A neighborhood trumpeted by 50-foot-high letters and one of the most iconic locations in America, Hollywood is literally all about show. Film industry landmarks crowd Hollywood Boulevard, and world-class music venues line the Sunset Strip, one of Los Angeles' premier nightlife districts. Also close to Universal Studios and filled with some of the city's best restaurants and bars, Hollywood is, for many visitors, synonymous with Los Angeles.
The film industry looms large here, with the touristy Walk of Fame playing a starring role. Also along Hollywood Boulevard is the home of the Oscars, the Kodak Theatre, and Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, El Capitan, and the Chinese Theatre. Musso & Frank Grill, at 6667 Hollywood Boulevard, claims to be the oldest restaurant in Hollywood and was a favorite of Orson Welles.
The separate municipality of West Hollywood (as opposed to Hollywood, which is a section of Los Angeles proper), and in particular its main drag, Sunset Boulevard, is a bit edgier than the tourist-friendly neighborhood to its east. Now much more polished than it was in the early 1990s -- when River Phoenix overdosed at The Viper Room and Hugh Grant was arrested off Sunset for lewd conduct -- the area still has a rock 'n' roll vibe. Some of the city's most famous music clubs are on Sunset, like Whisky A Go-Go and the Roxy, and so are celebrity-magnet hotels like Chateau Marmont and the Sunset Marquis.
Farther south, Melrose Avenue has terrific shopping, most notably at Fred Segal. The Pacific Design Center is a garish monument to interior decorating, and the Museum of Contemporary Art has a small outpost nearby. Santa Monica Boulevard, a strip-mall lined commercial thoroughfare, connects Hollywood to L.A.'s beaches about 30 minutes to the west.
Hollywood has a high concentration of excellent hotels. From the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt and Sunset Tower to newer, sleeker, and sometimes mellower properties like the Mondrian, the Standard Hollywood, the London, and the Magic Castle Hotel, interesting hotels are the norm. Luxury properties are less abundant than in Beverly Hills, but Hollywood provides surprising value for one of America's best-known tourist destinations.