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Museums, Theaters, Architecture in Los Angeles

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Hollywood Walk of Fame
The world’s most famous sidewalk boasts 2,500 stars and counting! When you’re in Tinseltown, posing with a sidewalk star along the Hollywood Walk of Fame is practically a rite of passage—and it’s also one of the city’s most beloved free attractions. Honoring luminaries in motion pictures, television, radio, live theatre, and recording since 1960, the famous sidewalk includes both sides of Hollywood Boulevard from Gower to La Brea, plus both sides of Vine Street from Yucca to Sunset. The handsome terrazzo-and-brass stars (each costs about $30,000 to install and maintain) are unveiled at free public ceremonies, which are often attended by honorees and their celebrity entourages—a great way to see stars if that’s one of your Hollywood goals (and isn’t it everyone’s?). And don’t think this is about honoring has-beens or where-are-they-nows: Getting a star is still considered an honor, with an impressive roster of recent honorees (Javier Bardem, Viola Davis, James Franco, Kevin Spacey, to name a few). Want to find a particular star? Use the Walk of Fame’s online Star Search tool to send you to the location for your dream photo op.
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Grauman Chinese Theatre
One of the world's most iconic cinemas, the TCL Chinese Theatre opened as Grauman's Chinese Theatre on May 18, 1927, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings. Thousands of people lined Hollywood Boulevard for the theatre’s grand opening. The theatre opened to the public the following day, on May 19. The Hollywood landmark has hosted many movie premieres since then, as well as three Academy Award ceremonies and numerous events. The TCL Chinese Theatre boasts the single largest IMAX auditorium in the world, and the third largest commercial movie screen in North America. The theatre welcomes more than four million visitors from around the world every year. Besides its Chinese design, the theatre’s most distinct feature is the famous Forecourt of the Stars, with nearly 200 celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs immortalized in the concrete. Visitors can literally touch Hollywood history, from Marilyn Monroe to Tom Hanks, Betty Grable’s legs, Jimmy Durante’s nose, and the magic wands of Harry Potter’s heroic trio. While the origin stories vary, the theatre's official account in its books and souvenir programs credits actress Norma Talmadge for inspiring the tradition when she accidentally stepped into wet concrete. Sid Grauman himself claimed in a radio interview that he came up with the idea when he stepped in soft concrete - his autograph and handprint, dated 1927, remain today.
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Autry Museum of the American West
Gone are the glory days of the Wild West, but you can still get in on the action at the Autry Museum of the American West. Just across from the entrance to the L.A. Zoo in Griffith Park, you’ll find this 3,345 sqm complex with over 500,000 works of art and artifacts from the American frontier. Co-founded by musical western star Gene Autry in 1988, it’s natural that the museum would dedicate space to cool Western film memorabilia, from the pistols used by Steve McQueen to costumes from 2005’s Brokeback Mountain. There’s even a replica movie set of an Old Western town with storefronts. (Little-known fact: The first-ever feature-length movie filmed in Hollywood was a Western—the 1914 silent film The Squaw Man, directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The camera used to film it is here, too.) A bronze statue of “the singing cowboy” Autry greets you at the entrance, but the museum covers much more than just Hollywood gunslingers—you’ll learn all about the real Old West, too. You’ll find engraved golden pistols given to Annie Oakley by her husband Frank Butler. There’s an extensive saddle display, a mail stage coach from 1855, Smith & Wesson revolvers, pioneer portraits, cowboy hats, buckskin jackets—even a saloon with a mahogany bar and roulette wheel.
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Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory is a Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos! Since opening in 1935, Griffith Observatory has been a world leader in public astronomy, an icon of Los Angeles, a beloved civic gathering place, and one of southern California’s most popular attractions. Visitors can look through a telescope, see a live show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, explore the exhibits, and enjoy the spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign. In addition, its iconic façade has been featured in more than 300 films and television shows. The Observatory is a Los Angeles landmark and worldwide tourist destination for over a million visitors a year.
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California Science Center
he California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. The Science Center is open to the public seven days a week, 362 days per year, with free general admission to its permanent exhibit galleries. The facility, which opened in February 1998, spans more than 400,000 sq. feet and includes four major exhibit areas. World of Life probes the commonalities of the living world, from the single-celled bacterium to the 100-trillion-celled human being; Creative World examines the ways people employ technology to meet their needs for transportation, communication and structures; and Ecosystems, a major expansion opened in March of 2010, features an unprecedented blend of nearly 400 species of live plants and animals, and hands-on exhibits in 11 immersive environments. Ecosystems highlights include a 188,000 gallon kelp tank populated with live kelp, fish, and other marine life, a desert flash flood, and a special gallery dedicated to the urban ecology of Los Angeles. The Ecosystems experience empowers explorers with the science knowledge to become better stewards of the environment.
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Hollywood Sign
Looking for a picture-perfect view of the Sign? For many visitors to Los Angeles, there is no more coveted photo than a shot of the world famous Sign. Though it is visible from all over the city from its lofty perch on Mt. Lee, it can actually be surprisingly difficult to get a well-angled shot. Stunning views of the Hollywood Sign unfold at your own pace on hiking trails that meander through the rolling chaparral of the Santa Monica Mountains. Trails originally blazed by paws, hooves, and yucca-thatched moccasins now connect us to cultural as well as natural wonders. The western frontier of Griffith Park offers hikers amazingly close encounters with the Sign, which is off-limits to human hands, just below the ridgeline at the 1,708-foot summit of Mt. Lee. On the longest hike, you can ascend above and behind the Sign’s 45-foot-tall aluminum letters, where you look out over a windswept vista encompassing the DOOWYLLOH sign, the dreamy towers of downtown Los Angeles, and, on a clear day, the ageless blue Pacific.
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Bradbury Building
The Bradbury Building is the oldest commercial building remaining in the central city and one of Los Angeles’ unique treasures and make this one of downtown's most photographed icons. Built in 1893, this building’s light-filled Victorian count rises 50 feet with open-cage elevators, marble stairs and ornate iron railings. In the true spirit of Los Angeles, it has been featured in many movies, from DOA to Blade Runner.
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The Sunset Strip
There may be no greater concentration anywhere of the young, hip and beautiful than in the bars and clubs of this infamous stretch of road. The 2.6-kilometre strip of Sunset Boulevard is situated in the lively city of West Hollywood and upholds that lively city's reputation as a nightlife hotspot. From the heights of swanky hotel rooftops like the Mondrian’s SkyBar and the Tower Bar at Sunset Tower Hotel, to the glam-grunge of rock clubs like The Viper Room and Whisky a Go Go, there’s a setting to suit your style and mood. In addition to venues that showcase artists ranging from indie singer/songwriters to major-label headliners, there are iconic comedy clubs such as The Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store. Or head to The Roxy—where Rocky Horror Picture Show premiered in 1974—for live music in an intimate, 500-capacity venue. Sunset Strip isn’t just rock and roll. Spend the afternoon shopping at Sunset Plaza, which contains more than 20 stores, including Armani Exchange and H&M. Book lovers, don’t miss the iconic Book Soup, LA’s largest independent bookshop, with floor-to-ceiling shelves that contain more than 60,000 titles, many of which are limited edition.
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Van Nuys Airport
Van Nuys Airport (VNY) has all the elements of a blockbuster film—action, adventure, war, world records, movie stars, mystery, and suspense. It’s the story of success, defeat, and reinvention—the ultimate "little engine that could" —and yet it can be considered one of the largest "hidden gems" in Los Angeles because there is so much to learn and experience—and much of it is free.
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Ahmanson Theatre
For over 50 years the Ahmanson Theatre has presented a wide variety of dramas, musicals, comedies and classic revivals. A unique, state-of-the-art reconfiguration proves a variable seating capacity from 1,600 to 2,000. It currently enjoys the largest theatrical season ticket base on the West Coast in a year-round season from early fall through late summer.
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Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Today LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection of over 135,000 objects that illuminate 6,000 years of art history from new and unexpected points of view. A museum of international stature as well as a vital cultural center for Southern California, LACMA shares its vast collection with the Greater Los Angeles County and beyond through exhibitions, public programs, and research facilities that attract over 1.5 million visitors annually, in addition to serving millions more through community partnerships, school outreach programs, and creative digital initiatives.
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Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
At the Natural History Museum discover your world past and present. Encounter dinosaurs, experience nature, explore our dioramas, marvel at one of the most impressive gem and mineral collections in the world, and learn how L.A. went from tiny pueblo to sprawling metropolis in our Becoming Los Angeles exhibit. Seasonally, take stroll through our Butterfly and Spider Pavilions, or check out one of our upcoming special exhibitions.
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Grammy Museum at L.A. Live
Music is power. And at the GRAMMY Museum you can experience that power first-hand through four floors of exciting interactive exhibits in vibrant downtown Los Angeles. On the fourth floor our touch-screen Crossroads table allows you to explore over 160 genres of music. On the third floor, you can pretend you’re a rock star in our Roland Live corner. And on the second floor you’ll find our latest special exhibit, along with our Clive Davis Theater, where both Taylor Swift and Ringo Starr have performed, plus many others.
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Japanese Garden Suiho-En
Authentic 6.5-acre Japanese Garden created by Dr. Koichi Kawana to provide beauty, relaxation, inspiration and a better understanding of Japanese culture using reclaimed water.
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Grand Central Art Center
Grand Central Art Center is located on a promenade on Broadway and 2nd Street in the heart of downtown Santa Ana. The center is easily accessible through both the Interstate-5 Broadway and Main Street exits.
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The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum
The House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as a California Historic Point of Interest, and as a landmark building on the City of Santa Ana's Historic Register.
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