Your Destination Guide to Los Angeles

Destination Guide LA - Your Destination Guide to Los Angeles, CA

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© Sean Russell

First incorporated as a municipal district of the greater Los Angeles area in 1903, Hollywood is situated a few miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles and extends into the Hollywood Hills. Its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of American cinema has made it a household name to many around the world who know it as the home of the world's most famous movie stars and movie studios.

Since the early days of cinema and show business, Hollywood has become infamous for a glittering and dazzling superficiality, earning itself the nick-name "Tinseltown." By 1915, Hollywood was the home of the four major studios: Paramount, Warner Brothers, RKO, and Columbia. Today, however, much of the movie industry has dispersed into surrounding areas such as Burbank and the Westside, with only a few scattered production, editing, effects, and lighting companies, as well as the back lot of Paramount Pictures, still in Hollywood.

Many of Hollywood's historic theaters are used as venues and concert stages to premiere major theatrical releases. The Kodak Theatre, which opened in 2001 where the Hollywood Hotel (Hollywood's first hotel) once stood, has become the new home of the Oscars. Another major theatre is the Grauman's Chinese Theatre which first opened in 1927; this is the same year that movie idols began leaving their hand and footprints outside the building. Today, there are over 200 prints including those of John Wayne, George Clooney, Shirley Temple, and Jimmy Stewart.

Along Hollywood Boulevard is the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame: 18 blocks of large metal stars embedded in the sidewalk that honor Hollywood's finest stars of the past and present. North of Hollywood Boulevard off Vine Street is the famous Capitol Records' headquarters, housing offices and recording studios for some the biggest past and present artists in the music industry.

Among the most famous areas of Hollywood is the mile and a half stretch of Sunset Boulevard known affectionately as the "Sunset Strip" with some of the most cutting-edge and world-class restaurants, boutiques, rock clubs, and nightclubs in the entertainment industry. Located in the western portion of the Sunset Strip in Hollywood Hills are the luxurious and private mansions of some of the biggest name celebrities, including Cameron Diaz, Leonardo Dicaprio, Sandra Bullock, and Michael Buble.

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