Welcome to Hollywood! Where the show biz lives and breaths – or that is at least what we are taught to think. I will finish our stories from LA with this classic. We have all seen pictures of the sign and of the stars on the pavement – and Hollywood Boulevard is still one of the most popular destinations for tourists at least based on the amount of people we saw there.
Hollywood Boulevard is actually not that of a big area, since once outside of the main hub there are not a lot of people anymore. Everyone is packed around the TLC Chinese Theatre, where every now and then big stars press their hands or feet onto the cement. It is also area where people in more or less cheap Star Wars, Disney and Hollywood Icon outfits pose for pictures and some bucks. It is also a place where tens of hopefuls give out or sell their LP’s and promo CD’s to bypassers, or where salesmen sell you dollar-drinks per item.
TLC Chinese Theatre is thus the worst – or the best, depends what you are looking for – area to be in. We got a little claustrophobic among all the people and did not spend too long in the area. The area is hectic and there is constantly something going on, but we did not find it too interesting.
What bothered us most was the amount of tour company representatives trying to shove brochures in our hands. I actually hated carrying my camera around, since it seemed to lure them to us even more often. Look like a tourist and get treated like one.
The Walk of Fame however is less centered. The stars stretch a long way, but many of them are in an area where are no grand, glittery buildings supporting the sight. In fact there is, again, quite a few homeless in the outskirts of the Walk and the area felt slightly restless after dark.
While walking on the Walk of Fame we bumped into the Museum of Broken Relationships. To be honest we did not even know there was one in Los Angeles, but as we found out the whole concept was actually born in that city. I had been sad about missing the exhibition in Finland (it is going to end about a month before my return), so I was happy to get a chance to visit it. A good hour went by reading the sad, fun, heartwarming or painful stories of ended love and friendships.
All in all there is just so much more to Hollywood than just the Hollywood Boulevard or theWalk of Fame. If you wander off and stroll along Sunset Boulevard towards Los Feliz, there is a lot of cool shops, cafes and restaurants. If you hop a few streets down and go to Melrose Avenue, you can spend hours there (window) shopping and enjoying good food and drinks.
Melrose Avenue was really great for shopping and we could have easily spent all our money on that street. Matte especially was missing his mom when we were doing some window shopping. Although I do have to admit that at times the temptation grew too big to resist and we did end up walking around with a few shopping bags… Bad backpackers.
Melrose Avenue is a long, long street with both high end shopping and less flashy stores. A more polished looking place for shopping is The Grove. We had a look at the shops after first eating decently priced breakfast at The Original Farmer’s Market. A good amount of food stalls to choose from.
There is only so much window shopping you can do. A
small travel down from the Walk of Fame to Wilshire Boulevard there is a concentration of museums: LACMA, La Brea Tar Pits, Petersen Automotive Museum and Craft & Folk Museum. Our main focus was to visit LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Arts), but Matte we had forgotten to check the hours and it was closed on the day we were there. We still took a few pictures of the Urban Light, which is a much photographed art piece next to the actual museum.
We chose not to visit La Brea Tar Pits Museum either, mainly to save some money. We just had a stroll around the area. If you have not heard of the pits before: it s a prehistoric-fossil excavation site. It a fascinating place, where researchers have dug out and still are digging prehistoric fossils – actually millions of them over the years. The area has had tar popping up to the surface for tens of thousands of years and excavations started in during the 1910 decade.
The area is incredibly rich in fossils, since it has been trapping animals in the swamp-like conditions for the whole time they have existed. So basically the tar pits are a treasure chest for researchers of various academic fields. Pretty cool!
After having a look at the extravagant Petersen Automotive Museum we decided to pay 7 dollars each to have a look into Craft & Folk Museum. Very charming building and cute, little exhibitions.
A museum on the other hand we did not even consider visiting was a Scientology museum. I must admit I was highly surprised how big and visible this movement was, especially around Hollywood. Their buildings are all around LA and you can tell they have massive amounts of money. All I can say is that I am looking forward to later seeing Louis Therouxs’ documentary ‘My Scientology Movie’. It was actually mainly shot here in Los Angeles and now I know why.
Hollywood is often presented as something grand and glamorous, but to us is showed a more down-to-earth side. Except for the hot spot on the Walk of Fame, the look and feeling of the city is more low-key. We enjoyed ourselves the best on the outskirts of Hollywood, on the shopping streets with good eateries and refreshing drinks. The problem with Hollywood – and with the whole of LA is – the long distances with all the good spots. Uber (a much debated taxi-app in Europe) was our friend and even though we did our best effort to leg it as much as we could, without wheels under you it would be a struggle to
catch them all see it all.