Hollywood tends to be a place of broken dreams – the studios are to the north in Burbank, while the big theatres have big crowds and forlorn "entertainers" in Spider-Man costumes outside. But it is also getting a new lease of cool with new museums, restaurants and bars, many of which aren't in the immediately obvious spots on Hollywood Boulevard.
The Museum of Broken Relationships is an extremely welcome addition to Hollywood Boulevard's otherwise rather crass offering. The concept is delightfully simple: people from around the world donate items that remind them of a relationship that died, and tell the story behind the item. This can be teddies, dresses, old letters – whatever. And the stories lurch from angry to funny to tragic. See brokenships.la
Forget Hollywood Boulevard for dining – a far more interesting scene is on Cahuenga Boulevard. The Running Goose is a fine choice here, with a massive outdoor deck, its own herb garden and a good craft beer list. Dishes err towards Central American, and the braised short rib with chipotle adobo and plantain dumplings is especially good for $US18. See runninggoose.weebly.com
It is tacky as hell, but wandering along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, looking at the names on the stars in weirdly compelling. This is partly because of the seemingly random order they've been laid down in, giving strange bedfellows such as Fleetwood Mac next to Jack Palance, or Larry King next to Fats Domino. Or, best of all, Sting next to Donald Duck.
The Hollywood Hills rise up just to the north of Hollywood Boulevard, and the famous Hollywood sign can be found among them. The best sweaty hike to take on, however, is Runyon Canyon. This is where people go jogging and power walking with ridiculously tiny dogs, and providing the haze isn't too bad, the views are ample reward for puffing and panting up to the top.
Mama Shelter goes aggressively for the youth vote, and pulls it off magnificently. The bar, restaurant and rooftop have become local hangouts, while the rooms have a tangible sense of fun that nods to the surroundings. So you might get scripts for The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction as in-room reading material, along with the Apple TVs and Darth Vader masks over the bedside lights. Rooms cost from $US189. See mamashelter.com/en
The best places for a drink are also down Cahuenga Boulevard. Particularly enjoyable is the southern pastiche cocktail joint Sassafras Saloon, which deserves all manner of awards for interior design – not least because its centrepiece is a house transported brick-by-brick from Savannah, Georgia. Live bands play and potent sazeracs are served up. See sassafrashollywood.com
David Whitley was a guest of Accor Hotels
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