There’s a lot to see and do when you visit Los Angeles. Greater Los Angeles covers a big area, and you can find everything from sandy, sunlit beaches to quiet mountain hiking trails. Millions of people visit Los Angeles every year, from every corner of the world. Unlike many popular travel destinations, Los Angeles has more than one or two vacation attractions to tempt a traveler. The economy isn’t a one-trick pony, either. The Los Angeles area is a hotbed of commerce, too. You’ll find everything from manufacturing to e-commerce startups. However, if there’s one thing Los Angeles is known for, it’s the entertainment industry. If seeing a celebrity is the first thing on your mind when you leave the LAX car rental counter, you’re in luck. You’d be surprised how often people spot their favorite celebrities out and about in L.A.
You’ll be disappointed if you expect movie stars to be standing on every corner in Hollywood, however. People who work in the movie, TV, and recording industry value their privacy. In order to lead any kind of normal life, they have to put up barriers between themselves and their fans. As the crush of paparazzi and autograph hounds has increased, so have the steps celebrities take to avoid unwanted attention.
Don’t worry. If you have your heart set on seeing one of your favorite stars while you’re in Los Angeles, you can still do it. You simply have to know where to look. Here’s our list of 9 Surefire Strategies To See a Celebrity While You’re in Los Angeles:
Visit the Chinese Theater
The Chinese Theater changes its name every so often, but it’s still the number one destination in Hollywood for film fans. It was originally called Grauman’s Chinese Theatre due to its elaborate, Oriental design motif. In the 1970s, it was renamed Mann’s Chinese Theatre, and since 2013 it’s been called the TCL Chinese Theatre. Naming rights aside, the movie theater is still as exotic and fun as it ever was. The interior is very opulent by today’s strip-mall movie theater standards. The real fun happens just outside.
The sidewalk outside the Chinese Theater is filled with the impressions of the shoes and hands of dozens of famous celebrities, with more being added all the time. It’s fun take a selfie standing in the same spot as your favorite actor or actress. Even if you never rub elbows with a celebrity at the LAX car rental counter or the Ralph’s supermarket parking lot, it’s still fun to stand in the same place they once stood.
While the handprint-footprint ceremony doesn’t happen very often, but it’s a blast to see one. The ceremonies don’t get held very often, but if you see one announced, get there early for the best views. Regular folks don’t get much of a view of the imprint process itself because of the crush of celebrities and press. You’ll get to see dozens of notable people arriving and departing. Installation ceremonies are reserved for the biggest stars, often during the premieres of their newest movies, which leads to another great way to see celebrities:
Hollywood is still the heart of the movie business. Although movies are made all over the world, Los Angeles is the favorite place to hold movie premieres. That presents a great opportunity to see the biggest stars walk the red carpet into famous movie houses.
One of the best things about movie premieres is that they’re designed to attract the maximum number of fans. The producers of movies desperately want you to pay attention, and they do everything they can to attract big crowds. Movie houses like the TCL Chinese Theatre post upcoming movie premieres right on their website. It’s next to impossible to get tickets to attend the biggest openings, but you’ll be able to hang outside and watch all your favorite stars come and go. Movie stars understand that publicity is important, and they attend the premieres of their own movies as well as the openings of movies made by their colleagues.
Walk of Fame Ceremonies
The handprints and footprints outside of the Chinese Theatre started the craze for commemorating big stars, but the Walk of Fame has taken over as the biggest collection of movie, TV, and music stars in the world. Famous entertainers get pink terrazzo stars embedded into the sidewalks all along Hollywood Boulevard, as well as on nearby Vine Street all the way to Sunset Boulevard. Some celebrities get more than one star, depending on their contributions to different kinds of entertainment.
It’s fun to simply wander around Hollywood and discover the stars for your favorite entertainers as you walk. If you want to be more organized, you can use the search box on the Walk of Fame website to find the address of your favorites before heading out. If you prefer live celebrities to sidewalk icons, just check the list of upcoming ceremonies. It’s always free to attend a Walk of Fame ceremony. It’s fun to see celebrities and their families bask in the glow of their new sidewalk stars. Movie and TV actors have a tendency to be less aloof at Walk of Fame ceremonies than other occasions. It’s common to get a handshake or a selfie if you play your cards right.
Academy Awards Cheap Seats
If you’re not in the movie industry, you have no chance to sit inside at the Academy Awards. Just because you can’t get in doesn’t mean you can’t attend. Hollywood stars love to walk the famous red carpet at the Oscars, and you can watch them do it from bleacher seats. The awards ceremony is in late February or early March, but you’ll have to plan a lot farther ahead to get a seat outside the auditorium. You can visit the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website to sign up for coveted bleacher seats.
If your taste in entertainment tends more towards sitcoms, Los Angeles is the place for you. Los Angeles is a hotbed of comedy clubs and other intimate venues. It’s very common for comedians who got their start in the standup world to return to the clubs that got them their first break to tell a few jokes. It’s not likely that you’ll see top names on the billboard outside, however. Most appearances by household word stars are unannounced.
You’ll have the best chance to see a star if you visit one of the premier comedy clubs. You can find a list of some of the best comedy clubs in Los Angeles here on the Value Rental Car Travel Guide blog. Insider’s hint: Many stars choose off nights to perform, so don’t be afraid to try a Monday night instead of a Saturday show.
LAX Car Rental Dropoff Area
If you’re flying into LAX, you’re already at ground zero for celebrity sightings. Many movie and TV stars live in the Los Angeles area. Others live elsewhere, but still fly in for business meetings, award shows, and interviews. While some celebrities shun the terminal and stick to private gates and flights, many others walk through LAX like any other passenger. Los Angeles natives are more low-key about seeing celebrities in public than visitors are. A polite wave or a smile is the best way to acknowledge your favorite performers if you see them in their natural habitat near the LAX terminal dropoff and pickup door. Say something pleasant, and you might even get a selfie with your fave. Check out all these showbiz movers and shakers making their way through the LAX terminal.
It’s fun to see celebrities at the supermarket or a restaurant, but it’s not that common anymore. Why not watch them work? Plenty of TV shows are recorded in Los Angeles every day, and it’s not that hard to get a ticket to a taping if you look around. If you’ve never been in a studio audience before, you’re in for a treat. The actors usually address the audience directly before the show, and you’d be surprised how informal the productions can be.
If you don’t mind standing around a little, you can watch a location shoot of a movie or TV show. Newcomers to the entertainment world might be surprised at the slow pace of filming, but if you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of movies and TV shows, location shoots can’t be beat. Of course you might spend more time looking at the outside of the star actor’s trailer than the actor. You can rest assured that sooner or later they’ll show up, however, which is more than you can say for public functions. Check online for websites that list filming locations in real time to schedule a day trip.
Many actors get tired of only performing their craft to a camera lens and a bunch of stagehands. Even the biggest celluloid stars try to get in front of a live audience whenever they can, for the love of acting as much as the paycheck. Sometimes the easiest way to see a big star up close is to attend a live stage performance. Luckily, the Los Angeles area has many fine playhouses that stage a wide variety of shows. Nearby areas like Pasadena also have highly-regarded venues for live performances, like the Pasadena Playhouse. If music is more your bag, don’t forget the Hollywood Bowl, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Remember, it’s Los Angeles, so the audience might have as many stars as the stage on any given night!