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Exploring Hollywood's Historic Landmarks

Hollywood Sign
Camille Reddick
Camille Reddick
July 5, 2024

While most people think of Hollywood as the world's entertainment capital, plenty of history can be found on the grounds of many iconic Hollywood landmarks. In Hollywood, you can't have history without some intrigue and mystery. That's why visiting attractions with rich histories is so much fun! Check out five Hollywood historic sites you won't want to miss during a visit to Los Angeles.

1. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Considered by most to be the most luxurious hotel in Hollywood, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel sits in the company of many iconic buildings along Hollywood Boulevard. The idea for the hotel was thought up by a group of prominent producers and stars of the Roaring Twenties. Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Louis B. Mayer, and Sid Grauman spent nearly $2.5 million to build the hotel in a year. It soon became the go-to spot for movie stars! In the hotel's early days, Clack Gable, Carole Lombard, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Marilyn Manson were regulars. The Roosevelt is even where Shirley Temple learned to tap dance! While the 1950s brought harder times for the hotel, it has now been restored to its former glory under private ownership. It has earned the privilege of being an official Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

2. The Hollywood Sign

Hollywoodland Sign

No other Hollywood monument can embody so much in a single snapshot. The iconic Hollywood Sign is what people picture when they run to Los Angeles to chase glamor and fame! What we now call the Hollywood Sign was called the Hollywoodland Sign when it was first placed on Mount Lee in the Santa Monica Mountains in 1923. The 50-foot-tall sign had nothing to do with stars or cinema. It was erected by a local real estate developer to advertise a new development. Over time, the sign became synonymous with the City of Angels. Of course, it has been refurbished and updated several times during its century-long existence. The "land" portion of the sign was removed in 1948. In 1978, Alice Cooper notably led a movement to restore the sign by replacing the letters with more permanent structures. The sign was then replaced with a new sign made of steel and concrete footings. Many people are unaware that you can hike to the Hollywood Sign today!

3. TCL (Grauman’s) Chinese Theatre

The average cinema fan knows TCL Chinese Theatre as the home of countless blockbuster premiers over the decades. Built-in 1927, the theatre is famed for its collection of cement handprints and footprints of major movie stars. It stands along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. While it was once named the Grauman Chinese Theatre, the venue underwent a name change in 2013 as part of a partnership with a Chinese company called The Creative Life (TCL). On its opening day back in 1927, the theatre roared in with a bang with the premier of Cecil B. DeMille's "The King of Kings." In 1977, the theatre famously hosted the premiere of "Star Wars." The theatre has also hosted the Academy Awards three times! Currently, it holds the status of having the world's largest IMAX auditorium.

4. Hollywood Walk of Fame

Joanne Woodward star

It's impossible to explore Hollywood without running into some familiar names along the Hollywood Walk of Fame! It's believed that E. M. Stuart came up with the idea for the Walk of Fame while serving as the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president. In 1956, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce moved forward with approval from the Los Angeles City Council. While many ideas were tossed around about adding caricatures of celebrities or painting the sidewalks blue, officials eventually settled on the iconic black-and-coral theme that we all know today. The first eight stars were unveiled on Hollywood Boulevard in the summer of 1958. Among the celebrities honored were Burt Lancaster, Joanne Woodward, and Edward Sedgwick. As the years went on, the path of the Walk of Fame was expanded to accommodate the nearly 2,800 stars covering 18 blocks in Hollywood today!

5. Musso & Frank Grill

Musso & Frank Grill

Musso & Frank Grill has been serving up some of the best food in Hollywood since opening its doors in 1919! Founded by Frank Toulet and Musso, the eatery quickly gained popularity for its extraordinary cuisine and exceptional service. However, few could have predicted that this would be where countless Hollywood deals and scripts would come to life. Many contracts were signed over Musso’s martinis! Some of the big stars who were known to frequent Musso & Frank Grill included Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, Mary Pickford, Rita Hayworth, Rudolph Valentino, Lauren Bacall, John Barrymore, Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Stewart, and Groucho Marx. While the list of stars visiting Musso & Frank Grill has changed, the 100-year-old menu remains unchanged!

Experience Hollywood History

Seeing cinema history on the screen is one thing. Getting to Hollywood to walk the paths where screen legends have walked at Hollywood historic sites is another. Whether you want to hike to the Hollywood Sign or find your favorite celebrity on the Walk of Fame, the magic of Hollywood is waiting!

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