Many a tourist descends upon Los Angeles to have a brush with the stardust of Hollywood. Glimpsing celebrities, catching a film opening, finding your favorite actor's name on the Walk of Fame...it's all part of Tinseltown's allure. But hardcore film lovers know there's much more to see and do than simply get swept up in the spectacle of starlets and soirées. Those who are interested in cinematic history will find numerous ways to probe more deeply into the city's celluloid past and present. Historic movie palaces hark back to the glamorous Golden Age. Film studios welcome visitors onto their working production lots for tours. Local cemeteries offer an opportunity to encounter film greats in their final resting place. Libraries archive artifacts from film's earliest moments to the present. And local theaters host sensational awards ceremonies that honor the industry's most outstanding creative minds. Here are five unique ways to get "reel"!
Hollywood & Highland Center
This shopping and entertainment complex houses two must-visit venues for film buffs. You can catch a flick in the TCL Chinese Theatre—a historic movie palace whose forecourt houses handprints of the stars. Or, take a tour of the Dolby Theatre, where the Academy Awards are held, and glimpse a real Oscar statuette!
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Many of Tinseltown's most famous dearly departed souls have been laid to rest at this cemetery. Pay your respects at the gravesites of such film greats as Cecil B. DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, and Rudolph Valentino. During the summer and fall, pack a picnic for outdoor film screenings amid the tombstones.
Hollywood's first movie premiere took place at this magnificent movie palace in 1922. After a restoration of its Ancient Egypt-inspired interiors, it became home to the American Cinemateque, which screens documentaries, indie films, and classic film-festival fare. Catch a movie or soak up history on one of the monthly tours.
Margaret Herrick Library
This library, maintained by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is a treasure trove of film history. You can peruse everything from scripts of classic films to historic movie posters to wardrobe test shots of stars like Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe. Too bad nothing can be checked out!
Warner Brothers Studios
Take a gander behind the scenes of real movie and TV production at this working studio. You'll get to see the sets, backlot streets, and craft shops from current and historic productions. Don't miss the Warner Bros. Museum, which exhibits props and costumes from famous WB films and TV series.