Los Angeles. Home to sun, surf and stars. Looking to do a little star-gazing and get a taste of the magic of the movies and wanting to take my daughters, Paris and Vanessa, on a Hollywood tour I settled on the Rockin’ Hollywood Tour.
Riding in an open top bus, the tour goes through Hollywood, past celebrity homes and haunts, and along the famous (infamous?) streets: Rodeo Drive, Muholland Drive and the Sunset Strip, combining humor, real estate, and Hollywood trivia and anecdotes.
The 2-hour tour passes dozens of sites, including well-known landmarks such as the Jim Henson Company lot (the former home of Charlie Chaplin Studios), the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Playboy Mansion. Driving through residential areas, the guide also pointed out the past and present homes of celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Christina Aguilera, and Michael Jackson, which delighted Paris and Vanessa immensely, as did seeing the highrise apartment building where starlet Selena Gomez of Disney fame recently purchased a condo.
Some of the highlights were the Walk of Fame trivia and the Hollywood sign and views from Mulholland Drive, which on a clear day offers incredible views of San Fernando Valley, LA/Hollywood and the surrounding beach areas.
I am a native Angeleno currently living abroad, and while a visit to celebrity residences might not normally be impressive, it proved to be more fun than I expected, especially since my children enjoyed it so much. After the tour, we went down the Walk of Fame, as my daughters excitedly identified the stars of celebrities that they knew.
We also went to the venerable Grauman’s Chinese Theater to gaze at the famous hand and footprints forever imprinted in the cement. This didn’t hold Paris and Vanessa’s attention for very long, as they didn’t recognize too many of the stars represented there, but being fans of “The Wizard of Oz”, seeing the imprints of Judy Garland did elicit an excited “cool!” from them.
Street performers abound, many of who are worth your attention and spare change. It is Hollywood after all. Someone is always waiting to be discovered.
The Rockin’ Hollywood Tour and Walk of Fame is tourist cheesiness indeed, but was a surprisingly fun way to while away a few hours. If you’re in Los Angeles, give it a whirl.