In the heart of Tinseltown, you will find the Hollywood and Highland Center. They did recently change their name to Ovation Hollywood, but just like no one calls the Staples Center Crypto.com arena, I think it will be a while before people stop referring to it by the original name. This shopping and entertainment center is so much more than just an outdoor mall. The Hollywood & Highland center is one of the most visited places in Los Angeles. This post is will help you get the most out of your visit.
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Please be aware that because this is a popular tourist spot there will be scam artists and pickpockets. People will try to hand you CDs and other stuff. I just ignore them and keep walking. Don’t let this scare you off but just realize you need to be alert. I also ignore all of the dressed up characters as they will want money for taking pictures with them.
The Hollywood and Highland Center is located at 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028. If you are driving you are able to park below the center. Most of the restaurants and theatres do offer validated parking. Please note that certain places like The Dolby Theatr do not offer validation.
Even with validation, it can be pricy to park here. However, it is the closest parking lot so I typically wind up parking here anyways. Several of the parking lots in the nearby areas will only let you park for a certain amount of time and are not much cheaper. You can always visit the visitors center for a one-hour validation without having to purchase anything. Depending on how long you stay parking can range from $2-$15.
If you would like to take the metro it will bring you to the center. This is not my preferred or recommended mode of transportation but it does help avoid the parking costs.
Before you go I recommend following Hollywood & Highland on Instagram so you can be in the know about any special events that are happening. For example, I learned about an Oscars pop up experience that was being held in the courtyard of the center thanks to social media.
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Today is my super bowl. Happy Oscar Sunday! Look for the popcorn at the Westfield Century City today. #theoscars #theoscars2020 #theacademyawards #hollywoodandhighland #hollywood #gourmetpopcorn #wolfgangpuck #seela #discoverla #abc7eyewitness #sharesocal #cbsla #nbcla #visitla #ktla #foxla #lostinla #mydayinla #lamylove #welikela #timeoutla #lamagviews #eyeonla
Once You Arrive
I highly recommend stopping by the visitor’s center to get the VIP access booklet. This will give you discounts for some of the businesses in the area. You can get a free cake pop from Starbucks with your purchase, free bowling with lunch at Lucky Strike, and more! As far as what you do after that, there are so many options to choose from. Of course, you can spend time shopping, but in this post, I want to focus on the unique things that this place has to offer.
Summer Jazz Music Series
The Subaru Summer Jazz Nights at Hollywood & Highland features free live jazz concerts from talented artists. Every Tuesday night from July 10 through August 7, 2018, between 7 PM-9 PM in the main courtyard. A $14 donation to Project Angel Food will give you wine, beer, cheese & seating.
You Can See The Hollywood Sign
There are multiple levels of observation decks that provide nice views of the city and most importantly the Hollywood sign. If you would like to be closer to the sign there are other places I can recommend like visiting The Griffith Observatory, Lake Hollywood Park, or hiking to the top of the sign. However, this is a great way to see the sign while getting to check out so many other places on Hollywood Boulevard.
Walk of Fame
When you walk out of the center onto Hollywood Boulevard you will see the stars on the famous Walk of Fame. You will find Mary Kate and Ashley’s star on the sidewalk outside of the shopping center.
This area is the hub for movie premieres in Hollywood. Between The TCL Chinese Theatre, The Dolby Theatre, and El Capitan there is almost at least one premiere happening per week. That means there is a chance that you can see a star but if you want to try and attend the premieres I can help you out with that. Be sure to read my post on How to Meet/See Celebrities in LA for more information.
The Dolby Theatre
Hollywood & Highland is home to The Dolby Theatre. While the theatre does host a variety of events throughout the year it is best known as being the home of the Oscars. When the theatre is not closed off for special events it is possible to take a tour. The tour will let you stand on the stage and get to experience the venue in a completely different way. I also recommend seeing a Broadway show here or seeing the stars at PaleyFest in the Spring.
The Best Picture Walk
The grand staircase that leads to the Dolby Theatre is a great photo op. Plus, you’ll also be able to get a grew view of the line of Best Picture winners on the columns. This is the staircase that the celebrities walk up for the Oscars. The red tiles are supposed to look like a red carpet.
The TCL Chinese Theatre
The world-famous TCL Chinese Theatre has been an icon in Hollywood for decades. In the courtyard is where you’ll find the hand and footprints of stars both past and present. Seeing a movie inside the main theatre is something special. My suggestion is to try to see a movie in the Imax theatre and not the Chinese 6.
The lobby of the main theatre is filled with costumes from famous movies and the detail inside the theatre is ornate and beautiful. If you cannot watch a movie here, taking a tour is really interesting. Plus, occasionally they will have new hand & footprint ceremonies that fans can attend. Interested in taking a free tour or getting a free movie ticket? Check out my post on The Best Birthday Freebies in LA.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
It took me years to visit Madame Tussauds because I used to get freaked out by the idea of a wax museum. This is such a fun place to check out, especially if you love taking photos! It is much more interactive than I had imagined and is themed very well.
I highly recommend using Go City Los Angeles as a way to see several different places in LA. The pass will let you go to Madame Tussauds, take a tour of the TCL Chinese Theatre, or visit the Hollywood Museum which is a short walk from here. The pass lets you visit some great places in the LA area for one set price.
I will be honest and admit that I have yet to step foot inside the Loews hotel. Typically when I am in the area I have somewhere to be and don’t have enough time for exploring this place. It makes the list because it is right next to the Hollywood and Highland Center, and could be a great place for you to stay. Trip Advisor shows a rating of 4.5 out of 5 and it is really in a good location as far as being close to so many fun places to see. I am hoping to get to check out their rooftop pool one of these days.
Directly across from the shopping center is the beautiful Disney El Capitan Theatre. With the El Capitan Theatre Disney has created a magical experience for those of us who love movies and Disney. El Capitan is one of the grand movie palaces that was built in 1926 and is full of history. Disney took over the theatre in the 1980s and really goes the extra mile to add special touches to the movie-going experience. I cannot recommend coming here enough.
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Tickets for Jimmy Kimmel Live are free and open to the public. The tickets are given out through a website called 1iota. 1iota also has free tickets to the mini-concerts that Jimmy Kimmel hosts periodically in Hollywood. This is a fun experience for fans of the show. The building where Kimmel tapes is next to El Capitan.
A very close walk from the shopping center is the famous Roosevelt Hotel. This iconic spot was home to the very first Oscars and is still home to many movie premieres after parties. The hotel still has an old Hollywood vibe and is truly a beautiful place. Did you know that Marilyn Monroe lived here at one point in her life? If you’re looking for a unique nighttime experience I recommend checking out the spare room which is an upscale gaming lounge and cocktail lounge.
The Magic Castle
The legendary Magic Castle is located on Franklin Ave to the back of the Hollywood & Highland Center. What is the Magic Castle? It is a building dedicated to the magical arts and is truly a one-of-a-kind place. The Magic Castle is an exclusive establishment that is only open to members of The Academy of Magical Arts and their guests.
You can come in if you know someone who is a member or by staying at the Magic Castle Hotel and asking them to make a reservation for you. Non-members are required to eat dinner at the castle. This place is incredible but I don’t want to say more than that so it can all be a surprise.