Firstly, we never ventured into Hollywood - West Hollywood is where all the attractions are, like Graumans Chinese Theatre, all the celebrity sighting hotspots, and the nightlife like Chateau Marmont, The Standard etc. There is really no need to head into Hollywood or any further east. Thats when things get sketchy.
We stayed right on Hollywood Boulevard, and the further east we walked (we went down to Dollhouse Club) the sketchier it got - but in a very manageable way eg. some homeless or shifty looking guys walking around, but plenty of other pedestrians too.
So for accommodation look at West Hollywood, La Brea, and Beverly Hills. In the daytime we felt totally safe everywhere from west hollywood onward down to Santa Monica, although we drove a lot of it. Sure all of the West Hollywood/La Brea etc area has a sleazy element but we were four 24 year old women and never felt scared in the daytime, and at night just kept to populated areas and got taxi's back to our hotel at 2/3am.
East and Mid-town (Central) Hollywood, that is , unless you know good street smarts and are genuinely interested in discovering the ethnic neighborhoods, esp. Little Amenia. This area of Ho-town includes a portion of the major streets, Santa Monica Blvd and Sunset Bvd ( but especially Santa Monica Blvd).
This is the very unglamorous part of Hollywood that is hardly ever seen on TV. There is relatively more crime and poor conditions here as supposed to posh Hollywood Hills, other western parts and the city of West Hollywood. At least, this area adds to the color and represents the true heartbeat of the city of Los Angeles (and a tremendous sense of non-fakeness which is a definite plus in my book and is something to see just as much as the drab Hollywood sign on the hills).
Like NY's Times Square before it, Hollywood is reinventing itself. There are new malls everywhere, security street patrols, new businesses opening and a notable improvement in the quality of life in the area. This doesn't mean it is wise to lower your guard--after all, this is a major urban area--but crime is down, panhandlers are down, prostitution on Hollywood Blvd is down, and if you stay on the major, well-lit streets at night, you're no more likely to run into trouble than in any other city. BTW, drive-by shootings, carjackings, and gangster activity in general is WAY down in the Los Angeles area in 2004. Probably in part because the would-be perpetrators can't see you well enough to rob you--smog levels are rising after years of relatively clear skies!
The area around that street especialy
east of La Brea is very dangerous, and
there are a lot of seedy elements around there. I got assaulted and robbed just south
of Santa Monica blvd not too long ago. The
area is very ugly looking, and it's mostly
film vaults and small enclosed studios.
Hollywood is obviously a very touristy area which we all know makes a prime target for thieves. I've never had any problems, but use common sense- lock your car, keep your wallet/pocketbook/purse secure and all that good stuff.
Be CAREFUL! Best time to do your walking, touring and all that, is during the day. Don't walk around at night. Many homeless people, strange, just all around WEIRD! things going on at night. Keep your car locked and your doors. If you carry a purse..clutch it tight.
NEVER hang out with a man dumb enough to hand your new digital camera to a homeless man who has never taken a picture with a camera and may possibly run off at any moment with your prized posession. This is what our homeless friend took - a picture of himself. Actually, never ever hand anyone your camera in L.A. unless they are a nice old grandma or mother with children.
Areas adjacent to main attractions like Mann's Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Wax Museum are in a seedier part of town and not very safe at night or family-friendly.
Though in recent years, Hollywood has tried to clean up and revitalize the area.
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