Hollywood, CA can be quite a spectacle of a place, yet a bit daunting to figure out what to do without hopping onto one of those cheesy tour buses. I’m going to let you in on little secret about Hollywood: the very best things to do here are absolutely free. From appearing on a television show to finding fossils dating back to the ice age, I’ve got you covered with a breakdown of the very best of Tinsle Town.
Be part of a T.V. audience. Yes, tickets to being part of a television audience are absolutely free! On Camera Audiences is just one place where you can score free tickets. Even better, if you are getting tickets for a game show such as Let’s Make a Deal or The Price is Right, you might just end up driving home in a brand new car. (How fun are the costumes we wore recently on Let’s Make a Deal!)
Visit the La Brea Tarpits. The La Brea Tarpits consist of a lake pit that pushes up tar, along with very well-preserved ice age fossils. It’s hard to believe that the world’s most famous ice age excavation site is right in the heart of Los Angeles! It is free to walk around the tar pits and watch the bubbling pits spew up a mixture of tar and water. Although there is a small fee if you would like to go inside the museum itself , walking around the tar pits themselves is free. (Bonus: California teachers enter the museum for free.)
Star gaze at the Griffith Observatory. The Griffith Observatory is a free place where visitors can look through telescopes, check out exhibits, and enjoy panoramic views of Los Angeles and the infamous Hollywood sign. There are different activities and live shows depending on the time and day that you visit. Check out the schedule here.
Hike to the Hollywood Sign. One of the best places to hike to the back of the Hollywood Sign is from the Griffith Observatory parking lot. The Mt. Hollywood Trail has two starting points in Griffith Park, the shorter being the one that starts at the Observatory’s parking lot. (Tip: Be wary of Yelp, many of the other entrances to the sign are now closed off as of April 2017.)
Compare your handprints to the stars. Grauman’s Chinese Theater was built in 1927, and is perhaps to this day the most spectacular theater in history. The theater is built of artifacts, such as temple bells and pagodas, that were imported from China. Perhaps the most notorious attraction to the theater is the display of star-studded hand and footprints immortalized in the cement. Superstar names you will find here include Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, Shirley Temple… along with more recent celebrities such as Al Pacino, Tom Hanks, and the three young stars of the Harry Potter movies – complete with wand imprints.
Attend a Star Ceremony. Catch a celeb sighting as they are inducted into the infamous Hollywood Walk of Fame! The ceremonies are free to attend, no tickets required. Upcoming Star Ceremonies can be found here, on the Walk of Fame website.
Visit the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. A bit morbid, yet serene. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a historic site that serves as the final resting place to more stars and Hollywood hard-hitters than anywhere else in the world. The entrance is in the heart of Hollywood, on Santa Monica Blvd. Paramount Studios is now built on the back half of the original part of the cemetery. A map will be provided upon entrance so that you can visit resting stars such as Rudolph Valentino and Mickey Rooney. The cemetery is open until 5pm, 5:30 in the summer. If you want to get the whole authentic experience, and willing to venture outside of the “free-zone”, snag tickets to one of the classic outdoor Cinespa movies shown at night. It is such an LA thing to do, and magical to say the least.