When LA tourism was at its peak in 2018 and 2019, the city received over 50 million visitors each year, representing a record high and placing it among the top three most-visited cities in the United States. It’s no wonder LA attracts so many people ― from the Hollywood Sign to large movie studios, millions flock to see the center of the entertainment industry and all it has to offer.
With the pandemic, however, came a dramatic downturn in the amount of tourism in the city, which forced many in the tourism industry to shutter their doors permanently. One such business was Hollywood Dream Tours, one of Los Angeles’ premier tour companies, which had been in business for about a decade. Hollywood Dream Tours offered the choice of a 2-hour tour or a 6.5 full-day tour, giving visitors the opportunity to see nearly all of the biggest spots in Los Angeles’ entertainment history, from historical sites to where celebrities live today.
So, what did Hollywood Dream Tours’ experts deem worth a stop? Let’s dive into the most popular sites to see in Los Angeles’ entertainment industry today, including what they are and why they’re so famous. After all, these tourist destinations are famous for a reason!
You’ve definitely heard of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Most LA entertainment experts agree that this is a can’t-miss stop on any Hollywood tour. This historic landmark features the names of the biggest stars in entertainment history embedded in the sidewalk in brass stars. Here, you’ll get to physically walk alongside the names of all those who made an impact on entertainment ― for fifteen sidewalk blocks!
From the Hollywood Walk of Fame, you might get a glimpse of the Hollywood Sign looming above you. The Hollywood Sign, which originally read “Hollywoodland,” was built in 1923 to encourage people to move to new housing development of the same name in order to achieve their Hollywood dreams (it’s no wonder this was a stop on the Hollywood Dreams Tour!). Today, the sign is recognized by many as the symbol of the entertainment industry. Tourists can take in the sign from below or can even hike to the top for an up-close look.
The Sunset Strip, a 1.5-mile-long section of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, has been a favorite place to spend time for all kinds of celebrities since its inception in the 1920s. Like today, in the 1920s, the area was famous for its wild nightlife, hosting casinos, nightclubs, and even contraband alcohol during Prohibition. As the movie industry grew in the 30s and 40s, the Sunset Strip became a favorite hang-out for “movie-people” – the movers and shakers in the early motion picture industry, including big names like Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo.
As rock-and-roll took off in the 1960s, bands like Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Frank Zappa, and more played in clubs along the Sunset Strip, turning it into an entertainment scene favored by big names in the music industry. As music tastes changed, the Sunset Strip evolved to become the home of the most popular heavy metal clubs and bands, including Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses, and Mötley Crüe.
Today, the Sunset Strip is still a hot spot for the entertainment of all kinds, offering restaurants, famous hotels, and comedy clubs. It’s certainly worth a stop for anyone who wants to soak in everything the city of LA has to offer ― all at once!
If you’re looking to get a glimpse at the lives of the rich and famous while also getting some of the best views in LA, Mulholland Drive is for you. While the entire road is over 50 miles long, the Hollywood Dream Tour would only drive part of it, pointing out the best overlooks and most interesting landmarks. This road is truly best with a tour guide, as they can point out the opulent homes of celebrities including Madonna, Jack Nicolson, Marlon Brando, Bruce Willis, and more.
Mulholland Drive is even part of movie history itself, as the 2001 movie of the same name brought even more renown to the street. The movie’s famed director, David Lynch, also has a house on the road.
Despite its location at the center of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills is actually its own city, incorporated in 1914. It first began attracting stars as early as 1919, when Hollywood royalty and movie-producer power couple Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford built a mansion in the area. Other stars in the movie industry soon began moving to the area as well.
Today, Beverly Hills is most famous for housing some of the entertainment industry’s biggest names, talent agencies, and entertainment power-houses like Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Live Nation Entertainment. Tourists today are likely familiar with the many pop-culture references to the area, including The Beverly Hillbillies and the soap opera Beverly Hills, 90210.
For tourists looking to experience luxury, Rodeo Drive is the place to be. Stretching two miles in Beverly Hills, the street features store after store of extremely high-end stores, making it a very exclusive shopping destination. Most Los Angeles tours make a stop on Rodeo Drive, if not to shop, then simply to see the historic shopping district, which has been home to high-fashion stores since the 1980s. Similar to Hollywood Boulevard, the street features sidewalk plaques honoring fashion icons throughout the years.
Rodeo Drive has been featured in several films as well, earning it a name in movie industry history. For example, fans of romantic comedy will recognize the street from Pretty Woman, when Vivian, played by Julia Roberts, attempts to go shopping on Rodeo Drive and is turned away.
Hollywood dream tours didn’t stop there. On a full day's tour, visitors would get the chance to see other famous filming locations and celebrity homes. At the end of the day, tourists would truly have seen the biggest, most famous spots in the Los Angeles entertainment world.