Six of the best things to do in Hollywood, Los Angeles

1. RUNYON CANYON PARK

This spectacular 65-hectare  park, one of Hollywood's best-kept tourism secrets, is beloved by local joggers, walkers and dog owners - including chilling-out celebrities.  Lace up your joggers, enter via Fuller Avenue (off Hollywood Boulevard) and follow the main track up the hill towards the northern entrance at Mulholland Drive. 

There are several water stops along the route, which provides  great views of the Hollywood sign, the fabulous houses clinging to the Hollywood Hills and a spectacular panorama of Downtown LA.  The views are particularly good if you manage to reach Indian Rock, the highest point of the park and said to be a campsite of the local indigenous tribe. There are scores of other trails. See runyoncanyonhike.com

2. JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!

Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Photo: AP

James Christian Kimmel, host of the Oscars in 2017 and 2018, has delivered his late-night chat show on America's ABC network since 2003. The show hasn't, however, been broadcast live since 2004 when the censor button couldn't keep up with the swearing of actor Tom Jane. Since then, Kimmel's guests have included everyone from Barack Obama to Jennifer Aniston, Hugh Jackman to Paul McCartney.

The show is now pre-recorded each afternoon at the former Masonic Hall, accessed via El Capitan Theatre. You'll spot the queues on Hollywood Boulevard. For free tickets, see jkltickets.com Remember to print your tickets and  be in the queue at least 30 minutes before filming is due to start.

3. HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME

Los-Angeles, california, USA, 24.05.2014 - Hollywood Blvd - walk of fame
 SatSep8six best - SIX OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN HOLLYWOOD- Steve Meacham
Credit: Shutterstock

Hollywood Boulevard. Photo: Shutterstock

Daniel Craig, Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, Pink and Michael Buble will be appearing along Hollywood Boulevard at some point in the next 12 months to celebrate the five-pointed terrazzo-and-brass stars that will honour their achievements in the US entertainment industry. Their stars will join those of more than 2600 celebrities already ensconced in the pavement.

Each new inductee has paid $US30,000 for the privilege (Julia Roberts and Dustin Hoffman are among those who refused). Once immortalised, the stars are never removed - no matter what scandals may ensue, which is why Fatty Arbuckle and Kevin Spacey are still there. 

Gene Autry, known as the singing cowboy, is the only  person who has been awarded a star in each of the five categories: film, TV, radio, live performance and music. See walkoffame.com

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4. HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel pool, historic hotel located in the Hollywood area, Los Angles, California. USA. October 2017
 SatSep8six best - SIX OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN HOLLYWOOD- Steve Meacham
Credit: Shutterstock

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Photo: Shutterstock

As the neon sign above it still indicates, the Hotel Roosevelt opened in 1927. It was also the venue for the first Academy Awards, on May 16, 1929. Back then, the audience of 270 paid $US5 a ticket to watch the ceremony, hosted by Douglas Fairbanks Senior, the first president of the academy. 

 The Roosevelt has since played host to countless Oscars after-parties and celebrity guests. Marilyn Monroe lived in a poolside cabana for two years when she first arrived in Hollywood and the penthouse is named after the then King and Queen of Hollywood, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.

Walk into the huge Spanish-American lobby and enjoy the ambience.  If you visit in the evening, head upstairs to The Spare Room, a prohibition-style bar with a two-lane bowling alley used by many a star. See thehollywoodroosevelt.com

5. THE CHINESE THEATRE

Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood at night
 SatSep8six best - SIX OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN HOLLYWOOD- Steve Meacham
Credit: Shutterstock

Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Photo: Shutterstock

Most people still know this as Grauman's Chinese Theatre,  however the Chinese electronics giant TCL purchased naming rights in 2013, recasting  the venue into the largest IMAX screen in the US but still retaining its heritage. 

The Chinese Theatre is most famous for its gaudy, incongruous facade and the handprints of the famous, including Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell,  immortalised in concrete in the forecourt. 

 You'll gain more intimate insights and experience a slice of cinema history if you take a tour. The film that premiered here was Cecil B DeMille's King of Kings, which was hugely controversial at the time because it was  the first movie depiction of Christ. See tclchinesetheatres.com

6. HOLLYWOOD SIGN

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 29, 2016: The Hollywood sign overlooking Los Angeles. The iconic sign was originally created in 1923.
 SatSep8six best - SIX OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN HOLLYWOOD- Steve Meacham
Credit: Shutterstock

Los Angeles from behind the Hollywood sign. Photo: Shutterstock

Just nine letters of the alphabet, with a terrible typeface and wonky spacing - yet it has become symbolic of artistic freedom and an eternal dare to dream.  It's a bit disappointing to discover the original sign, which said Hollywoodland, was erected in 1923 as a real estate slogan to advertise cheap property for sale to the north of the city. 

The poles that held the giant letters were hauled up Mount Lee by mules and the sign was only meant to last 18 months.  That it survives today is due to one man: the late Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine,  who championed its restoration in 1978.

It's now  against the law to approach the sign - there have been so many spoof versions: remember HOLLYWeeD, when California legalised recreational marijuana in 2016? - but you can still hike to the sign, with fabulous views. See hollywoodsign.org

Steve Meacham was a guest of Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

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