If you want to do some location hunting, there is no better city than Los Angeles. While many productions have branched out to other locations to try and keep costs down, Hollywood is still the home to the entertainment industry. Many films and TV shows are still produced here, which is why so many stars call it home.
On This Site…
Some of the movie locations I’ve written about are Back To The Future, Lords of Dogtown, Pretty Woman, and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.
I’ve visited lots of television locations like Modern Family, The Office, The Goldbergs, American Housewife, The Brady Bunch, The Ellen Degeneres Show, and The Wonder Years.
If you are visiting Hollywood, I strongly recommend you check out some of the Studio Tours. These are a great way to get behind the scenes, and also see some filming locations that are on backlots. The Sony, Paramount, and Universal tours are great if there is something specific you are hoping to see at one of those studios. However, if you have time for just one tour, I really recommend the Warner Bros. Tour. It is really the most comprehensive tour. You’ll visit a mix of soundstages and backlots, as well as their “Stage 48” Museum. Their tour guides are awesome, the tours run frequently, and they offer several languages.
Another fun way to get up close to the Hollywood industry is to attend a live TV Taping. Whether it’s a sitcom, talk show, or game show, being part of the audience is a great way to see celebrities, and gives you pretty big bragging rights. Both Audiences Unlimited and 1iota are audience coordinators, and many shows use them to distribute tickets.
Santa Monica Pier
One of my favourite locations in the LA area is Santa Monica Pier. This historic location is the end of famous route 66, and was initially built in 1909. The pier features a number of shops and restaurants, as well as the Pacific Park’s ferris wheel and roller coaster.
The pier is also a wonderful place to watch the sunset. If the weather cooperates, the colours in the sky can be breathtaking.
If you skateboard, you’ll want to stop by Dogtown Coffee, just a couple blocks from the pier. You can read more about it’s history on my Lords of Dogtown page.
Venice Beach Skate Park
Anyone who skateboards, or has an interest in the sport, should definitely stop by the Venice Beach Skate Park. Located right on the beach in the eclectic area of Venice Beach, this park is world famous. It is common to see some of the top skaters here, as many live in Southern California.
As a huge Disney fan, I always make sure I have time to visit Disneyland when I’m in Los Angeles. It is located in Anaheim, about an hour away from downtown LA. Because of this, many people will split their visit and get a hotel near Disneyland for a couple nights.
There are countless sources of information about the best way to visit Disneyland and it’s sister park, California Adventure, so I won’t get into every detail. I will, however, recommend you spend at least 2 days here. You’ll want lots of time to visit the attractions in both parks, and perhaps explore Downtown Disney as well.
Most people picture Hollywood Boulevard when they think of Los Angeles. However, they generally don’t picture it correctly. Yes, you can see the Walk of Fame, The Chinese Theatre, and even catch a glimpse of the Hollywood sign. However the area is also really seedy. There are people in costumes pushing you to take photos (for money, of course). You also have pushy tour operators trying to sell their tours. It evokes none of the glamorous images one often associates with Hollywood. When I brought my parents to LA in 2019, it was their least favourite part. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t be a trip to Hollywood without checking it out, so go take your photos, and then go see something else.
How To Get Around…
While Los Angeles does have a metro system, it can be very inconvenient depending on where you are going. If you are staying in Hollywood or downtown LA, the metro can take you to Long Beach, Santa Monica, or Universal Studios. If those are on your lists, the metro may work.
For most people, however, I definitely recommend renting a car to explore. Los Angeles has so many places to explore, it’s really much more convenient to be able to drive around.
While LA is a big city with lots of traffic, I don’t find it nearly as bad as it’s reputation. I enjoy driving in the city, and parking is generally easy to find. Drivers can be a bit aggressive on highways, so if that worries you, just stick to the slower lanes, and you’ll be fine. Just remember to bring a GPS, as you’ll need it to navigate through the city.
*Please note I haven’t received compensation for any recommendations on this site. These are my own opinions*
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