Hollywood Walk of Fame: 5 things you'll want to know before visiting

by jmgreen

You can wander along Hollywood Boulevard, like I did, and you'll see plenty of stars, but armed with these five tips, you'll make your L.A. visit much more enjoyable!

On our first visit to Hollywood, my 12-year-old daughter and I had just a few hours to sight-see, so we wanted to make the most of it. The one thing my daughter asked to see was the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We put “Hollywood Walk of Fame” in the GPS and off we went. Our visit wasn’t a total failure, but if I knew then what I know now, our trip would have been much more entertaining and successful. Here are five things you’ll want to know before going to the Hollywood Walk of Fame:

Walk of Fame is long

Depending on your fitness level, you might not want to walk the whole thing.

The Walk of Fame is 1.3 miles long and runs east to west on Hollywood Boulevard, between North Gower Street and North LaBrea Avenue as well as a small section on Marshfield Way. More than 2,500 stars run along both sides of the street, with plenty of room for more stars. Shops of all kinds and in all states of repair line the boulevard, so there’s plenty to see and do.

Don’t forget as you are walking along with your head down to see the starts to look up from time to time so you don’t run into someone coming from the other direction!

Find your star beforehand.

We wandered, but next time, we’ll make a list.

Look up your favorite stars online before you get to the Walk of Fame. We finally searched for “Where is Robin Williams’ star?” and found we were still about six blocks away. (His star is at 6925 Hollywood Blvd.) It was already late, so we had to leave without seeing it.

Mostly we just wandered along the street looking at whatever stars we came across. Many of the names were radio personalities and were unfamiliar to us. I kept stopping to tell my daughter about old TV and movie stars, many from a much-earlier era, like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez and the Smothers Brothers.  She was most impressed with Grace Kelly once I told her how Grace Kelly was an actress until she married Prince Rainier III and became Princess of Monaco. 

Grace Kelly's star
Grace Kelly's star
Photo by Jackie Green

Do both ends of the boulevard.

There’s more to Hollywood Boulevard than just stars.

We followed the GPS to Hollywood Boulevard, which took us to the North Gower Street side of the Walk of Fame. This was not necessarily the best side of the Walk. One of the many tour operators along the street mentioned that we might like to see the Chinese Theatre. (Why yes we would!) So at the other end from where we were was the TCL Chinese Theatre, which used to be known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and includes the handprints of many stars. It’s still a working cinema and IMAX and a sought-after location for red carpet movie premieres.

We hopped in the car to take a look and drove slowly down the street. A huge crowd was gathered at the Chinese Theatre. In fact, that whole section of Hollywood Boulevard was busy with tourists going to the Ghirardelli shop, the Hollywood Wax Museum, the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store and more.

If we had known how hip and bustling that end of the boulevard was, we would have headed in that direction much earlier. 

Parking is really not so bad

Yes, there’s tons of cars, but it doesn’t have to get you down.

If you go early, you can still find parking along adjacent streets on the east side of the Walk of Fame near North Gower Street. We had no trouble parking there. However, on the west side of the Walk of Fame, where there is more for tourists to do, parking is tough and you’d be better off parking in one of the parking garages.   

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Look up to see the Hollywood sign.

We saw it by accident, but we’re telling you now so you don’t miss it.

When you get to the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and North Gower Street, look north and you’ll see the famous Hollywood sign on Mt. Lee. It’s quite a ways off, but it’s definitely there, and that corner is your best bet for a decent picture from Hollywood Boulevard.

My daughter and I walked about a quarter mile up North Gower Street in the hot sun to see if we could get a better picture, but no luck. Unless you want to get in your car and drive, just shoot the photo from there.

You’ll find it’s difficult to get a good shot of the iconic sign and it’s illegal to get too close to it anyway. 

The famous Hollywood sign on Mt. Lee
The famous Hollywood sign on Mt. Lee
Photo by Jackie Green
Updated: 08/31/2015, jmgreen
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