Hollywood, CA | Tours, Tips & Two Cents: A Family Vacation Guide

Hollywood, CA | Tours, Tips & Two Cents: A Family Vacation Guide
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With innumerable things to do in Hollywood, California, you will certainly be star-struck with our tour recommendations, tips and our two-cents! Many people dream of living like a celebrity and you can certainly get a glimpse here.

Hollywood & Vine Streets

It was the roaring 20’s when Hollywood first started it’s empire of movies & TV businesses along these two seemingly timeless streets located in Hollywood. Ever since then, Hollywood just keeps growing and growing with more talent from generation to generation.

Tour/Tip/2 cent: Palm Springs

One of our first stops is a city known for it’s boutiques, star studded beautiful homes, and, of course, palm trees. Palm Springs doesn’t necessarily have a nickname, but if I were to give it a nickname I would say that Palm Springs is the city of charm. It is secluded, quite (depending what time of year you go), has many shops that are uniquely divided in character, and is rich in history. 

During our vacation, we did not do a lot at Palm Springs because our main focus was Hollywood. However, we did stay at the beautiful Palm Canyon Resort and there is no shortage of activities to do there with or without children.  

One very interesting tour you could take is to Elvis Presley’s honeymoon hideaway home that is worth over $9.5 million. We did not tour this home, but we did make it a pit stop to see the outside of it. It is located in a cul-de-sac and it truly is stunning even from just the outside. Unfortunately, I did not get the best photo of it, but I did have my husband take a photo of me taking a photo of the home! Pretty funny.

Tour/Tip/2 cent: Warner Bros. Studio


I have to rate this tour as one of our favorite places we visited because we are huge movie & TV fans. We are specifically fans of many of Warner Bros. shows. Some of our favorite film stages that you can visit are “The Big Bang Theory,” “Young Sheldon,” and “The Ellen Degeneres Show.” If you’re a 1980’s child, then you might recognize the set from “Friends.” You can literally sit on the sofa and be a “friend.” Photos were not allowed inside certain studios and sets.


If you love movies as much as we do, you’ll recognize props & costumes here from many well known movies such as Batman & Harry Potter. Warner Bros. Studio, as you can see, has a full day’s worth of exciting sites to see and experience and is suitable for all ages.


The Backlot where a lot of your favorite TV shows and movies were filmed:

TV show “E.R.” This is the entrance to the hospital.
The movie “The Mask.” A musical number was performed here.
TV Show “Full House.”
The Seavers from the TV Show “Growing Pains.”
The TV show “Friends.” This is was used for the scene when Rachel and Monica talk about when they were younger and fatter.
“The Dukes of Hazard” TV show.
TV show “Gilmore Girls.”
The movie “The Music Man” was filmed here.
More of the lot where “The Music Man” was filmed.
The movie “The Three Amigos” filmed a scene here.
Stage 25 is home to the TV show “The Big Bang Theory.” Interesting fact: Did you know that the math equations on Sheldon & Leonard’s whiteboard contain an extra credit equation for the students of a professor at UC Berkley and each weekend he is the scientific adviser for the show?
This is Adam Sandler’s personal golf cart. He uses it to get around when he’s visiting here.
This has been used for countless movies & TV shows.
Judy Garland attended school here while she was on set for the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” In fact, this is where many child stars attend school while on set.








The Batmobiles and more!

Cool stuff!


Tour/Tip/2 cent: Hollywood Max Factor Museum

Many people don’t know about this museum, but if you have a few hours to kill you must make a visit. It is located within walking distance of the Chinese Theatre so if you’re already out and about, it won’t take you long to get here. It is a historic building that carries many movie and TV props, scripts, and artifacts.

“Star Wars”
“The Walking Dead”
“Star Trek”
“The Wizard of Oz” ruby red slippers.
“Silence of the Lambs”




Tour/Tip/2 cent: Hollywood Boulevard

This is the place to be when visiting Hollywood for the first time. There is so much life here! There are many tour companies that will want your business. We decided to go with a walking audio tour to get more of an in-depth perspective to the old/classic & newer Hollywood. Here you will be provided with headphones and as you walk you will be given information on everything at a reasonable pace. You may even ask questions, if you desire. Here are some of our family’s favorite stars!

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. This is where many stars handprints/footprints reside.
Rest in peace Robin Williams.













I grew up in Anaheim. True story: My family met John Wayne at the LA airport and John Wayne held me as a baby!

How could I NOT get a photo of my favorite star! I love Disney!!!






Inside the Egyptian Theatre are still many props to view.
These 2 props were used in the classic 1963 movie “Cleopatra.” These props are located inside the Egyptian Theatre.


This First United Methodist Church of Hollywood was used for the filming of “Back to the Future II.” It was the recreation place of the “Enchantment” dance.





The movie “Big” used one of these. I’m not sure if this IS the one, but it’s “Zoltar!”




It’s a little hard to see, but the “Las Palmas” hotel to the right was used for a scene from the movie “Pretty Woman.” It’s where Richard Gere climbs up the ladder to Julia Robert’s apartment and sweeps her away. So romantic!

Tour/Tip/2 cent: Dolby Theatre

From the Oscars, Academy Awards to American Idol,  Dolby Theatre is a gorgeous 640K sq.ft. theatre that you can only tour with a ticket in hand. Tickets are purchased through their website. I was very surprised how ordinary the outside staircase entrance to the theatre was. Did you know it’s located in a shopping mall? On any given day it looks ordinary, but on award nights the entire entrance is transformed into a red carpet event. Store signs are covered with fabric. Seats are provided for spectators/fans. Giant Oscar statues are lined up at the entrance. The entire street of Hollywood Boulevard is closed off for the event. Our tour guide showed us a photo of how the place is transformed verses how it is on a daily basis.


This is how it looks on a daily basis:


You won’t see these stairs adorned in all of their red carpet splendor on a daily basis, but on Oscar night it will be! Entered from the first level going upstairs, is the entrance to the Dolby Theatre.  I was pretending to pose like a wannabe movie star! I think I may have been a bit under dressed! By the way, do you notice the shop signs? 

If you go to the second level, you’ll be able to see the entire mall’s courtyard. And if you move to a certain location, you’ll see a far off view of the famous Hollywood sign.

Our tour of the Dolby Theatre was about to begin as we waited patiently for our guide. We were ready to go with ticket in hand. We were very excited!

To our excitement, once you’re in, it is spectacular!!! It is all about glamour and glitz! The staircase inside is where the stars go to get their seats. In addition, there are private VIP rooms!

In the VIP room with an Oscar!

The inside is impressive!

Stage right at the Dolby Theatre.
I am on stage!
This is the ceiling as I look up from on stage.
Dolby Theatre inside in Hollywood.
Looking out to my left.
The stage from a different angle.

 Tour/Tip/2 cent: Sony Pictures Studio

Sony Pictures Studio is a place where many stars film their shows and/or movies. It is a wonderful place for the entire family! There are sitcom sets and game show sets. If you look and book ahead of time (plenty of time), you could even be in an audience! 

You come in here first when you have reservation tickets.
Across the street is where the tour begins!
Men in Black movie
Anyone know who these two are? LOL “Men in Black” in action!

“Who you gonna call?” That’s right! GHOSTBUSTERS!






Getting our Spidey sense on!


This is what Alex Trebek sees on his podium. It’s literally pen and paper! Who would have known?
I am not in this because, honestly, I’m not good at Jeopardy. Wheel of Fortune is more up my alley. An audition for Jeopardy once awarded me the “Get a clue” hat.
Set used as Peter Parker’s high school graduation in the “Spider-Man” movie.
TV show “Breaking Bad” starring Bryan Cranston.




 Tour/Tip/2 cent: Universal Studios


We live in Florida and we’ve been to Universal Studios there numerous times, but this one in California has it’s unique features. For one thing, it has the TV show filming of “Extra” starring Mario Lopez. We were fortunate to be in the audience while they were filming an episode.
Mario Lopez with Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio from Brazil.


Plane crash set for the movie “War of the Worlds.”

If you were a big “Desperate Housewives” fan, you would recognize this entire neighborhood. I was a fan and it felt surreal to be IN Wisteria Lane. That was an awesome experience!

It was hush-hush at the time and our tour guide didn’t want to say what TV show they were filming for, but we, being the big TV buffs we are, knew by the “Stark” truck that this was for “Agent Carter.”

Tour/Tip/2 cent: Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm during the holidays is so merry. The last time I was here was when I was 5 years old! This was a long overdue trip and to enjoy it as a family made it even more special. This theme park is has things for the entire family. They have awesome rides, shows, and great food! It is an old world feeling walking about the grounds with fun all around.

Tour/Tip/2 cent: Reagan Library

The Reagan Library is the Reagan presidential museum and the resting place for former President Reagan. This library is Located in the city of Simi Valley which is southeast of Ventura County. It is an absolutely beautiful place to visit and perhaps stay a few days. We really wanted to visit the Reagan Library and I was stunned on how beautiful it was out there!

The suit that Reagan was shot in. You can still see the hole.
A piece of the Berlin wall.



His resting place facing the beautiful valley.
The backside of his resting place facing the library.
His tombstone.
His favorite candy was jellybeans. This portrait is made up of entirely jellybeans!
Air Force One.
Inside Air Force One.
Motorcade vehicle.
His jackets.
An Oval Office mock up of exactly how Reagan liked it.

Tour/Tip/2 cent: Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier is a lovely place to spend a fun time with your family or just relax on your own on the beach. It’s also a great place to people watch or grab a bite to eat. It’s got the best of both world’s: thrills and chills (thrill=rides, chills=chillax on the beach). The best time to go is during sunset and that’s when we went. It can be very chilly depending on when you go and very windy so bring a light jacket!



There are innumerable things to do in Hollywood as a family.

I hope you enjoyed this guide to serve you in any future visits to Hollywood, California.

 Two Traveling Texans
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9 thoughts on “Hollywood, CA | Tours, Tips & Two Cents: A Family Vacation Guide”

  • I’ve only ever been on the Sony Pictures tour and loved it; I will definitely have to try the Warner Bros tour as I’ve heard excellent things! Another cool thing about the Dolby Theater is that you can get an excellent shot of the Hollywood sign from the third floor of the shopping center there. Great tips!

  • You’ve seen far more of Hollywood than I have and I’m a So Cal gal! I’d love to do some of the studio tours although as I don’t watch much TV the special displays may go over my head. I hope your family enjoyed the rides at Universal and especially Knotts Berry Farm. #weekendwanderlust

  • That looks like quite a trip. You fit in a lot of tours. I also love movies and television shows so this is definitely my kind of stuff. I’d love get a pic sitting on the Friends’ set. #WeekendWanderlust

  • we went to Cali in August – san fran to anaheim and sadly didnt get to LA, Hollywood or Santa Monica! We need to go back! PS Im so impressed you know the movie Three Amigos I thought just me and my brother saw that one!

  • Wo you really saw alot! I haven’t had a chance to go to the Reagan Library yet but I would love to go. It looks really interesting! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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