Essential Hollywood Landmarks for Los Angeles Tourists

Hollywood is perhaps the most famous area of Los Angeles. While its reputation as the center of Tinseltown is unchallenged, it has a lot more to offer for tourists. Hollywood is ethnically and culturally diverse, and it’s full of history. Tourists can grab a LAX rental car and spend a whole week just exploring this neighborhood.

Hollywood is overflowing with numerous attractions and landmarks that will excite any sightseer. Here are some of the most famous landmarks that are a must see for anyone visiting Hollywood:

The Hollywood Sign

The most recognized landmark in Los Angeles is the Hollywood sign. Originally conceived as an advertisement for local real estate development, the Hollywood sign become emblematic of Los Angeles’ bustling entertainment industry. This is quite the iconic landmark, with HOLLYWOOD spelled out in striking white letters. The entire sign is 350 feet long and each letter is an amazing 45 feet tall. Check out some of the most spectacular photographs taken of this iconic sign located in Griffith Park.

The Walk of Fame

While exploring fifteen bustling blocks of Hollywood Boulevard, you’ll discover more than 2,600 five pointed stars with the most famous names in Hollywood. Clark Gable, Katherine Hepburn, and Dr. Seuss are only a few of the charming and interesting celebrities featured on the Walk of Fame. You can spend the entire afternoon searching for your favorite stars and exploring Hollywood. If you’re lucky, you may even catch an upcoming Walk of Fame Star Ceremony.

Capital Records Building

A Hollywood tour wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Capital Records Building. This iconic thirteen-story tower was completed in 1956. It was  designed by Louis Naidorf to look more or less like a stack of records. If you thought you couldn’t get any more Hollywood than that, think again. Tthe blinking light atop the Capital Records Building spells out the word “Hollywood” in Morse code.

You can end your Walk of Fame tour at John Lennon’s star, located right outside of the building’s entrance. Capital Records produced albums from some of the most famous acts in music history, including The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, Duran Duran and many more.

The Stahl House

The Stahl House is a lesser known attraction, but it’s considered an iconic piece of Modernist architecture. In 2013, Stahl House was listed in The National Register of Historic Places since it has been used in several famous films like Corrina Corrina, Why do Fools Fall in Love, and Galaxy Quest.

In the 1950’s, Buck Stahl paid about $50,000 for the land, house, and pool. Today, this house is worth at least 2 million dollars.  Rumor has it that Stahl’s widow has turned down offers of 15 million dollars for the landmark. Before you book your LAX rental car, be sure to explore the Stahl House interior virtually. You will get the chance to experience what it’s like to live in one of the most iconic houses in Hollywood history. You can make reservations and pay a small fee with the Stahl family, and even get a tour with Buck Stahl’s wife, Carlotta.

Chinese Theater

Located on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard, the Chinese Theater opened in 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s film The King of Kings. It’s fun to watch a movie inside the theater, but the real action is outside on the sidewalk. You’ll find nearly 200 celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs embedded in the concrete. It’s a fun place to poke around, and a good place to enjoy a break from your long walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The theater is very crowded, so it pays to reserve tickets ahead of time if you want the full movie experience.

Take Your LAX Rental Car and Explore

Hollywood will probably be just one of many pit stops during your trip around Los Angeles. This city has a lot to offer for historic sites and landmarks. It’s fun and convenient to rent a car for daily driving while you’re in town. Value Rental Car makes it easy to rent a car for your vacation with two convenient locations at LAX Airport and in Pasadena.

Take a Long Walk On the Santa Monica Pier

On the shoreline of Southern California sits a jewel of the Los Angeles region — the city of Santa Monica. From shopping on Rodeo Drive to enjoying the sun in Venice Beach, the City of Santa Monica has many spectacular sights you won’t want to miss. Best of all, it’s just a short trip away with a car rental from LAX.

The Santa Monica Pier is right on the Pacific coast of the city. From funnel cakes to trapeze lessons, there are dozens of things to do and see at the Pier. The Santa Monica Pier is a great destination to drive your car rental to for shopping dining, fun, and spectacular views of the ocean. Here are a few of the attractions you can enjoy while visiting the Santa Monica Pier:

Fabulous Eats at Great Restaurants

You can sample some of the best cuisine in Santa Monica right at the pier. Enjoy classic hamburgers and fries at the Pier Burger. There is an old-style soda shop, with real ‘soda jerks’ where you can have a hand pumped soda or ice cream sundae. For fancier dining, you can sample fine Italian dining above the pier at the Ristorante Al Mare, or traditional Santa Monica seafood at The Albright. No matter what kind of food you desire, there’s somewhere on the Santa Monica Pier to satisfy your cravings.

Shop Till You Drop

Within a short car rental drive away of the Santa Monica Pier are several shops that you can check out to see some of the latest styles, fashions, accessories, shoes, and more! It’s easy to park your rental car and wander to familiar stores like Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas Shoes, and American Apparel. The Santa Monica Pier has lots of local flavor, too. The Oatman Rock Shop is a fun place for beachgoers, with a beautiful assortment of local sea shells, along with a gorgeous collection of crystal and jewels.

Take a Selfie At Palisades Park

On top of California Sandstone bluffs, Palisades Park is a beautiful oceanside park that offers breathtaking views of the ocean and beaches below. In addition to the beautiful views, the park boasts a wide variety of trees, flowers, and other native California plant life. At over 26 acres, the park extends over a mile north of the Santa Monica Pier.  This makes the park a great place not only for beautiful pictures, but for exercise buffs. The park provides a perfect place for walking, running, and biking. In fact, many fitness groups use the park to train for sporting events.

Take the Full Walking Tour of the Pier

If a lesson in history is your game, the Santa Monica Pier holds a fascinating story over its 100-year history. All you have to do to join in one of these tours is to head to the Pier shop on Saturday or Sunday at 11:00 AM or noon. The tour guides will take you though a free, three-hour tour of the Santa Monica Pier. It’s interesting to see how the pier has changed over the past 100 years.

A Hidden Gem: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Heal the Bay’s public marine education center is just underneath the historic carousel building. Children and adults alike can get a genuine hands-on experience with live sea creatures. There are hundreds of local species on exhibit to see and enjoy, as well as daily educational programs. The aquarium is a great way to enjoy and understand our vast seas and oceans, without getting your feet wet.

Leave Your Car Rental Behind and Hop on the Bus

If you’re tired of driving, it’s relaxing to park your rental car and take a ride with Starline Tours. Their iconic double decker buses offer trips all around Santa Monica and LA.  They also include tours of the homes of famous stars, the breathtaking beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu, movie studio tours, and more.

Take a Ride at the Pacific Park Amusement Park

Pacific Park is the only amusement park on the West Coast situated on a pier. The Pacific Park is home to the first solar-powered Ferris wheel, an icon of the Santa Monica pier. Besides the Ferris wheel, guests can take also a ride on any one of a dozen rides. Rides include a roller coaster, a 9-story sky tower, bumper cars, and more.  When you’re done, you can enjoy some of the many carnival games.

Grab a Rod and Reel and Catch a Winner

Whether you’re a novice fisherman or an expert reel master, the Santa Monica Pier is home to many fishermen vying for ‘the big catch’. At the local pier bait and tackle store, fishermen swap stories of the one that got away. Grab your rod and reel, buy some bait, and enjoy the pier while hoping for a big catch of your own.

See a Piece of History at the 66 to Cali Shop

At the traditional end of historic route 66 lies a tiny historical shop dedicated to the mother of all roads in the United States. Route 66 stretches From Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. At 2,400 miles in length, federal authorities decided to decommission the road in the late 1980s, but over 80% of the road still remains intact. The 66 to Cali shop is a 25 year traditional stop at the end of this historic highway. Take a picture at the scenic ‘end of highway 66’ sign, designed by the shop’s owner and Santa Monica native, Dan Rice.

Dance to the Early Morning at Rusty’s

There’s always a party at Rusty’s Surf Ranch. In addition to offering lunch and dinner fare, Rusty’s features live music every Friday and Saturday night. With a full bar, they have been serving up great live music and good times for more than 20 years. The bands vary from Doo Wop and classic rock to grunge, new wave, and indie rock.  That guarantees that every night at Rusty’s is a different and special experience.

LAX Car Rental Makes It Easy

The Santa Monica pier has something for everyone to enjoy. And since it’s just a short distance from most LA locations, getting there in your car rental is easy. Join the millions of people who have come from all across the world since 1909 to this iconic location. Value Rental Car offers affordable, short and long term car rentals that are perfect for seeing Santa Monica. Their Inglewood location is close to LAX, and they offer free pickup and dropoff service.

5 Great Los Angeles Art Galleries You’ll Love to Visit

Whether you are a car buff, window shopper, art gallery fanatic, or celebrity watcher, Los Angeles has plenty for everyone. Art appreciators will especially enjoy the spectacular galleries that Los Angeles has to offer. There are hundreds of galleries throughout Los Angeles that are an easy drive in a rental car. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 5 great galleries to check out when you’re in town.

LA County Museum of Art

Since its inception in 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has collected enormous amounts of artwork that anyone will enjoy. The museum is the largest of its kind in the western United States. You can find the museum on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles.  Within its vast walls are hundreds of thousands of modern and historical art objects to enjoy. Go early to make sure you have enough time to enjoy all the wonderful exhibits they have on display. Best of all, admission to the museum is inexpensive.

J. Paul Getty Museum

The Getty Museum is actually 2 separate locations. The main location is in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. It is a quick trip in a rental car if you’re near LAX. The secondary location is in the Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles. The secondary location features artwork and other exhibits from ancient Greece and Rome. They renovated the museum in 2006 when the main facility moved from the Pacific Palisades to its current location in Brentwood.

The main facility features collections of artwork that span from the Middle Ages to present times. There are over 1.3 million visitors from all over the world who make the trip to the Getty Museum to view the exhibits. They also have detailed information on their art exhibits available on their own “GettyGuide” network throughout the museum.  This network is also available online, before and after your trip.

Annenberg Space for Photography

The Annenberg Space for Photography is a great place those tourists looking for media-centric art. From anywhere in Los Angeles, the museum is a quick trip in a rental car. The museum features several exhibits dedicated to the art of photography. In addition, several highly rated photographers have lent their talents and skills to making the exhibits unique and wonderful. From traditional photo prints to the latest, state-of-the-art printing and digital technology available, the intimate location offers its own special view of the world of photography.

Adamm’s Stained Glass Gallery

If you’re looking for something unique and beautiful, a quick trip in your rental car to Santa Monica will bring you to Adamm’s Stained Glass Studio & Gallery. The gallery features exquisite art glass objects from over 175 of America’s top art glass creators. Curator Adamm Gritlefeld also has a stained glass studio and restoration center. Adamm’s works has been featured in countless businesses, churches, hotels, and restaurants throughout the world, including the White House. While it’s a shop, the selection is so varied and interesting, it feels like a museum. After your visit, it’s also fun to spend the afternoon and evening enjoying all the other attractions in Santa Monica.

La Luz de Jesus Gallery

The La Luz de Jesus Gallery is the place to go if you’re looking for a different kind of art. Located in Los Feliz, you and your rental car can easily make the drive to this unique destination. In fact. its owner, Art collector Billy Shire, sums up his gallery with the saying “Art should be by the people and for the people. It should be something that speaks to you, that entertains and challenges and changes your outlook.” The gallery has been the first to introduce to the public many then-unknown artists. These artists have gone on to claim their fame in the art world. With its unusual sculptures, narrative and figurative painting, and group exhibitions, it’s a great and interesting place to spend a long afternoon.

Getting Around Los Angeles

Every trip to Los Angeles should include a trip to at least one or two of these great art attractions. Value Rental Car makes it easy to get around Los Angeles. Their Inglewood location is close to LAX, and they have free pickup and dropoff service withing 7 miles. If you’re visiting the Pasadena area, look for the Value Rental Car location on E Colorado Blvd.

Photo courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

No Visit to Los Angeles Is Complete Without a Hollywood Studio Tour

Los Angeles is famous for its film and television industry. When you’re visiting, it’s easy to get up close and personal with landmarks in the entertainment industry. You can see everything from Hollywood’s Walk of Fame to the taping of your favorite sitcom while you’re town. No visit to Los Angeles is truly complete without a studio tour. Studio tours give you a behind-the-scenes look at how your favorite moves and TV shows are made. Los Angeles is really spread out, so it’s smart to take advantage of a car rental to get around. Here’s a list of the places that make Hollywood magic really happen!

Warner Brothers Hollywood

Get set to explore outdoor sets and soundstages in this exciting and interesting studio tour. It’s more than just a tour of movie sets. The tour is more like an educational look into the filmmaking process. Warner Brothers Studio is known for famous productions like Jurassic Park and Batman. They also showcase an amazing Batmobile collection. These include the  1995 Batman Forever and 1989’s Batman cars. If your tastes tend more to Harry Potter, you’ll l love exploring the production artwork to the original props and costumes used in the movies.

At the end of your tour, it’s fun to step into a replica of the Central Perk Cafe set from the hit TV show Friends. You can actually order a cup of coffee,  and lunch options are available Monday- Friday.

Sony Pictures

Sony Pictures is located in Culver City. It’s easy to get to from LAX with a rental car. It features a fascinating 2-hour-long studio tour that begins by entering through the studio’s iconic gates. Classic MGM movies like The Wizard of Oz were filmed there.  This piece of history is commemorated by a giant rainbow arch sculpture near its entrance. You can even visit the soundstage where Judy Garland recorded the famous song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

If you are a fan of game shows, you will be in for a treat! It’s fun to visit the set of Jeopardy, one of the longest-running quiz shows on TV. It’s a blast to take a picture of yourself in one of the contestant seats. If the timing’s right, you can also enjoy a taping of Wheel of Fortune.

If you are looking for a walking tour that incorporates a look inside a real working film studio, then this is the ideal tour to check out.

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures is next on our list. It’s one of the only big movie studios still located in Hollywood proper. A visit to Paramount will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Famous movies like Forest Gump and The Godfather were filmed on the Paramount lot. You can also see props from these movies and more in the prop warehouse.

It’s a big tour that covers a lot of ground. If you get tired from walking, don’t worry — you can ride in a golf cart for part of the tour to see the sights

After you visit Paramount Studios, stop by for a spooky walk inside Hollywood Forever Cemetery next door.  Many famous Hollywood actors and directors are laid to rest here.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Last but not least, Universal Studios Hollywood  is probably the best known of the studios because of its theme park. It also offers an impressive studio tour. Best of all, a theme park ticket includes the studio tour, so why not do both?

The tour will feel like another amusement park ride in itself after you become immersed in Universal’s world of special effects. You will experience everything from a 3-D King Kong and dinosaurs battle over your tour vehicle, to experiencing a mock earthquake and a car chase similar to the Fast and the Furious movie series.

Universal tours really isn’t an informative studio tour. It’s more of an immersion into a fun cinematic experience that takes place indoors and outdoors.

Car Rental Makes It Easy

Value Rental Car is great for exploring all that Hollywood has to offer. Their Inglewood location is near LAX, and they offer free pickup and dropoff services within seven miles. A car rental makes it easy to step into the movies with any of these studio tours.