3/2/19 I am updating this post, but it’s incredible how most of the originals are still my all-time favorites and go-to’s when I have guests in town or give recommendations!
I’ve added mostly photos, but a few great newer places to check out – Rubies + Diamonds, Tocaya Organica, The Highlight Room, TAO, Blackwood Coffee Bar, Lono, Division 3, Afters Ice Cream, and Pace Joint. There’s also a few OG’s I can’t believe I didn’t include the first time – Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream which has been a Hollywood Staple for about 40 years! And Tiago which was my go-to breakfast place when I lived in Hollywood. I’ve also included a few gyms to burn off the calories after you eat and drink at these incredible places.
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
The Roosevelt Hotel
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
Hiking at Runyon Canyon
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!
Hollywood Walk of Fame/Grauman’s Chinese Theater/Hollywood Sign/Hollywood & Highland Center
These are a few classic Hollywood landmarks that are all right next to each other by the Hollywood and Highland shopping center (which has a MAC & Sephora 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.
Yamashiro Night Market
This night time Farmer’s market is the perfect way to enjoy great cocktails, awesome affordable food, and watch a beautiful sunset over all of Los Angeles.
It’s only open in the late spring through summer (typically late April through early September), but it’s one of my favorite activities!
You can walk from Hollywood Blvd up to Yamashiro, but it’s so steep that I highly recommend taking an Uber or Lyft (use code LINDSAY163488 for $10 off your first ride). After hanging out I actually do like walking down the hill back to Hollywood to burn off a few of the calories. Since this is at a higher elevation it gets very chilly so bring a jacket! And order the tuna with crispy rice it’s my favorite!
Where to see a show in Hollywood
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!! If you can get tickets to a live performance of a Disney movie they are my absolute favorite things in the universe!! The Hollywood Bowl is seasonal and has almost all of it’s shows during the summer.
Hollywood Bowl Tips: Bring a jacket, pack a blanket if possible (I do for every show it is like 15 degrees cooler here than anywhere else in Hollywood), and bring $1 bills to buy seat cushions.
I buy most of my tickets for The Hollywood Bowl and The Pantages Theater at an amazing discount on Goldstar.com . I’ve been buying tickets on there for years and highly recommend it. There are literally no bad seats in either of those venues. Since you have to buy the tickets together I always just buy 2 and figure out who is coming with me afterwards because they sell out fast!!
Shows at The Hollywood Bowl are special because they almost always have an extremely famous surprise guest performer. The best ones I’ve seen were Stevie Wonder during Janelle Monae and John Stamos as the chef in The Little Mermaid.
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. 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”.
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 Aladdin and both were incredible!
Upright Citizens Brigade Improv and Stand-Up Comedy Shows
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.
ArcLight Hollywood Movie Theater
Another movie theater? Well this is Hollywood baby! And if you want to see the movies like the celebs do then go to ArcLight Hollywood. You may even see a celeb in the seat next to you. Don’t forget to order the caramel corn it was on Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate!
Where to Eat in Hollywood
Where to Get Coffee in Hollywood
Rubies + Diamonds Coffee Shop
The Coconut Sea Salt Cold Brew is the best coffee drink in LA if you’re into something sweet with lots of calories that’s totally worth it. Plus this place is pink, has a giant chandelier, and is great for the gram. This drink is worth the $$.
Where to Get Breakfast in Hollywood
Tiago Coffee Bar + Kitchen
This cafe was in walking distance of my old apartment in Hollywood and was my go-to spot for an amazing breakfast, brunch or lunch. It also has lots of seating so it’s a great place to get some work done.
I love the breakfast sandwich and the ricotta pancakes at Tiago. Sometimes when I’m feeling extra I order both just for me.
Blackwood Coffee Bar
Blackwood Coffee Bar is a newer fave this cafe has a great instagram aesthetic and the food is fantastic. It’s a great place to take Instagram photos as well. You may remember the photo below from my How to Cover Dark Undereye Circles blog post.
If you’re looking for a biscuit breakfast sandwich that will cure a hangover and really hit the spot then Division 3 is the place to go.
Where to Get Brunch in Hollywood
Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles
Roscoe’s is a classic! Great for a hungover brunch. No fancy pretense at this place just some good ol’ Southern home cooking.
The Griddle Cafe
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 then get in line and enjoy!
The Highlight Room
The Highlight Room is on the rooftop of The Dream Hotel and gives gorgeous views of Hollywood.
This is a popular and trendy nightlife location as well, but I’ve only been for brunch which was a very chill vibe.
The French toast was to die for at The Highlight Room!
During the summer they have big pool parties both during the day and at night at The Highlight Room.
24 Hour Diner in Hollywood
Ok so this isn’t an average “Diner” it’s more of a restaurant, but it’s a great place to get food literally any time of day.
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.
Casual Restaurants in Hollywood
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.
This fast-casual Mexi-Cali restaurant chain is like a very fancy Chipotle with margaritas. It’s great for lunch or dinner and they have vegan options. It can be relatively affordable, but if you order a few things your lunch will be $30 before you know it.
Dinner and a Party in Hollywood
These are restaurants that are vibes where you can come for a cocktail, a full sit down meal, or later at night for a lounge/party.
This tiki bar has an amazing aesthetic, delicious cocktails, and interesting food. My friend and I seriously had to ask why it the food was still moving lol (spoiler alert: it was furikake and was not alive). It also has a back area that’s more of a lounge and place to party.
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. Ask for the truffle brussels sprouts leaves!
This mega restaurant has locations in NYC and Vegas and is a scene with some really good food! This is a great place for a late night cocktail and sushi after seeing a show at the Pantages.
Fancy Dinners/Special Occasion Restaurants in Hollywood
I went to a lot of these places on dates before I was brave enough to take photos for the blog while on dates lol.
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!
Pace and Pace Joint
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, and romantic. 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.
Pace Joint is a more casual iteration with the same menu. They have a beautiful garden patio where I celebrated my 31st birthday (see more at Blushing in Hollywood Turns Three!).
Dessert in Hollywood
Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream
This is a Hollywood staple that has been around forever. It’s actually in the same shopping plaza as The Woods. They have all the great flavors you know and love (my fave is peanut butter cup) plus Persian treats with rosewater, saffron and ginger.
Afters Ice Cream
Want to eat a donut ice cream sandwich? Yeah, who wouldn’t!? While getting fruity pebbles may have been more aesthetically pleasing, my churro ice cream and after’s flakes in a glazed milky bun was absolutely delicious.
When I needed a cupcake or 4 I’d always hit up Confection Co-Op.
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.
Sunset and Vinyl
This is a speakeasy that you walk through a pizza restaurant (800 degrees) to get to. There’s 0 pretension, it’s small and low key, the cocktails are great, and they have a record player with amazing music. This is an awesome place when you don’t want a scene, but want to be out.
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.
Best Workouts in Hollywood/Best Gyms in Hollywood
Set and Flow Yoga
This yoga studio is one of my all time favorites. It might actually be the place I’ve taken the most classes at period. My favorite was hot yoga on Tuesday nights with the owner in a class called Seth and Flow.
Love For Pilates
Aww the place where I learned how the heck to use a pilates reformer. I went to the Hollywood location until they opened up the gorgeous West Hollywood location, but you can get a fantastic workout at either!
Best Beauty Salons in Hollywood
Aruna Threading Salon
I got most beauty treatments in West Hollywood, but Aruna Threading Salon (which has locations both in Hollywood and WeHo) is worth going back to Hollywood for! I get my eyebrows threaded and tinted there. The prices are awesome and the service is great. I highly recommend it!
More LA Travel Guides and Recommendations
Yes Hollywood can be cheesy and touristy, but there’s lots of great things to see, do, and eat in Hollywood! Check out my posts on: