Tours of the "Movie Stars Homes" have always been a popular thing to do in LA. There are several companies leaving from Hollywood Blvd. near Grauman's Chinese Theater. There are also people standing on various parts of Hollywood Blvd. giving out flyers from the different companies. I would guess they are pretty similar - the vehicles might differ. Ours was a small open-top (about) 14 seater. (It was pretty cold when we went, so whatever the weather during your visit, dress appropriately.)
We went with ETours. It was the Movie Star Homes and Crime Scenes 2 hour tour. It is advertised as seeing 50 celebrity homes. I don't think we saw 50 but that was fine. We definitely saw some beautiful homes - mansions actually - and it didn't matter whether it was a celebrity home or not. Some of the celebrity homes we did see were those of Halle Berry, Lucille Ball, Britney Spears, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, the Playboy Mansion. the Aaron Spelling 56,000 sq. ft. palace, etc., etc. Of couse for many you see little more than a gate covered with huge trees and bushes. Which of course, is quite understandable considering the number of tour buses that pass in front of each home.
We didn't see any "crime scenes" - also fine with us (although the guide did point out where "so and so" died). We made a stop for photos of the Hollywood sign from a point that wasn't so great. But the driver did mention going to Hollywood & Highland Center for a good view (which we did and it was).
We drove up Mullholland Drive for smoggy views of downtown, drove Rodeo Drive, Sunset Strip, Melrose Ave, Bel Air and Beverly Hills. Overall it was a pleasant way to tour around.
The advertised price for our tour was $35 but of course we got a discount because we signed up "right then". The price was $25.
By the way, if you have a car and don't want to take a tour, it's easy enough to drive around the neighborhoods (which we did on another day). There are celebrity home maps sold but I'm not sure how accurate they are.
We took a tour of the Stars' Homes but you can easily drive through the Beverly Hills neighborhoods on your own. Many of the homes are fabulous, some are large but similar to what you may see in any other upscale US neighborhood (except for the price, of course).
N. Roxbury Dr. was once the "street of the stars". Lucille Ball's (photo #1) neighbors included Jack Benny, Jimmy Stewart, and Rosemary Clooney (nephew George stayed here when he first came to Hollywood). Lucy's 6 bedroom, 8 bathroom, 7,500 sq. ft. home is now valued at approximately $12,000,000. What I particularly liked about this street was the neighboorhood feeling - there are sidewalks and the homes are mostly "accessible", not hidden behind so many trees and bushes that you can't see the homes. From Hollywood, just take Sunset Boulevard to Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills (three blocks west of Rodeo Drive), and turn north. (http://www.seeing-stars.com/live/RoxburyDrive.shtml)
Some celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Britney Spears (photo #2) live in homes that afford them as much privacy as possible (understandably). Another home we saw was Hugh Hefner's - famous for its outrageous parties - Playboy Mansion (photo #4 - well just the gates!). We didn't see Hugh or any bunnies.
Photo #3 is just a small corner of producer (Dynasty, Charlie's Angels, 90210) Aaron Spelling's home. The 57,000 sq. ft. home was/is the largest home in the U.S. and is the most expensive. It is currently for sale for $150,000,000. Spelling's widow is not sure how many bedrooms the house has - "she lost count, but thinks it's over 100". Yes, we all have that problem. To see the house.... http://renorealestatelogic.com/wp-content/aaron-spelling.bmp.
We saw one of Michael Jackson's homes (Christmas wreaths were still on the gates at the end of February). This was the only home that we saw fans (yes, we really did) waiting in the cars outside his gate. I am sure that once the BH police drove by, they were made to leave. It's okay to look, but please don't stalk!!
The following website lists star homes by street. Click on the "See a Map" for directions. www.seeing-stars.com/Live/OtherStreets.shtml
The following website lists star homes by name:
For information on homes in Malibu check:
Please remember that these are private homes. Drive by and look but do not trespass or disturb the residents.
This open air shopping mall is a cute hang out. There is also a a theatre to see movies.
Cute shops, nice restaurants, good for people watching.
There is this beautiful fountain that dances to music...wanna see it? Go check it out!
And while you are there, have something to eat at the neighbouring "Farmers Market"! You will not regret it.
A fun thing to do while you're in LA is go to a TV show taping. Tickets are free and you can easily order them online. The website shown below lists available tickets to current shows, pilots, and special events. New tickets are usually available a month in advance. If it is a very popular show and you have limited time to see a taping, I'd make sure to be online the day the tickets become available. (I tried to do this with Two and A Half Men and tickets were already gone the day after they became available.)
Be sure to check minimum age requirements and be aware that if anyone in your group looks under the minimum they will need to show proof. Follow all instructions on your tickets - which include the time to be there, what cannot be brought into the studio (usually cameras, sometimes cell phones), etc.
We didn't get any tickets from tvtickets.com, but were walking on Hollywood Blvd. and a man asked if we wanted to see the Tonight Show for that night. Charlie Sheen was the guest star - and since we couldn't get tickets to Two and A Half Men, we took the Tonight Show tickets. The catch was that we had to be at the studio within a half hour. We drove to the NBC Studios in Burbank and saw the line. I dropped my husband off and went to park the car. (No easy task since there is no studio parking. Parked around the corner by a hospital.) By the time I got back to the line, it had grown considerably behind my husband. We waited on line for a long while before they started letting people in. They kept stopping the line and re-counting the people. Finally we were the next 2 supposed to go in but they still didn't have any open seats. It turned out that we were the last in a group of 7 to get in. Our seats were almost at the top of the studio and we had missed Jay Leno's audience warm-up. We were still happy just to be there - alot of people were turned away. We enjoyed the show - interesting to see how it's produced. It was all over within about an hour! (You need to allow a couple of hours for a sitcom taping.)
*Be advised that more tickets are distributed than there are seats for! Arrive early or you may not get in!!
For NBC/Tonight Show tickets check www.nbc.com/Footer/Tickets/.
Located in the heart of Hollywood the Hollywood & Highland Center is a retail and entertainment center. Here you will find the Kodak Theater (Home to the Academy Awards), nightclubs, Mann Chinese 6 Theaters, restaurants and dozens of stores of all kinds including clothing, shoes, music, jewelry, and specialty stores. The restaurants serve sushi, Italian, Med/Asian fusion, pizza, and burgers. Check the website for specific store and restaurant listings. We ate at Johnny Rockets and I loved it! Fantastic chocolate shake and burgers!!!
Very nice place to take a break, relax, have something to eat, shop, etc.
Parking: Entrances are on Highland Avenue and Orange Avenue.
Parking rates are $2.00 for up to 4 hours with validation from shops, restaurants, cinemas and nightclubs; $1.00 for every 20 minutes thereafter. Daily maximum $10.00. Valet parking is offered for an additional $5.00. The parking garage is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00am - 10:00pm, Sun 10:00am - 7:00pm
Theaters, clubs and some restaurants will have extended hours.
** Great view of the Hollywood Sign from here.
Before we went to LA I researched the various studio tours. I was surprised to find that very few studios offer tours. I wasn't interested in a Theme Park adventure with a hundred of my closest friends on a tram such as Universal's, Paramounts all walking didn't appeal to me either, and NBC's didn't seem very interesting. WB seemed to be the best for what we wanted - a combination of walking & touring by electric cart, small groups of 12, and the back lot you see is the real thing. It turned out that the Warner Brothers Studios VIP tour was great!
After picking up our tickets at the VIP Tour Center we watched a brief movie that chronicled the history and highlighted some of WB's produtions. We got into our electric cart and headed through the gates of WB. The lot is 110 acres huge!
Warner Brothers is the world's busiest motion picture and television studio in the world. Driving along the backlot streets we saw many familiar ("street") sets - ER's emergency room entrance, Gilmore Girls, Ghost Whisperer, etc. At several places we were able to get out of the cart, walk around and inspect the set, and take photos. Our guide was very knowledgable and encouraged us to ask questions - which we did. She also asked if we had any favorite shows and made sure that we saw where they were filmed. Because there was no filming going on, we got to go into the set of Two and A Half Men, which was definitely a highlight for me because it's one of my favorite shows.
We stopped at WB Museum which houses movie memorabilia. Of course, we recognized many of the costumes and props. The entire second floor is dedicated to Harry Potter which all fans will love. (Harry Potter is WB's most popular movie franchise.)
One of my favorite stops was the prop warehouse. Each of the items is tagged and numbered so they can be easily ordered and delivered for any production. There must have been a million props in there!!
We saw a warehouse full of vehicles used in WB movies - everything from the Harry Potter Car (photo #3) to the Batmobile/Batcycle (photo #5), to the Scooby Doo Van. We also went through a huge industrial factory building where they do welding for the studio. Another highlight was the Friends set. Although the real set is used for current productions, the Friends set, couch and all, has been recreated in another building.
Although this tour is a little more expensive than others, I highly recommend it!
Photography is limited and video filming is not permitted.
There is a small gift shop at the Tour Center.
Tours depart continuously Monday to Friday between 8:20 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. with extended hours in the Spring and Summer. Children must be over 8.
Tickets for the 2 1/4 hour tour are $45.00. Tickets are available for purchase online. I would highly recommend advance purchase of your tickets. You must arrive at the Tour Center at least 20 minutes before the start of your tour.
Parking provided at Gate 6 ($5) , across from the VIP Ticket Office.
Shoping and entertainmentcenter,host of the Kodak theatre(academy awards ).Lovely place to stroll around.And!A most wonderful view at the famous Hollywood sign.I loved the view over the city ,to the Hollywood sign and downtown L.A.And the elephants.
We had a great night as part of the audience on the sitcom All of Us . It was interesting to watch the actors stumble over their lines and the retakes that happened . ( OK so maybe they do work a little for all those bucks ) There was a professional comedian hired to take care of us and keep us laughing . He was so good ...we would have paid $50.00 dollars or more anywhere else just to see him . It was a long night , you can leave early if you must but it's best to plan to stay. The tickets are free.
There are so many shows available , if you know when you'll be in town ,they are easy to get.
Shop along Melrose Avenue...
Once upon a time, there was a famous TV series starring Heather Locklear and it was aptly entitled 'Melrose Place'. Well, the REAL Melrose Avenue is quite different.... There are lots of funky and trendy shops along this stretch of road. From the way I was dressed, I certainly felt out of place here.... To put it mildly, l'd say that Melrose is to the young, cutting-edge trendies of the West Side what Rodeo Drive is to their more affluent friends: a place to shop.... a place to stroll outdoors....
A group of black guys wearing leather and carrying heavy chains (eeeks!) were even tailing me at one point! Also noticed lots of police/ police cars patrolling this stretch of road every 2-3 minutes or so. I'm not kidding...
I think (going forward) I'll stick to shopping inside huge malls and cool LA suburbs....
There isn't much for a tourist to see at the famed corner of Hollywood & Vine.... but there is one instantly recognizable landmark near that intersection: the Capitol Records building, located on Vine Street, just north of Hollywood Boulevard.
Capitol Records was the first record company based on the West Coast and has promoted such acts as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Duran Duran and Tina Tiner. (Scream! Scream!).
Oh and John Lennon's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is right outside the Capitol Records building.... Check it out.
The best sights I can think of is the world famous Mann's Chinese Theater and the Walk of Fame. Just use your feet to sweep away the litter (yuks, it's really dirty!) and you should be able to see some of biggest names in Hollywood immortalized here.
Don't say I didn't warn you how dirty this whole area is.... Oh, and be careful not to bump into the wrong group of people. There are also lots of kinky shops selling stuffs that would make a mother blush...
Photo Below: Took this pic from my hotel room - the Holiday Inn Hollywood. That's a pic of the EL CAPITAN THEATER (another Hollywood landmark apparently) located along Hollywood Boulevard....
If you are going to LA you might want to check out what is playing at the Pantages Theatre. Over the Memorial Day weekend, my sister invited me to see Wicked. I had heard great stuff about this production and I wanted to check it out. My sister got us tickets in the orchestra section for the 1pm showing. All I can say was that it was awesome! We also took my niece Sofia age 10 and my daughter Alexis age 12. They both loved it!
There were some kids there but not too many.
In typical LA fashion, some people were dressed up reral fancy and others were very casual in jeans and a nice shirt.
We overheard the people behind us saying that this was the third time they watched this show. I actually think that we will be going again and this time taking my mom and a few friends.
We bought a program (cost$20) and after the show you can get it signed by the cast. They also give you a small playbill for free that has alot of information like who's who from the cast and alot of other stuff.
Stop in Pantages and support the arts scene while roaming on Hollywood Blvd!
Small yet grand, the Pantages Theater is a cornerstone of Hollywood history. It has hosted the Academy Awards and the Emmys and now primarily is home to popular plays and musicals. One great production that I saw here was the live spetacular, The Lion King! Truth be told, the views can be obstructed and are not the greatest if you have a ticket in the back of the lower and higher level, but no big concern if you got good tix!
Read more on website below!
This swank new complex includes many shops, restaurants, the Renaissance Hollwood Hotel, and the Kodak Theater - where the Oscar's are held.
The outdoor courtyard area - The Babylon Court - is modeled after the set of the 1916 silent movie Intolerance. From the walkways in the court there is an interesting view of the Hollywood sign. I tried to capture it in this picture, but the sign doesn't show up very well...
I'm not one to be impressed with celebrity, but it was such a fun buzz to watch the stars arrive at the premier of the new Pixar flick "Finding Nemo" at the El Capitan Theater.
They closed down Hollywood Blvd in the block in front of the theater, and built this elaborate walkway and set - only to tear it down as soon as everyone was inside the show.
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