I was daydreaming the other day about the place where dreams are made: Hollywood. This borough of Los Angeles belongs to the world but it is uniquely American.
According to the diary of the land developer, H. J. Whitley, the name came from a chance encounter he had with a Chinese workman while he was viewing the valley from the hillside in 1888. Whitley asked the labourer what he was doing and the workman responded “Holly-wood” (‘Hauling Wood’). Whether true or not, Whitley later claimed in court that the name was his because of this encounter. The legendary D. W. Griffith was the first to film in Hollywood when he made “In Old California” in 1910. Reportedly, the iconic Griffith filmed in Hollywood because it was remote from New York City where Thomas Edison held a patent. If this is true, then Hollywood became the film capital of the world primarily because it was far away from the Big Apple!
When you know you made it in Hollywood!
The Hollywood Bowl is fantastic for a concert or play! This art deco jewel was designed by Frank Gehry and Lloyd Wright, the son of Frank Lloyd Wright. It is the perfect venue for a warm evening. You might also enjoy one of the many bus tours that drive by houses of the stars and other landmarks in ‘Tinsel Town’. The tour will undoubtedly feature the cool Capital Records building on Hollywood and Vine – it was the first rounded high-rise building ever made when it debuted in 1956.
Can I have one of these please?
I enjoy the walk up the hills to the Griffith Observatory. It is too close to the city for serious astronomy but its powerful telescope is still great for viewing celestial sights. It’s a pleasant walk in the early evening after sunset. I also really enjoy the Universal Studios Theme Park, located at the former site of the studio, with its exciting Harry Potter themed attractions.
Here’s another pro-tip: You can no longer walk up the hillside which holds the world-famous ‘Hollywood’ sign. You can, however, take the Runyon Canyon walk that offers spectacular views.
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Everyone loves Hollywood!
If you are looking for an authentic Hollywood experience, then you can do no better than staying at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel which is right across the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Another one I really like is the W Hollywood. Situated on Hollywood Boulevard and a mile from the TCL Chinese Theatre, this trendy hotel is close to the Hollywood Bowl and Universal Studios. If you are looking for a more budget venue, there are a huge number in and around.
The BEST Chicken & Waffles ever!
Here’s a final pro-tip: for something offbeat, check out Mystery Pier Books in West Hollywood. This eclectic bookstore only stocks first edition books and has an incredible collection. Many of the bookstore’s clients are stars and you may bump into someone famous as you browse. There is never any pressure to buy and the pictures of clientele on the wall are an exciting attraction.
If you’ve ever dreamed of being in the movies, Hollywood is a place where dreams are made and sometimes still come true!