Recently I had my 5 year anniversary of moving to Hollywood so what better time to write up a guide or list of recommendations for anyone who wants to explore my neighborhood? Sorry for the lack of photos, most of these places are dark and sexy so even if I posted photos from there you wouldn’t be able to see anything!
Where to stay in Hollywood
When I first visited LA to figure out if I could live here, my best friend and I stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel and I have loved it ever since. It’s been around forever and is supposed to be haunted, it’s dark and sexy, it has great restaurants and bars (see below), and it’s just cool, classic LA which means it also isn’t cheap. I also love the decorations at the holidays! They always do an amazing job.
What to do in Hollywood
Hollywood Walk of Fame/Grauman’s Chinese Theater/Hollywood Sign
Classic Hollywood landmarks that are all right next to each other by the Hollywood and Highland shopping center (which has a MAC, Sephora, and Kiko FYI). In the Hollywood and Highland Center if you go up a few floors there’s an overlook that was built for taking photos of the Hollywood sign in the background. Grauman’s is a really beautiful movie theater.
This hike is a classic in LA because it gives you a stunning overlook of the whole city. It’s really gorgeous at sunset and right after it has rained (that’s when the smog clears). This hike ain’t a joke though, wear your workout gear. It’s super dog friendly too and this is a great place to spot a celeb!
My absolute favorite concert venue! My first LA concert was Dolly Parton at the Hollywood Bowl and I’ve been loving it ever since. You can usually bring in your own food and wine!!
This place is truly unique and like no other. The magic you see here will blow your mind and there’s a super fancy dress code making it that much more of an “event”. Magic Castle is a members-only club for magicians that has nightly shows going on simultaneously all over the castle with performers from all over the world. You must be a member or a guest of a member to join in on the fun, but if you’re dying to go I would try finding LA magicians through social media and asking them if they can get you in. Here’s more about how to get in and the club rules. Magic Castle is a block north of Hollywood Blvd/Graumans Chinese Theater/the Roosevelt Hotel.
Gorgeous theater that hosts all the best shows. Check the website to see what shows are coming to the Pantages. I saw The Book of Mormon here and it was amazing. Hamilton is coming Aug-Dec 2017!
Upright Citizens Brigade
Love coming here for shows it’s $5 or $10, you will laugh your face off, and you’ll probably even see someone you recognize performing. Best bang for your buck for sure. There are two locations in Hollywood- UCB LA Franklin is the OG and has more bars and restaurants around to walk to afterwards, but the UCB LA Sunset location is the newer, prettier theater. I’ve seen excellent shows at both.
Sunday night Jazz at the W Hollywood
Elegant and classy with a good chance of a celeb sighting. Sundays from 9pm-12am and Jazz starts at 10pm. Check out the W Hotel website for more info. The W is across the street from the Pantages Theater.
El Capitan Theater
There is just no other movie theater like this one. They generally have Disney movies which they create unique pre-shows for that include ice sculpting before Frozen or Cirque De Soleil type dancers on silks and an intro by Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers before Inside Out. If you’re in town when a great Disney movie is in theater go here to check it out. Check the El Capitan schedule here.
Where to eat in Hollywood
This might be the restaurant I’ve eaten at the most in LA. This is a 24hr diner that serves incredible burgers and amazing sweet potato fries. The food is extra good so the prices are a tiny bit higher, but not crazy especially for a restaurant that’s inside of the Roosevelt Hotel.
Ah such a classic. Be prepared to wait in line because there’s never not a line. I order a double double with lettuce and spread only, fries, a chocolate milk shake, and an extra side of spread for my fries and then lie in a coma on my couch for the next 3 hours.
Fancy schmancy ($$$$) one of the best restaurants in all of LA. This is a super upscale fine dining place that you’ll want to make a reservation for. There is amazing seafood with unique presentations (they served me something on a damn chunk of coral reef!!).
Fancy schmancy pizza spot that’s upscale, but you can definitely dress casually here. I love the Bianco Dinapoli Pomodoro Mozzerella di Bufala which is a $21 personal cheese pizza, but it’s pretty incredible. Try to make it for the bar special if you can it’s an amazing deal. The butterscotch budino dessert is a can’t miss. Also look at the menu before you come here because I know food and there’s an item in basically every dish on their menu that I have no clue what it is.
Really amazing and trendy sushi chain with incredible fresh and delicious fish. I recommend getting the “Trust Me” or “The Nozawa” tasting menus. They do not take reservations so you have to show up and hope for the best!
Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles
A classic! Great for a hungover brunch. No fancy pretense at this place just some good ol southern home cooking.
The Griddle Cafe
Always has a super long wait and doesn’t take reservations, but if you’re in the mood for enormous red velvet pancakes and inevitable diabetes that comes with such meals, go to The Griddle Cafe.
Hint: it’s pronounced pahh-chay. This hidden gem is actually in the Hollywood Hills and you’re going to want to make a reservation. It has a really cozy, homey feeling, but the prices are a little steep (with good reason! They serve local and organic and absolutely delicious food). The salmon is insanely good and so is the chocolate lava cake.
I’ve had a birthday dinner here so you know I love it. It’s a few doors down from the Upright Citizens Brigade so I like to hit this place either before or after a show. This is a dark and sexy French restaurant with amazing food and is a great late-night bites and cocktails place. Get the truffle brussels leaves!
This is a new spot in the Hollywood and Highland shopping center very close to Sephora so if you’re in the mood for something sweet get a churro plunged into a cup of vanilla soft serve YUM.
Where to drink in Hollywood/Where to go out in Hollywood
This bar is located inside of the Roosevelt Hotel and is my favorite. The bar usually looks like a garden overflowing with fruits, vegetables, and herbs because they make all custom cocktails. Tell the bartender what you like and they will whip something super unique up for you. The drinks are about $18 so this is not the place to order a jack and coke. I usually ask for something with vodka, citrus, and a little spicy.
This place is really cool which means it can sometimes get douchey. Get here right when it opens and experience the surprise entrance (don’t look it up it’s more fun to be surprised!), the great cocktails, and stay for the entertainment later in the night like tight-rope walking and burlesque dancing. If you come later expect to wait in a line. Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is by the same owners and is 70’s themed and comes with the same recommendation: arrive early.
Ah my local neighborhood bar. The Woods is located in a strip-mall, but once you open the door you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a ski lodge. This place is very casual and usually has seating and doesn’t get too loud making it a great neighborhood spot. Divey, but not dirty.
This is a new speakeasy that is sort of across the street from the Woods and is in the same plaza as a Burger King (glamorous!) You walk through a video store and then an “Adults Only” video store to enter and it’s dark and cool. There is pool here and dancing later in the night. I’ve never had any problems getting in here, but I always try to show up on the earlier side.
This cool bar has almost Disney level commitment (and Disney price point) to it’s old-timey theme. The cocktails are good and the vibe is weird. Enjoy.
Now that I’m 30 I try to avoid da club like da plague, but if you must then I recommend Warwick (hopefully the kids are still going there). This is an upscale lounge, but they don’t treat you like a complete leper at the door which I appreciate.
Yes it’s cheesy and touristy, but there’s lots of great things to see, do, and eat in Hollywood! Check out my post on Where to Buy Makeup in LA.