I’m from Los Angeles. My mom is from Los Angeles. My family came to the area long enough ago that one of my most prized possessions is a tiny black-and-white picture of Santa Monica Beach, snapped by my great-grandmother in 1939 or thereabouts. Yet, as many times as I’ve been to Hollywood, I never walked the entire Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Here’s how to do it.
Decide whether you want to start with the eastern or western end of the Walk. If you’re taking mass transit or a rideshare, it doesn’t matter. From personal experience, if you’re driving, I’ve found it much easier to find parking at the eastern end. (There is a paid parking lot at the east end, right next to the Henry Fonda Theatre, but prepare to shell out $20 or so.)
Pick the right day. On weekends and holidays, you can park on the street without having to think about feeding a meter. However, there will be more tourists (especially if it’s a holiday).
Prepare for a long walk (over 3 miles) in hot, sunny Hollywood. That means sensible shoes, sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
Don’t worry about looking like a tourist. You will automatically look like one just by doing the Walk, but it’s okay – you’re surrounded by tourists anyway.
When you’re heading north on Vine Street, stop at the base of the Capitol Records building and look up. Seeing the building from street level (especially if, like me, you are only used to seeing it from the 101) is very trippy.
Do take a break at the Chinese Theatre. If you’re a perpetual kid with tiny feet (and I certainly am), try to stand in the stars’ footprints. (I did it when I was little. I did it this time. And I’ll do it again.) This is also an easy place to buy bottled water from a vendor if you forgot to bring a bottle with you.
Keep your wits about you as you approach Hollywood & Highland – it’s loud, crowded, and can be chaotic. I’ve entered the H&H complex exactly once, and once was enough!
If you’re doing the Walk with a friend, see if they can correctly identify the Four Ladies of Hollywood, on view at the Walk’s western end. Unless they were raised on old movies, they’ll probably be stumped. (The Four Ladies are Mae West, Dorothy Dandridge, Anna May Wong, and Dolores del Rio. The sculpture, designed by director/production designer Catherine Hardwicke, has a lot of detractors, but at least it’s inclusive. Four leading ladies – one Caucasian, one African American, one Chinese American, and one Mexican crossover star – all play an equal role in holding up the sculpture’s canopy.)
Don’t forget that the Walk includes not just Hollywood Boulevard, but a few blocks of Vine Street and a little spur on Whitsett as well.
Do remember to look up! There are a lot of (mostly horrifying/hideous) construction/redevelopment projects going on in Hollywood these days, but there are still quite a few beautiful Art Deco buildings to be admired.
If you’re still wondering, my route was as follows: park near the Henry Fonda Theatre, walk west on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard, turn north onto Vine, walk for one block, cross Vine, walk south back to Hollywood Boulevard, continue heading west, cross Hollywood Boulevard at La Brea, walk the little spur on Whitsett, head east on the south side of Hollywood Boulevard, turn south onto Vine, walk for two blocks, cross Vine, walk north back to Hollywood Boulevard, end at the Henry Fonda Theater.
Have fun and stay hydrated!