Whether you’re a tourist looking to see the sights of Hollywood, or like me, a seasoned Southern Californian who’s always a bit too busy to find time to see the sights from a tourist’s perspective, Starline Tours is the way to go.
Starline Tours offers many tours to choose from. For today’s adventure, we opted for the Hop-on, Hop-Off Double Decker Fun Tour of Hollywood on the open-air bus. This particular tour stops at 17 different locations where you can hop off at any time and see the sights and catch the next bus 40 minutes later. A great way to see the city’s amazing hot spots without wondering where to go and how you’re going to get there.
We checked in at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Our day was already starting off with delight as we were mesmerized by all of the stars’ hand/foot prints and autographs left in the cement. There seemed to be hundreds of them. It was most definitely the place to be. There were loads of people everywhere, many getting their photos taken with look-a-like celebrities. Very fun!
We boarded our big red bus and headed to the top level with our jackets and scarves in tow on this beautiful Southern California day. My kiddos were excited to see Hollywood! As we headed down Hollywood Blvd., we were met with a friendly automated tour guide informing us of all kinds of tidbits about what we were seeing and passing along the way. We heard interesting facts about restaurants, discovered where different movies were filmed, and learned lots about celebrities and architectural heritage. We saw John Wayne’s statue on Wilshire Blvd., drove down the famous Melrose Ave., saw the huge White House look-alike where they’ve filmed many movies, drove past the famous Viper Room, House of Blues Sunset Strip, and Nickelodeon Studios. We even saw the spot where Brad Pitt once donned a chicken suit in front of El Pollo Loco on Sunset Blvd. while he was still a struggling actor trying to make it.
With stops along Sunset Blvd., you can visit Guitar Center and the “Rockwalk”, where you can tour the museum and check out your favorite rock star’s memorabilia and handprints, or stop in at the famous Comedy Store for a show. You can also hop off at the London Hotel and the Whisky A Go-Go, the famous nightclub that’s been around since 1958.
If your sweet tooth gets the best of you, you can hop off on Santa Monica Blvd. at Millions of Milkshakes, the happening spot where you may just catch a glimpse of your favorite celebrity while enjoying some of their famous celebrity-created milkshakes, like the “Miley (Cyrus) Shake” with cookie dough and Reese’s Cups, or maybe the “Kardashian Shake” with Snickers topped with whipped cream. Yum!
You can also stop at the beautiful Four Season’s Hotel in Beverly Hills or hop off at the Beverly Center for some shopping on Beverly Blvd. If we had slated more time for our day, we would’ve opted to tour the La Brea Tar Pits or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). I’ve heard fabulous things about both places and I know for sure that my kids would enjoy the world famous tar pits with all of the history and fossils.
We were tempted to get off at the Original Farmers Market and The Grove, but we were kind of shopped out and were starving, so we opted to stay on until our long awaited next stop at Pink’s! We were so ready to try the famous hot dog stand that we’d seen on TV. It was delicious and well worth the wait. They really do snap when you bite into them!
If I had planned correctly, I would’ve made a reservation to tour Paramount Studios. Apparently you need one if you want to take a tour. It sounds like fun and we will definitely make a reservation next time we’re out that way.
If you want to visit some old time celebrities, or at least see where they’re buried, you can hop off at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and pay your respects to the likes of Jayne Mansfield or Rudolph Valentino. You can also check out the famous Pantages Theatre on Hollywood Blvd., and all of the heritage that it has to offer. If your appetite is moving along, you may want to hop off at the last stop at Jane’s House on Hollywood Blvd., a place known for celebrity clientele. Who knows, you may get lucky and have dinner with a star.
We decided to hop off at the Pantages stop so that we could take advantage of walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame back to the Chinese Theatre. We enjoyed seeing all of the various celebrity Stars along the way, The Hollywood Wax Museum, Madame Tussauds Hollywood, and the colorful people and liveliness of Hollywood Blvd. It was an adventure!
Word to the wise: when parking, you may want to search for a spot on the street somewhere as opposed to the underground parking structures. After 5 hours in Hollywood, we ended up paying $20 to park. Ugh. Other than the parking fees, fun was had by all!
The main Starline Tour terminal is located at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. For more information, call 323-463-3333 or 800-959-3131, visit StarlineTours.com, and find them at Facebook.com/starlinetours.