I haven't been to Hollywood in a long time and certainly not down Hollywood Boulevard. Even if I went to the Hollywood Bowl I never bothered to venture down Hollywood Blvd. again. In my high school senior days and early college years we used to hit Hollywood Boulevard a lot but it began to look run down and seedy and there were too many weird people about which is why you may occasionally hear it referred to as Hollyweird.
Hollywood has been through some major changes since I last visited. It was really nice to see that it has gone through some major changes to bring it back to a representation of the Hollywood L.A. it is famous for. This picture and the one above is of the Hollywood and Highland entertainment and retail center multi-level complex opened in 2001 next to Grauman's Chinese Theatre. It contains over 60 shops, a dozen bowling lanes, 2 nightclubs, 26 restaurants and the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel fill the Hollywood and Highland Center but the most famous tenant is the 3,400 seat Kodak Theatre.
Disney has restored the famous El Capitan theatre built in 1926. I've seen many movies there and for some reason the one that stick sout is Mahogany with Diana Ross. The El Capitan theatre is now the host of many Disney animated movie premiers like Beauty and the Beast. Right next to the El Capital Theatre is the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store. It's located directly across the street from the Kodak Theatre.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre still looks the same though it now seems overshadowed by the Kodak Theatre and center right down the street. Still famous for the big movie premiers and tourist and locals alike still flock in front of the theatre looking for the hand and footprints of their favorite movie stars. In front of the theatre there are actors and actresses in costume - Marilyn Monroe, Chubacca from Star Wars, Captain Jack Sparrow, Catwoman, etc., ready to take pictures with you.
As you walk along Hollywood Boulevard it's not unusual that everyone has their head down reading the names in the red stars outlined with gold that decorate the sidewalks. The names of actors and actresses, directors and recording artists can be found here.
Last but not least I can't close this post without mentioning the Hollywood Bowl where for over 70 years it has been one of our locations for symphonies, opera, jazz, ballet, presidential addresses and rock concerts.
In addition to the things I've mentioned, other things to see are the Hollywood Wax Museum, the Hollywood Museum (located in the old Max Factor Building) and Ripley's Believe It Or Not. There are souvenir stores where you can buy dolls in the image of Gwen Stefani, John Lennon and Al Pacino as Scarface. Tour buses sit in wait of passengers and up and down the street are people selling maps to the movie stars' homes. The big red sign of the Virgin Record store looms over the street and there is a D.J. in each window.
Only in Hollywood can you get a real taste of Hollywood.