated above street level, Barnsdall Art Park is an ideal place to go for sweeping views of Hollywood. Aline Barnsdall was a philanthropist who gifted the park to the city of Los Angeles in 1927. The park is also home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Hollyhock House, built in 1919-1921. On any given afternoon, you’ll see people gathering in the park for picnics and personal fitness lessons, or simply lounging in the LA sun. In the summer it also hosts Friday night wine tastings.
On any given day of the week, Upright Citizens Brigade is the place to go for comedy shows, whether stand-up, sketch or improv. UCB originated in Chicago in the ’90s and made its way to Los Angeles in 2005. It now has two Hollywood locations, one on Franklin and one on Sunset. Shows are often no more than $5 or $10, and it’s recommended you arrive early since the venues are open seating.
Founded in 1995, this museum explores the one of two inevitable things in life: death (the other, as the saying goes, is taxes). You’ll find an array of unique artifacts at the Museum of Death, including a collection of artwork by serial killers, Manson family memorabilia, and crime scene photographs. It’s one of LA’s oddest museums – and it’s not for the faint of heart. The museum is small and takes the average visitor typically 45 minutes to get through, although the morbidly minded could easily spend hours examining the extensive collection.
It’s possible to spend hours flipping through the record selection at Amoeba Records. Amoeba’s first store opened in Berkeley in 1990. While the Hollywood branch is massive, it still possesses that same independent Berkeley spirit. You’ll find records, CDs, DVDs and even VHS tapes here, and since they also accept used items you’ll find a constantly rotating collection. Check out Amoeba’s calendar as it frequently hosts live shows by artists of all genres.
Angelenos have a reputation for being health-conscious hiking-lovers, and Runyon Canyon is one of the places where you can adopt that lifestyle for yourself. Enter on Fuller Avenue, head left, and you’ll find both the steepest trail and a separate paved (and easier) hike. If you head to the right, you’ll have another moderate climb. Whichever way you go, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles.
After the bouncer hands you back your ID, he’ll let you know the beer is in the fridge. Once inside, you’ll discover one of LA’s most original watering holes. Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is a tribute to Mark and Jonnie Houston’s father, David Wayne Houston, “a blue-collar pool shark who enjoyed late nights in his garage building and fixing things.” Drinkers here are filled with nostalgia for a simpler time, whether they lived through the ’70s or not.
Every Sunday morning, the streets surrounding Hollywood and Vine are blocked off for the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Locals love getting their weekly produce there, but it’s much more than an open-air grocery store – you’ll also discover handmade goods like jewelry and clothing, freshly prepared food, and mouthwatering bakery items.
Who could say no to seeing movies projected onto a mausoleum? Cinespia has movie showings throughout the year – in the summer months, though, it partners with Hollywood Forever Cemetery to bring Angelenos screenings in the resting place of some of the entertainment industry’s original players. The events are BYO everything, including blankets, food and drinks. Picnic early and then claim the best seats for the show.
Soap Plant/Wacko is the go-to spot for fun souvenirs and gifts. The store opened in East Hollywood in 1971 and returned there after spells in different locations. You’ll find books, home decor, and all the things you didn’t realize you needed. Additionally, the space is home to Luz de Jesus Gallery where you can enjoy rotating exhibitions of underground art.
On the border of Hollywood and Los Feliz, Tiki-Ti is a tiny bar serving some of the city’s finest tropical drinks. It was founded in 1961 by Ray Buhen, who spent decades mixing tiki drinks at Don the Beachcomber (which was considered the first traditional tiki bar). Not only is Tiki-Ti a boutique experience – the bar space is no larger than a living room – but the recipes for classics like Zombies and Mai Tais are as close as you can get to the originals.
The Persian ice cream store Mashti Malone’s is the one to visit if you’re looking for innovative flavors like saffron rosewater with pistachios, turkish coffee, and orange blossom. Located in a strip mall, this gem has been open for nearly four decades. Founder and chef Mashti Shirvani makes 1,000 gallons of ice cream every day.
Instead of taking a chance on a wine at a regular bar, head to Bar Covell below Hotel Covell and let its bartenders help you with their expertise. Just go up to the ‘Order Here’ sign, tell the server the type of wine you typically enjoy, and select from their suggestions. The bar is cozy yet classy, and while it’s quiet in the afternoons it buzzes with patrons later on.
Angelenos will happily wait in lines that spill onto the sidewalk for amazing food: that’s the usual experience at Briana Valdez’s Texas kitchen HomeState. The menu features Anytime Tacos, queso, and Frito pie. The star here is the breakfast taco lineup with freshly made tortillas.
There’s no shortage of rooftop bars in sunny LA, but Mama Shelter has a vibe unlike others in the city. Mama Shelter is actually a global chain of designer hotels, bars and restaurants in cities like Belgrade, Paris and Rio. The Hollywood space is comfortably low-key. There are plenty of plush spaces to lounge and relax, and the views are among the most stunning in Hollywood. The bar has a solid selection of cocktails, so it’s an ideal spot for seeing golden-hour colors settling on the Hollywood Hills.