I recently had one day in Hollywood to tourist it up- and boy did I! Here’s how you can make the most of your one day in Hollywood as a big ol’ tourist.
I’m not a normal travel writer but you guys probably already know that.
Don’t give me the “visit like a local”- I’m a tourist and proud of it! I’m all about hitting up the most touristy hot spots when I first visit a new city.
And no shocker around here: visiting Disneyland is pretty much the #1 destination on my Southern California visits. But this last trip, I made a point to stay in Hollywood with the purpose of getting all kinds of touristy.
One Day In Hollywood To Tourist It Up
I’m a lover of all things touristy, and Hollywood is peak tourist.
I love the kitsch, I love the personalities you meet, I love the hustle from the folks making a living this way- I’m super weird like that. I just love the vibe in places like this.
If you’re heading into Hollywood for a one-day trip, here are my suggestions of the top tourist experiences you don’t want to miss.
Picking a Hotel In Hollywood California
First, you gotta find a hotel when you’re in town. You’ll want someplace to stay that’s walkable to all the highlights and I’m going to suggest two locations.
If you’re looking for hidden gems, well, I’m not your girl. While a budget is always taken into consideration, I don’t like to roll the dice on my hotel by going somewhere I can’t trust or feel safe in.
And while Hollywood is really cool, it’s not quite as glamorous as you might have in mind! There’s definitely some sketch out there on the streets and sleeping safely should be your priority. (That’s the mom and travel agent in me speaking up!)
I looked over reviews online and felt there were two local sites that might have worked and saved me money. These were the Hollywood Orchid Suites and the Hollywood Celebrity Hotel if you’re looking for something in that category.
Other hotels like the Motel 6 were knocked out of contention when guests described the street traffic. I was traveling with other girlfriends and while there’s safety in numbers, I didn’t want anyone to worry about safety at night.
Ultimately, we decided that for a little bit more money, we’d be happiest going somewhere a little more high end.
Best Places to Stay in Hollywood: The Loew’s Hollywood Hotel
We stayed at the Loew’s Hollywood Hotel and I think this location is practically perfect for the Hollywood tourist.
The staff was gracious, helpful, and so accommodating to our needs. We weren’t movie stars, but felt like it by the end of this stay!
And everything we wanted to see in Hollywood was within a 15-20 minute walk, with the big highlights literally around the corner.
We made a mad dash to the TCL Chinese Theatre one morning and it took maybe 5 minutes to get there.
There’s a rooftop pool that’s divine and you never know who you might find there- like famous YouTubers!
My room had a view of the Hollywood sign, plenty of towels, comfortable bedding, and was tucked quietly over in a corner.
The only negative I had was the slight inconvenience of needing to insert my room key every time I was on the elevator- but… I mean, you know why, right? It’s for safety and I can’t hate on that! It was just something I forgot every. single. time. I was in the elevator and we’d stand there for a few minutes before noticing we weren’t moving!
The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood
The Roosevelt is another fab option for your one day in Hollywood trip.
This hotel is just stunning- and has an ideal location! If you want to really feel Hollywood glam, book a cabana by the pool and pretend you’re Marilyn.
Old Hollywood loved this hotel and after a 2005 renovation, it’s easy to see why new Hollywood would too.
We didn’t stay here on this trip, but I had been in the hotel once before for the Ralph Breaks the Internet after party so I knew my way around a bit. During the party I was looking at the stars and not the decor, so I made sure to change all that.
This time I took #allthepictures and added the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood to my hotel stay bucket list.
One Day in Hollywood Tourist Tip: Visit The TCL Chinese Theatre
This is probably a no-brainer, but you gotta head over to the TCL Chinese Theatre and nose around. It was once said that visiting LA and not seeing this location was like going to China and skipping the Great Wall.
Guys, I can’t tell you how many times I’d been in LA before- and never made a point to stop here.
Dishonor on your my family! Dishonor on me! Dishonor on my cow!
You know it by sight: the big Chinese pagoda looking building rising up between all the shopping centers on the strip.
It’s a working theater and you can catch a movie here while in Hollywood. Kinda a cool thing to do if you enjoy the history of the city like I do!
Out front is the famous Forecourt of the Stars, aka, where Grauman’s handprints and footprints of the stars can be found.
Watch an Imprint Ceremony
When we were there, the stars of Avengers: Endgame had their imprint ceremony.
That… we totally missed out on seeing. WhompWhomp
We tried- this was the 5-minute spring from the Loew’s to the TCL I mentioned earlier.
We missed the actual ceremony but made it in time to circle around back – don’t ask how we knew to do this, it was just a natural move on our part!– to see the stars as they left the building.
Y’all, this is peak Hollywood tourist right here. Crushed in with a couple of hundred people hoping to glimpse the Avengers as they exited.
I loved every second of it!
Finish up your trip to the TCL Chinese Theatre with a tour of the theater. They don’t cost a lot and you’ll get a lot of insider info on this historic Hollywood theater.
El Capitan Theatre Tour
I didn’t take the TCL tour because I decided my heart belongs to Disney- and that meant the El Capitan Theatre (owned by Disney) called me.
This theater is pretty much across the street from the TCL Chinese and the Dolby Theatre (aka where the Oscars are held).
All of these locations are working movie theaters and all of them offer tours. I loved the El Captian tour and would be down to try the others next time I’m in town.
But I love Hollywood history and movies, so this just works for me.
The price also worked for me: $12! The tour took about 45 minutes which doesn’t cut into your day much and I got to see and hear some cool history.
Also I was the only person on the tour, so it was neat to have a personal tour guide showing me around.
In the end, I scored some popcorn & water, and if you’ve priced popcorn at the movies you know that pretty much paid for itself.
There was a Marvel Movie Marathon happening while I was there, so I didn’t get to take pictures inside the theater.
But that experience was cool on its own: all my Marvel fangirls and boys soaking in every single movie before they saw Endgame was SO Hollywood to me! The marathon meant they were committed to watching all 21 movies back to back over 2 days.
My kind of crazy!
Take the tour if you love Hollywood, the Movies, and Disney. I also learned that Disney is trying to get its stars just outside the theater whenever possible (which is why Minnie is front and center in front of the El Capitan!)
Don’t forget to pop into the Ghiradelli soda shop next door, too! The latest movie and Disney Studio’s souvenirs can be bought here along with some great shakes, sundaes, and sweets.
One Day in Hollywood: Cruise the Hollywood Walk of Fame
When you’ve got one day in Hollywood, you’re going to end up on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Pretty much everywhere you look (down) you’re walking past a famous name from Hollywood’s history.
So make sure you look down. You can also get information on where to find your favorite star by checking this site in advance. Also: Google.
Cause that told me everything I needed to know!
I was there during the height of Marvel crazy so I had those names on my mind- and interestingly found quite a few of the stars from the MCU up and down the walk.
I also did the Pretty Woman scene because- PRETTY WOMAN. Child of the 80s/90s so this was totally my jam.
“Rachel? You see the stars on the sidewalk, babe? Well, Vivian and me, we work Bob Hope, we work the Ritz Brothers, we work Fred Astaire, we work all the way down to Ella Fitzgerald. This is our turf. We got seniority. You better get off our corner!”- Kit DeLuca
I could have been entertained for hours with this dorkyness alone.
But speaking of Pretty Woman…
Pretty Woman Fire Escape Location
While I had my make-up done before the Avengers: Endgame red carpet, my makeup artist mentioned that the Pretty Woman fire escape was somewhere nearby.
She pointed out a window and said it might take me 5 minutes to get there, but it was pretty close if I wanted to check it out.
I was totally up for that adventure! And booyah- I found it.
There was one other tourist there at the same time as me and he just kinda laughed and said, “Pretty Woman?”
Yup. Pretty Woman, y’all!
It’s located at the Las Palmas Hotel: 1738 N. Las Palmas Ave, Los Angeles.
A real hotel, with real Yelp reviews!
One Day in Hollywood: Museums and Tours on Hollywood Boulevard
I was perfectly content with my mostly-free exploration during my one day in Hollywood that I didn’t go into any museums or take a tour.
But that’s not for lack of opportunity.
They. Were. Everywhere.
If you’re looking to spend some time inside, there are loads of museums to choose from.
That last one almost had me.
Museum of Selfies + bloggers + Hollywood- I mean… it was begging for me to go in! But I didn’t have a lot of time or cash, so I moved on down the road a bit.
The tour vans were pretty high on my want list, but it just didn’t happen on this trip.
But I checked out pricing on the TMZ tour, however, (high- and they did not negotiate) and a few smaller companies along the side of the road. One claimed to to be the only one that could get you up close to the Hollywood Sign (um, I’m pretty sure they are all stopped in the same area but it was a nice try!).
Pro-tip: if you approach them later in the day, they may consider cutting their fees in half!
What To Eat in Hollywood
Unfortunately, I can’t help much here.
I didn’t find anything noteworthy or exciting except for one place.
Randy’s Donuts on Hollywood Boulevard– right next to the TCL- was not only delicious but affordable as far as donuts go.
And hey- the original Randy’s is the donut Iron Man is hanging out in Iron Man 2.
And honest. A special shoutout goes to the cashier who spied my CAMERA that I left sitting on the counter. They held it in the back until I called begging for them to tell me they had it.
They did, and I was one happy tourist after that!
Keep An Eye Out For Camera Crews In Hollywood
This is a true story- you never know what you’ll see or do in Hollywood.
After the El Capitan tour, I took a seat on the steps in front of Jimmy Kimmel Live. While munching on my popcorn and trying to decide what to do next, I noticed the film crew setting up right in front of me.
Turns out, America’s Got Talent was filming a segment right there on Hollywood Boulevard.
They actually asked if anyone was willing to act like they needed a selfie with the talent on camera and I leaped up with an “I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille!” attitude.
I signed a waiver, I took the selfie, and then… sat back down with my popcorn.
SUPER glamorous. But hey, if you see me and these guys on TV, let me know.
Who knows? I might be breaking into Hollywood one selfie at a time.
If you’re looking for things to do other than Disney in Los Angeles, I’ve got a few other suggestions as well. But I gotta say, my one day in Hollywood experience was pretty exciting- and I can’t wait to go back for more.
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)