Hollywood, CA | Tours, Tips & Two Cents: A Family Vacation Guide
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:
The Batmobiles and more!
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.
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!
I grew up in Anaheim. True story: My family met John Wayne at the LA airport and John Wayne held me as a baby!
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!
The inside is impressive!
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!
“Who you gonna call?” That’s right! GHOSTBUSTERS!
Getting our Spidey sense on!
Tour/Tip/2 cent: Universal Studios
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!
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!
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.