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.
9. The Ivy
Not connected to the celebrity-favourite restaurant in London of the same name, The Ivy in West Hollywood is equally popular with famous faces and was even featured in the Golden Globe-winning movie Get Shorty, starring John Travolta. The paparazzi is always nearby, trying to get shots of stars from across the road and through the famous white picket fence, while A-listers like George Clooney and Jennifer Aniston dine on traditional Californian cuisine. Despite its popularity with celebrities, including Victoria’s Secret models, with its floral tablecloths and cushions, this 113 N Robertson restaurant will make you feel at home.
10. Urth Caffe
As the filming location of Entourage, Adrien Grenier and Jeremy Piven aren’t the only celebrities who enjoy this coffee shop. Demi Lovato, Melanie Griffith and Kendall Jenner have all been spotted at this California chain, with the Melrose branch being one of the most popular with the rich and famous. Stop by for a refuel of organic coffee or fine tea and you never know who you might bump into.
11. Barry’s Bootcamp
Loved by Jake Gyllenhaal and Kim Kardashian, the fitness brand has two branches in LA and others in America, Europe and the Middle East. At US$28 per class, it’s a small price to pay to get in shape like the stars with this tough interval training class. Each day offers a different focus on the body, and the class is split between people on the treadmill and people training on the floor with weights and resistance bands. You’ll be ready for your close-up picture in no time.
Los Angeles International Airport is the gateway to the city so unless celebrities are opting for a private jet into Santa Monica Airport, this is where you’ll spot them. Keep your eyes peeled when you’re checking in or going through security. If you’re flying Business or First Class, be extra alert for big names in the boarding queues and lounges. Terminal 3’s arrival hall is said to be a great spot for stars who want to be snapped leaving the airport.
13. The Grove
Upmarket retail therapy location The Grove has a concierge service and valet parking so it’s no wonder celebrities love it. Famous for its vintage tram trolley (below) which navigates the part-outdoor, part-indoor mall, and its huge Santa’s Grotto at Christmas, there’s always something going on here. Whether attending a celebrity book signing or simply visiting one of the restaurants, cinemas or stores, it’s a great place to mingle with Hollywood’s finest.
With 65 boutiques, restaurants and galleries, this fun family location is a hotspot for famous people with young children. Young ones can enjoy the sand-filled playground while parents picnic at the surrounding tables at this outdoor space, north of the Pacific Coast Highway. Britney Spears, Pamela Anderson and Christian Bale have been seen here.
15. Staples Center
The LA Clippers and LA Lakers are Los Angeles’ two big National Basketball Association (NBA) teams, and as well as seeing big names in sport on the court you’ll also see them in the VIP seats. Whether it’s the famous wives and girlfriends of the players or celebrities who count themselves as fans (think Harry Styles and Jay Z), this multi-purpose venue has a lot to offer as far as star-spotting goes. If sport isn’t your thing, book tickets to see a big music gig instead.
– TEXT BY LEAH SIMPSON
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This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.