Plan your arrival at the right time and you could be witnessing the stars on the red carpet of a film premiere. This is the venue where Hollywood’s biggest and best motion pictures are introduced to the public for the first time. Originally opened as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1927, it’s surrounded by the famous concrete floor imprinted with the hand and footprints of the stars.
As the home of the Academy Awards, this venue is the most star-studded in February as the red carpet rolls out and fans take to the bleachers to see their favourite personalities. Formerly known as the Kodak Theatre, where American Idol shows were filmed, and home to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, it offers behind-the-scenes tours at US$23 for adults.
3. Jimmy Kimmel Live
Opposite the the Dolby Theatre is the Jimmy Kimmel Live studio, where guests such as Courteney Cox and Guy Ritchie are often spotted waving to the paparazzi as they arrive and leave to film shows. The Emmy-nominated ABC network programme at 6840 Hollywood Boulevard, is known for its funny segments such as Mean Tweets and the YouTube Challenge. To sign up for free tickets, visit this website. You’ll want to look your best because audience members may be filmed and are sometimes asked to take part in the show.
4. Runyon Canyon
Not only is this a prime location to get grand views of the city, but you can also glimpse celebrities if you’re lucky. The 160-acre Runyon Canyon is a favourite of the likes of Anne Hathaway and Tyrese Gibson for a spot of hiking. Just two blocks from Hollywood, there are several entrances and hiking routes, plus an off-leash dog policy which makes it a top spot for famous people who adore their fur kids.
5. TMZ tour
Don’t be surprised if you spot a familiar face while you’re touring the areas where the stars hang out. This tour navigates the places in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills that are well-known as socialising spots loved by celebrities. The bus is guided by a member of TMZ’s TV show staff, who are ready to film stars to be featured in the programme or online. Guests have seen Rihanna, Kevin Hart and more. Buy tickets on the website.
6. Warner Bros. Studio
A regular two-hour tour takes guests through the backlot streets and soundstages where programmes such as The Ellen Show (below), The Big Bang Theory and Gilmore Girls are filmed. The Deluxe Tour takes six hours and offers a more in-depth tour of the studio. Guests can even grab lunch in the Commissary Fine Dining Room where actors, producers, studio executives and writers meet to discuss secret scripts. Cafe Sur Le Lot, as seen in the Oscar-winning movie La La Land, was where Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling filmed the Oscar-winning motion picture.
7. Soho House
You’ll need to be a member or know a member to get entry to this prestigious West Hollywood location. Guests enter via underground parking at this 9200 Sunset Boulevard venue, for ultimate privacy. Taking photos is a no-no (except in their passport-style photo booth) and phone calls must be taken on their verandah, which with panoramic views of the city, isn’t too bad at all. If you’re lucky enough to get inside, you can enjoy their beautiful roof gardens, kick back in the screening room (below) or grab a bite to eat and a drink with a celebrity seated nearby.
Lindsay Lohan, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill are all big names who can be seen at this West Hollywood Hotel, and possibly all on the same night. Located on Sunset Boulevard, the hotel and bungalows have an indoor dining and greenery decorated terrace which attracts both guests and visitors and as one of Andres Balazs’ properties (behind London’s Chiltern Firehouse, New York’s The Mercer, and Miami’s The Standard), it’s no wonder. Just down the Hill is Bar Marmont, a second best option if there’s no room at the hotel.