Old Hollywood Is Alive at These 10 Places

Old Hollywood meets new dance music at All Day I Dream.EXPAND
Old Hollywood meets new dance music at All Day I Dream.

There are those who seem to constantly bemoan the loss of Hollywood. Sometimes that's in the figurative sense. They'll say that the mystique surrounding the classic stars has long since given way to crass, reality-show personalities. Often, that's in the literal sense too. Every time an old establishment closes and a new hip thing replaces it, we enter another round of collective mourning.

Yet, as the city evolves and re-evolves, the spirit of Old Hollywood peeks out of grimy, tourist-crowded corners and rises from recently renovated buildings. The reminders are plenty, from the bungalows on residential streets to the Hollywood High School mural, which features just a few of the school's famous alumni. Below is a list of 10 spots to get you started on an Old Hollywood journey. 

The Theater at Ace Hotel was once a United Artists venue.
The Theater at Ace Hotel was once a United Artists venue.
Liz Ohanesian

1. Broadway Historic Theatre and Commercial District

It's not Hollywood, but the Broadway Historic Theatre and Commercial District was a part of L.A.'s film history. Home to the city's original movie palaces, the neighborhood boasts more historic theaters on one street than  any other city in the country. Step into a venue like the Orpheum or Los Angeles Theater and you'll feel as if you've traveled back in time as you stare at decor too ornate, too luxurious to be part of the modern movie-watching experience. Now, you're more likely to head to this newly refurbished neighborhood for a concert than a film. Want to check out the buildings during daylight hours? L.A. Conservancy has regularly scheduled tours for $10. While you're here, don't forget to check out local movie star the Bradbury Building. Broadway, between Second and Olympic, downtown. bringingbackbroadway.com.

Hollywood Museum is housed inside the old Max Factor building.
Hollywood Museum is housed inside the old Max Factor building.
Liz Ohanesian

2. The Hollywood Museum

In 2013, L.A. Weekly named the Hollywood Museum "Best Touristy Thing in Hollywood." If you still haven't checked it out, you should. The collection of Hollywood odds and ends fills up the old Max Factor building, itself a thing of beauty, on Highland at the Hollywood intersection. There's a wonderful randomness to the collection; the top two floors feature a mishmash of costumes and fancy clothes, with old and new Hollywood butted up against each other. Some of the displays are genius. There's a tribute to Roddy McDowall's bathroom. I honestly never expected to be so fascinated by a pink toilet, but the late actor's parties were, apparently, off the hook and chances are, that bathroom could tell a lot of stories. The first floor is the most interesting, as it ties together the history of movie make-up king Max Factor and the beauties of the big and small screens. There's also an extensive collection of ephemera from noted "autograph hound" Joe Ackerman that's fascinating. 1660 N. Highland, Hollywood. (323) 464-7776, thehollywoodmuseum.com.

If you love movies, you will find lots to read at Larry Edmunds Bookshop.
If you love movies, you will find lots to read at Larry Edmunds Bookshop.
Liz Ohanesian

3. Larry Edmunds Bookshop

I'm going to assume you're reading this list because you have an interest in movies and their stars. If that's the case, then you must go to Larry Edmunds Bookshop. It's crammed with new and used books and periodicals pertaining to the subject. There are biographies galore here — who knew so much had been written on Katharine Hepburn? — as well as histories of genres like the mighty B-movie. This shop sells a lot of related memorabilia as well, but the book collection is enough to keep you in the store, flipping through pages, until you get kicked out. 6644 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood. (323) 463-3273, larryedmunds.com.

Musso & Frank Grill is classic Hollywood dining.
Musso & Frank Grill is classic Hollywood dining.
Liz Ohanesian

4. Musso & Frank Grill

When it comes to Old Hollywood dining, Musso & Frank Grill should be at the top of your list. It opened in 1919 and the restaurant's website documents its status as perennial hangout for movers and shakers, from screen stars to authors. (Oh, to have been able to chill with Raymond Chandler and Kurt Vonnegut.) Even today, you might people-watch from your seat, noticing the older gentleman in the casual blazer and thinking, "Yeah, he's probably a big deal." Musso & Frank Grill remains decidedly old-school with dim lights, waiters in red jackets and coat racks attached to the booths. It's the kind of restaurant where you'll want to show up in a Lucy Ricardo–style Don Loper outfit. 6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 467-7788, mussoandfrank.com.

Watch classic films in an old movie palace setting at the Egyptian.
Watch classic films in an old movie palace setting at the Egyptian.
Liz Ohanesian

5. Egyptian Theatre

There are a few old-school cinemas in Hollywood, but the Egyptian is the one that's worth your time. Founded in 1922, the movie palace retains its over-the-top charm, but retro appeal can only go so far. Aside from being a large and comfortable theater, it's a well-programmed one. If you really want to go Old Hollywood, you can do it here, as classic films are a regular part of the calendar. Mixed in are new indies, late-20th-century blockbusters, film festivals and other special screening events. Once a month, the Egyptian offers a tour of the venue for $7-$9. 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 461-2020, americancinemathequecalendar.com/egyptian_theatre_events.


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