Aoife Brad­shaw on why Amer­ica’s movie cap­i­tal, Hol­ly­wood, is a must-visit des­ti­na­tion.

World renowned as the home of Amer­i­can movies, Tin­sel­town’s unrivalled glam­our makes it a must-visit des­ti­na­tion. Hol­ly­wood re­porter: Aoife Brad­shaw

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Where is it ex­actly?

Hol­ly­wood is lo­cated in cen­tral Los An­ge­les – and isn’t to be con­fused with the Wicklow vil­lage of the same name (you don’t want to mis­take the two when mak­ing book­ings). If the gor­geous weather and equally stun­ning peo­ple aren’t enough to clue you in, the iconic sign rest­ing over the Hol­ly­wood hills will con­firm that you’re in the right place.

Why should I go?

As Madonna once ob­served, ev­ery­body goes to Hol­ly­wood – and with good rea­son. First off, any se­ri­ous film fan will want to make a pil­grim­age to the home of the stars. The city oozes glitz and glam­our from a time gone by, yet still man­ages to re­main rel­e­vant. There’s also a good chance of spot­ting celebri­ties, whether on the streets or at the nu­mer­ous film pre­mieres through­out the year. If noth­ing else, go for the peo­ple watch­ing. Hol­ly­wood is home to those try­ing to make it – what­ever ‘it’ is. The area boasts a dis­tinc­tive mix of the weird and the won­der­ful, with enough at­trac­tions to keep even the most cyn­i­cal en­ter­tained.

What are the touristy things to do?

To be­gin, delve into the area’s rich back-story in the Hol­ly­wood Mu­seum (1660 N High­land Ave), which boasts fas­ci­nat­ing props, cos­tumes, scripts and pho­tos, all in a his­toric build­ing. A land­mark slice of Hol­ly­wood his­tory, the Walk Of Fame (N High­land Ave & Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard) is a must-see for the se­cond act of your stay. It con­tains over 2,600 stars and spans roughly 18 blocks. The im­pres­sive ar­ray of hon­oured celebri­ties ranges from Kather­ine Hep­burn, Cary Grant and Char­lie Chap­lin to Tay­lor Swift, Tom Cruise and Scar­lett Jo­hans­son.

For the grand fi­nale, check out the in­ner work­ings of the many film stu­dios nearby. Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios

(100 Uni­ver­sal City Plaza, Uni­ver­sal City) could eas­ily take two days to ex­pe­ri­ence in its to­tal­ity, while the calmer Warner Bros Stu­dio tour (3400 W River­side Dr, Bur­bank) will take you be­hind the scenes of many pop­u­lar shows, in­clud­ing Pretty

Lit­tle Liars and The Gil­more Girls.

It’s also home to the Ellen Show stu­dio.

How do I get there?

LAX Air­port (1 World Way, Los An­ge­les) is the pri­mary in­ter­na­tional air­port serv­ing LA, and is only an hour by car to cen­tral Hol­ly­wood. Re­cently, the ban on Uber cars pick­ing up pas­sen­gers out­side the air­port has been lifted, mean­ing there’s now a cheaper al­ter­na­tive to reg­u­lar cabs. There are also shared shut­tles, such as Su­per­shut­tle, op­er­at­ing ser­vices di­rect to Hol­ly­wood for ap­prox­i­mately $16 each way.

Where should I stay?

Live like the stars and book a night or two in the Hol­ly­wood Roo­sevelt (7000 Hol­ly­wood Blvd, Los An­ge­les). The lux­ury ho­tel is in a fan­tas­tic lo­ca­tion over­look­ing the Walk of Fame. Boast­ing lav­ish decor, the suites are as in­dul­gent as you’d ex­pect. The ho­tel also hosts live mu­sic events nightly. Al­ter­na­tively, the Ba­nana Bun­ga­low (5920 Hol­ly­wood Blvd) is a quirky, Tiki-in­spired hos­tel com­plete with its own movie theatre.

What’s the trans­port like?

The US has a thing or two to learn from Europe when it comes to pub­lic trans­port. Though cities like New York may be well con­nected, in LA driv­ing is the only real way to get around. If you can’t drive or don’t want to rent a car, make sure you have Uber in­stalled or at the very least save a cab num­ber – LA Yel­low Cab Co. are a safe bet.

Where can I get a drink?

The Frolic Room (6245 Hol­ly­wood Blvd) and Lost Prop­erty Bar (1704 Vine St) are two venues pop­u­lar with lo­cals and tourists alike. Famed for its juke­box, the Frolic Room’s his­toric walls are lined with on­screen roy­alty, while Lost Prop­erty has a spe­cial fo­cus on whiskey, served in the moody, dimly lit in­te­rior. If you pre­fer to com­bine liquor and lit­er­a­ture (and who doesn’t?), the Li­brary Bar (7000 Hol­ly­wood Blvd) is a great venue. This hid­den gem also fea­tures an ever-chang­ing sea­sonal cock­tail menu along with all of the clas­sics.

What should I eat?

Granville ( 8701 Bev­erly Blvd) in West Hol­ly­wood has an ex­ten­sive ar­ray of op­tions suited to meat eaters and veg­e­tar­i­ans alike. The plush in­te­rior makes this the per­fect choice for an oc­ca­sion meal (and be­ing in LA is an oc­ca­sion in and of it­self). In the nearby Estrella (8800 Sun­set Blvd), you’ll find many of the pa­trons are cou­ples on dates – which is al­ways a good in­di­ca­tor of qual­ity in a restau­rant. A per­fect brunch spot, the menu is made up of small plates, mak­ing it ide­ally suited for shar­ing and sam­pling. If you’re look­ing for some­thing a bit more ca­sual, Froma on Mel­rose (7960 Mel­rose Ave) of­fers sand­wiches, beer and cof­fee in a chilled, com­fort­able set­ting.

What about my cof­fee fix?

The choice of cof­fee in LA is ex­ten­sive. The ec­cen­tric Black­wood Cof­fee Bar (7509 Sun­set Blvd) boasts a ‘Kabocha Latte’, which wins points for its gar­nishes alone; it con­tains oven-roasted kabocha squash, gin­ger, cin­na­mon, clove and nut­meg. Cof­fee Com­mis­sary (801 N Fair­fax Ave) is an­other great spot with a mod­ern, min­i­mal­ist at­mos­phere. Al­ter­na­tively, if you want a more clas­sic vibe, Home­ward Ground (5960 Sun­set Blvd) has a great break­fast menu, as well as homey decor full of book­cases.

When should I go?

The best time to visit is from March to May, when the weather is tem­per­ate and the crowds are man­age­able. Av­er­age tem­per­a­tures dur­ing these months range from the low 50s to the low 80s, which makes walk­ing around and vis­it­ing out­door at­trac­tions much more com­fort­able.

Any­thing else?

Don’t miss the TCL Chi­nese Theatre (6925 Hol­ly­wood Blvd). You can catch a movie, but the iconic hand­prints out­side are the real at­trac­tion. Start with leg­ends like Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe and John Ford, and move through cin­ema his­tory to newer en­tries like Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios

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