There’s so much to consider when you’re looking for the best things to do in Hollywood. As one of California’s foremost tourist destinations, the area is chock full of activities and tours. It can be hard to know what’s what.
Not to fear! As an LA local, I lived within a mile of almost everything on this list for years. I’m pretty adept at navigating crowds & avoiding scammers, and more than happy to help you make the most of your next trip to Hollywood.
Like any big tourist area, Hollywood has a few drawbacks. Not to knock the hustle, but if someone is trying to sell you something on the street, be cautious. Always keep an eye on your belongings. If you’ve got kids with you, it may be best not to go too far east of Highland after dark.
While you’re here, bookmark my guide to the top things to see in Los Angeles.
Table of Contents
- 23 Best Things to Do in Hollywood
- Hollywood Sign
- TCL Chinese Theatre
- Icons of Darkness
- Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit
- Hollywood Bowl
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not
- Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Madame Tussauds Hollywood
- El Capitan Theatre
- Griffith Observatory
- Haunted Hollywood
- Guinness World Records Museum & Hollywood Wax Museum
- Ovation Hollywood (formerly Hollywood & Highland)
- Amoeba Music
- Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
- Barnsdall Art Park
- Runyon Canyon Park
- The Frolic Room
- Paramount Pictures Studio Tour
- Hollywood Heritage Museum
- The Hollywood Museum
- Museum of Illusions
- FAQs About Things to Do in Hollywood
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23 Best Things to Do in Hollywood
Get a firsthand look at the world’s most famous sign
One of the most renowned tourist attractions in the world, the iconic Hollywood Sign is a must-see when visiting Hollywood, California. And that won’t be difficult! You can spot the sign from as far away as downtown Los Angeles.
Getting close enough to get a great pic is a little trickier. The best option is a Hollywood Sign hiking tour to the top of the hill behind the sign, or there are good vantage points from Lake Hollywood Park and Griffith Observatory.
🛎️ Need a Hotel? Mama Shelter Los Angeles is a fun, modern hotel with a rooftop bar that has a fantastic view of the Hollywood Sign.
TCL Chinese Theatre
Revel in an immersive cinematic experience at a legendary Hollywood theater
Another Hollywood icon, this 95-year-old cinema palace is best known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It’s here you can see how your hand and footprints compare to those of movie stars, cemented as securely in the Forecourt of the Stars as they are in stardom.
It’s not just a tourist attraction! Few theaters offer a better viewing experience than the one you’ll find at TCL Chinese Theater. Fans can go all-in on the action onscreen with a complete sensory experience in D-BOX and M4D seating.
🚶 Pro Tip: The Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard in front of Grauman’s gets very crowded. You can sidestep the throng through a breezeway that connects the forecourt to the bottom of steps leading to the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards.
Icons of Darkness
Get an up-close look at props and costumes from films including Star Wars and Harry Potter
Ever wonder how big Batman is, or what it feels like to stare into the gaping maw of an Alien creature? Icons of Darkness is where you find out!
Los Angeles native Rich Corell has amassed the world’s largest privately-owned collection of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movie memorabilia. Explore his treasures in this Hollywood Blvd exhibition, where each is displayed in a way that recreates the world of the film.
Knowledgeable staff is on hand to tell you all about the items, including stormtrooper uniforms, Batman suits, and the original Jurassic Park dinos. The wonders here never cease to amaze!
💰 Pro Tip: Save $5 per ticket with Early Bird deals from 11 am – to 1 pm.
Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit
Surround yourself with awe-inspiring visuals at the world’s #1 show
With locations in cities across North America, The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit is currently the #1 selling show in the world. At 25,000 square feet, Sunset Boulevard is the largest location yet.
Your mind will reel in wonder at Van Gogh’s superb masterworks projected on every surface. A larger-than-life experience, this visual spectacle is one you must see to believe.
Unique to this location, LightHouse ArtSpace Los Angeles has teamed with acclaimed set designer David Korins to transform the remainder of the cavernous space into an experiential venue like no other.
🌻 Pro Tip: Book your reservation soon. Though the exhibit has been extended indefinitely, there is no guarantee of it becoming permanent.
Get lost in the music at a historic amphitheater
Music lovers will be thrilled by the unparalleled experience at the Hollywood Bowl. Whether you pack a picnic or pick up a gourmet basket curated by Suzanne Goin, pairing tasty sips & nibbles with top-notch entertainment makes for dinner and a show like none other.
It’s not just the audience who loves the Hollywood Bowl – every artist I’ve seen here mentions how honored they are to play the acclaimed amphitheater. You can really feel that inspiration in the stellar performances. Upcoming events can be found on this Hollywood Bowl calendar.
👉 Pro Tip: You don’t have to buy a ticket to enjoy this historic Los Angeles venue. Fourteen picnic areas on the Hollywood Bowl grounds are free for all to enjoy, and on most days the amphitheater is open to the public until 3 pm.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not
Get weird in an emporium of the bizarre featuring eccentric galleries and hands-on interactives
Ripley’s Believe It or Not may well be the most peculiar of all Hollywood attractions. If so, it’s a title this kooky assortment of oddities would hold proudly.
Inspired by the boundless curiosity of founder Robert Ripley, this longtime mainstay on the southeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard & Highland Ave displays any and every zany artifact they could find. Up to and including an actual shrunken head!
👉 Pro Tip: Save this quirky tourist attraction for a bit of late-night fun with the fam. Ripley’s is open later than many nearby attractions (particularly those suitable for a wider age range.)
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Peruse the stone stars of entertainment industry greats
You can hardly visit Hollywood, California without treading charcoal & pink stone squares along the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame – for one thing, you’ll literally walk on it to reach about half of the Hollywood attractions in this guide!
Discovering familiar names at random as you stroll Hollywood Boulevard is good fun, but it’s not the most efficient way to locate a particular favorite. While a few notable mentions such as Michael Jackson are on Google Maps, the best resource is this Walk of Fame directory.
🚶 How to Get There: These special tiles line Hollywood Blvd from Gower St to La Brea Ave and Vine Street from Sunset Boulevard to Yucca St.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Adventure behind the scenes of blockbusters in a fun-filled theme park
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (800) 864-8377 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Thursday, 9 am – 7 pm Friday, 9 am – 10 pm Saturday, 9 am – 8 pm Sunday, 10 am – 7 pm Monday through Wednesday | Entrance: $109, general admission | 👉 Tickets to Universal Studios
One of the top tourist attractions in Los Angeles, Universal Studios Hollywood renders fantasy into reality. Adventure anywhere from the jungles of Jurassic Park to The Simpsons‘ hometown of Springfield, USA. Not to mention the cobblestone lanes of Hogsmeade in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
This action-packed theme park transports you to the domain of beloved characters, then shows you how those worlds are created. Universal is still a working studio, so keep an eye out on the Backlot Tour – you never know who might pop in to say hello. It’s very high on my list of the best things to do in Los Angeles.
Universal Studios Hollywood is more near Hollywood than in Hollywood, but it is very easy to access from there. Simply hop on the Metro Red Line at Hollywood & Highland station, Universal City is just one stop north. Across Lankershim Blvd, a free shuttle runs up to the park every 15 minutes.
Madame Tussauds Hollywood
Pose with your favorite superstars in a premiere wax museum
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (323) 798-1670 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 6 pm Monday through Wednesday, 11 am – 8 pm Thursday through Sunday | Entrance: $29.99 – $34.99 for main attractions, additional charges for special exhibits | 👉 Madame Tussauds Admission Ticket with Marvel Universe 4D Movie Experience
Next to TCL Chinese Theater on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, you’ll find Madame Tussauds, a premiere Hollywood wax museum. It’s hard to resist the urge to snap a few silly pics in fun tableaus like King Kong’s giant fist or an A-List party.
Wax movie stars aren’t the only mega-celebs on display here. Music greats Ariana Grande, Tupac, and Elton John feature in the Pop Icons zone. Looking to spoof a little clout? Post a pic with Kim K or Kylie Jenner.
🎸 Love music? See your favorite artists’ wax figures then dine amongst legendary music memorabilia with this Madame Tussaud’s and Hard Rock Cafe package deal.
El Capitan Theatre
See a Disney flick in style at this gilded theater
It’s hard to imagine a more spectacular setting to see a family film than the lavish El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. A whimsical mood is set before each show as moviegoers are treated to music from the “Mighty Wurlitzer” theatre organ.
A cheery marquee and old-fashioned soda fountain complete the enchanting ambiance.
🏰 Love Disney? Take a day trip to Disneyland – it’s one of the 27 best day trips from Los Angeles.
Enjoy sweeping views of the city and look up at the stars through a world-class public telescope
Looking down at Los Angeles from atop a hill, the clean white walls and black domes of Griffith Observatory are a striking sight to behold. The panoramic perspective from downtown Los Angeles to Beverly Hills and beyond is one of the best in LA, and there’s a great view of the Hollywood Sign.
A world-class public telescope offers stargazers a closer look at the heavens above, which you can learn all about through engaging exhibits in the adjacent museum and planetarium.
Griffith Observatory is located in the southernmost area of Griffth Park. In addition to 53 miles of hiking trails, this large urban wilderness is where you’ll find the illustrious Greek Theatre and the Los Angeles Zoo.
For a fun, unique way to scout Griffith Park and the Hollywood Hills around Griffith Observatory, check out horseback tours at Sunset Ranch Hollywood.
🚗 How to Get There: Griffith Observatory is located northeast of central Hollywood, in the Hollywood Hills. It’s ideal to have transportation, especially for anyone interested in exploring Griffith Park. Check out Discover Cars for great deals on Los Angeles rentals.
Get your ghoul on with tours geared towards true crime and historic haunts
📍 Multiple Locations | 👉 Browse Haunted Hollywood Tours
As any PR pro worth their salt will tell you, glitz and glamour are grand, but scandal sells. For folks fascinated by what lives in the shadows, Haunted Hollywood tours are like seeing a true crime doc in real life.
On this 2.5-hour Hollywood Chills Tour – Celebrity Scandals and Cemeteries, guides well versed in local lore weave portraits of tragedies that occurred in local hotels and homes, even right out in the open on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. You’ll visit the sites of movie star haunts and the famous Hollywood Forever cemetery.
For an in-depth look at the events that went on to become the “trial of the century,” check out the OJ Simpson Tour. Led by a local expert on the case, the tour takes you to the most infamous locations… in a white Ford Bronco, no less!
👻 Grab a bite in a classic Hollywood haunt! The Musso and Frank Grill has been an A-list hangout since the days of silent film. Legend has it the ghost of Charlie Chaplin is among those who still drop in from time to time.
Guinness World Records Museum & Hollywood Wax Museum
Snap selfies with A-listers and attempt to set a world record with this two-for-one deal on charmingly niche museums
To marvel at feats of human achievement outside the world of entertainment, check out the Guinness World Records Museum. Get involved by comparing your stats to current record holders, then challenge yourself to set one. Speed-drumming and a humongous Pac-Man machine are among the most fun options to give a go.
Hollywood Wax Museum lays claim to being the most-visited attraction on Hollywood Boulevard since 1965. Focused solely on Hollywood celebrities and famed entertainers, Hollywood Wax Museum is a great pick for super fans.
Ovation Hollywood (formerly Hollywood & Highland)
Shop, dine, and play in the complex anchored by the Dolby Theatre, which hosts the Academy Awards
Most famous as the host of the glamorous Academy Awards ceremony (a.k.a. the Oscars,) Ovation Hollywood is home to the Dolby Theatre, showcasing comedy, music, and live theater all year round. Elevated walkways near the Dolby Theatre feature views of the famous Hollywood sign.
At the intersection of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave, Ovation is perfect for taking breaks between busy attractions along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For a quick, inexpensive, and delicious meal try Jinya Ramen. It’s a controversial opinion, but their Spicy Creamy Vegan soup is my favorite ramen anywhere in LA (and I’m not even a vegan!)
Less than a block east of the Dolby Theatre staircase you’ll find escalators to the Hollywood/Highland Metro station, with direct service to Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal City.
🛎️ Need a Hotel? Directly behind Ovation, Loews Hollywood Hotel makes an excellent base for visiting Hollywood and other great LA attractions like Sunset Strip in West Hollywood or the La Brea Tar Pits. See my guide to staying in LA for more tips.
Leaf through stacks of vintage vinyl at this iconic old-school music store
Stepping into Amoeba Records feels like crossing the threshold of a splendid sort of time warp. For anyone with fond recollections of lyric booklets and album art, this is paradise.
Recently uprooted from the original location on Sunset Boulevard, Amoeba’s look and vibe have been painstakingly recreated in the new space on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Sift through stacks or click through crystal cases in search of new treasures. For the ultimate throwback, hit the buy/sell counter, where you can still trade used records, CDs, and DVDs for store credit or cash.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Eat, drink, and dance in style at this legendary Hollywood hotel
Another Hollywood Boulevard legend, the Hollywood Roosevelt welcomes guests to the same spaces once home to many golden-age greats, including the incomparable Marilyn Monroe.
You’ll feel like an industry insider while sipping indulgent craft cocktails at the Spare Room, a “secret” prohibition-style speakeasy with a vintage two-lane bowling alley. Parties around the Tropicana Pool are bougie, boozy, and glamorous affairs.
Barnsdall Art Park
Gaze at far-reaching views over Los Angeles from the grounds of the Hollyhock House, a UNESCO world heritage site right on Hollywood Blvd
In east Hollywood, Barnsdall Art Park is a blufftop park with lush lawns and an attractive complex of stylish cultural attractions. Most notable is the Hollyhock House, built by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Barnsdall Gallery Theatre and Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery mimic the Hollyhock House aesthetic, with the latter displaying works created by emerging and underrepresented artists.
As one of Los Angeles’ most treasured cultural sites, organizations that oversee the Hollyhock House are proceeding with extreme caution as they prepare to reopen from a long pandemic-related closure. At the time of this writing in May 2022, only the exteriors are available for public viewing.
Runyon Canyon Park
Hike to views over Hollywood on one of LA’s most popular trails
A few blocks west of La Brea and north of Hollywood Boulevard, the hiking trails of Runyon Canyon Park are among Los Angeles’ most popular treks.
The best view in Runyon Canyon Park is easily reached from the upper entrance on Mullholland Drive. Fitness buffs much prefer the more challenging route from North Fuller Avenue.
It’s not uncommon to spot a celeb climbing the loop, but be respectful. Folks may not be looking to take a selfie whilst mid-workout or out walking their dogs.
⛰️ Love Hiking? Griffith Park, Fryman Canyon, and Malibu Creek State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains all specialize in natural wonders less than an hour away from Hollywood.
The Frolic Room
Grab a drink in a historic speakeasy
📍Google Maps | Phone: (323) 462-5890 | Hours: 11am – 2am, daily
When the Frolic Room opened in 1930, there was no front door. Only patrons in the know could get to the forbidden haven, through a secret entrance from the Pantages Theatre.
Pantages has become a lauded venue to catch smash Broadway hits, yet the Frolic Room clings to its shadowy origins. So overtly divey it borders on kitsch, the appeal of seedy underbelly has proven a success.
Sipping a whiskey at the same bar that counted such notable drinkers as Charles Bukowski, Frank Sinatra, and Judy Garland as regulars, you can’t help but wish the walls could talk.
🚕 How to Get There: Frolic Room is less than a mile from the heart of Hollywood, so you can easily walk, rideshare, or catch a train from the Hollywood/Vine metro station. Just be safe and don’t plan on driving.
Paramount Pictures Studio Tour
Go behind the scenes at one of Hollywood’s most beloved studios
Paramount Pictures studios are the stuff of legends, etched into cinematic history with mega-hits such as The Godfather and Scream. The only golden-age studio still located in Hollywood is still hard at work on new productions, so you may just catch sight of a hot set.
Strolling New York Street makes you feel as glamorous as Holly Golightly of Breakfast At Tiffany’s, another Paramount classic. VIP tours include a gourmet lunch and meet & greet with Backlot Tradesmen.
💰 Pro Tip: SoCal residents get a 20% discount!
Hollywood Heritage Museum
Venture way back to the origins of Hollywood motion picture history in a free museum
Housed in the oldest existing motion picture production building in Hollywood, the Hollywood Heritage Museum lovingly preserves artifacts from the early days of Hollywood motion picture history.
Sharing space on the grounds of the Hollywood Bowl, visits to the Hollywood Heritage Museum are well complemented by a tour of the historic amphitheater, currently celebrating its centennial.
🛎️ Need a Hotel? There are several great hotels in Hollywood, California. Even more, like the luxurious Pendry West Hollywood, lie just a few miles west along the Sunset Strip. Have a look at my guide to where to stay in Los Angeles.
The Hollywood Museum
Survey a trove of showbiz treasures including exhibits dedicated to Back to the Future and Marilyn Monroe
Picking up where the Hollywood Heritage Museum left off, the Hollywood Museum celebrates more than a century of Hollywood history through exhibits composed of the world’s most extensive collection of movie memorabilia.
Just steps from the Walk of Fame, the four-story structure showcases modern classics like Back to the Future and Ghostbusters alongside classic Batman retrospectives.
It’s fitting that the most popular room is dedicated to blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe. The icon’s onscreen look was originally designed by the building’s first owner, hair and makeup innovator Max Factor.
🍽️ Pro Tip: After visiting the Hollywood Museum, head next door and eat at Mel’s. An icon in its own right, this down-to-earth diner has been a favorite for homestyle American favorites for more than 50 years.
Museum of Illusions
Amp your social media feed with amazing visuals in a mind-bending interactive museum
With dozens of bright tableaus designed to play for the camera, the Museum of Illusions is a Hollywood museum you do for the ‘gram. Defy gravity and your followers’ expectations in the Upside Down House. Hide amongst behemoth knickknacks in the Giant’s House, where you can step into the world’s biggest shoes.
For those seeking a fun activity for kids in a broad age range, this vibrant Hollywood museum may be just the trick.
👪 Looking for more fun family activities in Los Angeles? Check out Santa Monica Pier and Redondo Beach, two of the best LA seaside destinations for groups with a wide variety of interests. You can also read my guide to the top LA beaches.
FAQs About Things to Do in Hollywood
What can you do in Hollywood for a day?
One of the best things to do in Hollywood for a day is explore the area of Hollywood Blvd between Sycamore Ave and Highland Ave. Here you’ll have dozens of top attractions to choose from, including the Hollywood Wax Museum and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
What should I not miss in LA?
The famous Hollywood Sign, Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and the La Brea Tar Pits are just a few of the iconic attractions you should not miss while in LA. For architecture aficionados, the Hollyhock House is a must-see attraction.
What is fun in Hollywood?
For fans of big-budget blockbusters, a super place to have fun in Hollywood is Icons of Darkness. Families with young children may prefer something a bit less intense, such as the El Capitan Theater.
Is Hollywood an actual city?
Hollywood, California is not an actual city. Though it is perhaps the most famous neighborhood in Los Angeles, Hollywood does not have a dedicated city government or services, such as those in neighboring cities West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
I appreciate you reading all this way and hope this guide helps you make the most out of future trips to Tinseltown. Want to check out some areas outside Hollywood? Check out my guide to the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
I hope I’ve helped you find some fun things to do in Hollywood!