Insights & Stories

Glitz and Glamour in LA: Your Tinseltown Travel Guide

Reading time: 10 Minutes

June 7th, 2022

Hollywood sign Hollywood sign

As one of the nearest cities on the mainland U.S. to Hawaii, we've all probably visited Los Angeles—especially since we can fly there direct with Hawaiian Airlines®. But out of all the adventures you could have, an entertainment themed one is especially unique to Los Angeles. For many, L.A. is synonymous with Hollywood and, after more than a year spent indoors with many of us glued to our TVs and devices, why not explore the city that produced some of our favorite movies and shows?

Here's your movie and TV themed guide for things to do in Los Angeles, from going behind-the-scenes on film studio backlots to visiting the L.A. hotspots where celebs spend their time when they're not on camera.

Go behind-the-scenes on a film studio tour

Los Angeles is home to some of the biggest entertainment studios in the world, where blockbuster movies and hit TV shows are filmed every day. A few of these studios offer tours of their sound stages and backlots for visitors to explore film sets, learn about the movie production process, and possibly spot actors coming or going from a shoot.

  • Universal Studios Hollywood offers the most interactive experience with more or less an entire movie theme park; explore The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTMKrustyland from The Simpsons™, and Jurassic World, each with rides, costumed characters and themed dining options. The Universal Studios Tour itself takes visitors across four acres of movie magic, from the plane crash scene in War of the Worlds to the watery setting of Jaws to Psycho's Bates Motel. The easiest way to see it all is to buy a one-day pass for $109 to $134, depending on the day of the week.
  • Paramount Pictures is the longest operating studio in Hollywood; they offer a guided cart tour through the studio's prop warehouse and filming locations, including the sets for NCIS: Los AngelesThe BlacklistThis Is Us and others; and a VIP tour that goes behind-the-scenes at the studio's archives and production facilities, plus complimentary lunch, parking, and souvenir photo.
  • Sony Pictures Studios took over the lot that used to be MGM and the studio offers a 2-hour walking tour through the sound stages where movies such as Spider-ManMen in Black and The Wizard of Oz were filmed. Explore the Barbra Streisand Scoring Stage, the set of the ABC comedy The Goldbergs and the RV used in Breaking Bad.
  • Warner Bros. offers a studio tour through their many soundstages, where visitors can explore Central Perk and the fountain from Friends, Sheldon's apartment from The Big Bang Theory and Gilmore Girls' Stars Hollow, Connecticut—plus special exhibitions celebrating the world of Harry Potter, superheroes and supervillains from DC Comics and the process that occurs when studios take a story from script to screen.

Attend a TV show taping

Whether you're a fan of daytime game shows or nighttime talk shows, you can attend live studio tapings of popular TV programs in Los Angeles.

Sony Pictures in Culver City hosts audiences for Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Go online to request up to four tickets online for Jeopardy!; parties of four or more can call 818-772-6788 between 10 am to 6 pm HST, Monday to Friday. Wheel of Fortune tickets are available online a few days in advance of taping and you can request up to four tickets online for individuals over the age of 8. Larger groups are also welcome, but you'll need to call 818-772-6788 to secure a date and time. Either way, you'll need to call 818-773-3465 to confirm your attendance up to a week before your scheduled taping date.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tapes at the El Capitan Entertainment Centre right on Hollywood Boulevard. You can request tickets online if you describe your favorite moment from the show's history; be aware that the taping itself can take up to 3.5 hours, including check-in, getting seated and audience warm-ups. Jimmy Kimmel Live! requests that audience members avoid wearing red, black, or white, as well as any clothing (shirts, shorts, hats, and so on) with logos; guests may be denied entry if they fail to abide by the dress code.

Visit famous L.A. movie landmarks

Even if you've never visited Los Angeles before, you're probably more familiar with the City of Angels than you think. It is one of the biggest filming locations in the world; hundreds of movies have been shot all over Los Angeles for close to a century. Step into nearly any popular hotel, bar, or public space and you're bound to recognize it; some of Los Angeles' most notable film locations include:

  • The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, built in 1923 as the most opulent and luxurious hotel west of Chicago, has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's VertigoBeverly Hills CopCruel IntentionsIndependence Dayand True Lies. The hotel's ballrooms alone have appeared in Fight ClubGhostbustersPretty in PinkRocky III and The Sting, among many others.
  • Los Angeles Union Station is L.A.'s main railway station and the biggest railroad passenger terminal on the West Coast. Its unique Mission Revival-meets-Art Deco architecture has helped it double as everything from a courthouse in The Dark Knight Rises to a police station in 1982's Blade Runner to a stand-in for the fictional Miami Mutual Bank in Catch Me If You Can. (It's also, well, a train station in The Italian Job and Pearl Harbor.) Along with taking in it's unique architecture, the Station also hosts a rotating collection of events, performances, and art exhibits.
  • The Bradbury Building in downtown Los Angeles is the city's oldest landmarked building. Its nearly 50-foot high central atrium, open cage elevators, and wrought iron accents have attracted many films, especially neo-noir crime flicks, such as Double IndemnityChinatownBlade Runner and Lethal Weapon 4.
  • Griffith Park Observatory, this free observatory overlooking Los Angeles, offers a wide range of ways to see the stars, from exhibits, telescopes and live shows to movies like Charlie's Angels: Full ThrottleTransformersYes Man, 2013's Gangster Squadand 2016's La La Land.

Mingle with celebrities at popular local hotspots

Contrary to the glitz and glamour that tour guides and hotel brochures might promise, celebrities in Los Angeles won't be spotted strolling down Hollywood Boulevard or waving at you from their homes while you're on a sightseeing bus tour. If anything, your chances of running into a celebrity are better if you're out and about in Los Angeles and enjoying normal activities, such as having lunch or dinner, enjoying drinks, going on a hike (or even just picking up coffee at Starbucks). Here are some good places to start:

  • Musso and Frank's Grill has been a popular Hollywood hangout for over a century. Today, you might find George Clooney stopping in for a drink (just as he did on-screen in 2001's Ocean's Eleven) or Brad Pitt (as he did in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) as well as Harrison Ford, Johnny Depp, Keith Richards and others. But decades ago, you might have also encountered the likes of Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, or Marilyn Monroe. (Legend has it that silent film star Charlie Chaplin would race his colleagues on horseback to the restaurant for lunch, and the loser would pick up the tab.)
  • Runyon Canyon is a 160-acre park at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains that boasts both paved paths and rugged trails, plus a tennis court and dog-friendly areas. But what this patch of greenery in the middle of Los Angeles has become known for in recent years are the celebrities who live nearby in the Hollywood Hills and frequent the park. Channing Tatum, Justin Bieber, Natalie Portman, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore have all been hiking, jogging, or walking their dogs on Runyon Canyon. Keep an eye out (as well as a respective distance) and you might spot a celeb here.
  • The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is a Los Angeles landmark. It's the oldest continually operating hotel in Los Angeles, where the first Academy Awards dinner was held in 1929 and where Marilyn Monroe lived for two years in the late '40s before she became a film star. In the modern era, the Roosevelt continues to draw celebrities; Beyonce, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake and others have been spotted in the lobby's Library Bar, unwinding at the Tropicana Pool & Cafe, or partying at Teddy's, the hotel's nightclub.

Want to check out one of these incredible hotspots next time you visit LA? There's no need to wait! Your everyday purchases can help you earn HawaiianMiles® faster than ever. With the Hawaiian Airlines® Bank of Hawaii World Elite Mastercard® or the Bankoh Hawaiian Airlines® Visa® Debit Card, every purchase earns you HawaiianMiles—which never expire. Let's make that dream trip a reality even sooner!


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