Visiting Hollywood is a lot like meeting a famous movie star in person: It's smaller, older, much less attractive and far more obnoxious that you had imagined. The word "Hollywood" is synonymous with glamour, stardom and the celebrity-soaked movie industry, whereas the real Hollywood is just a seedy neighborhood in the middle of Los Angeles populated by celebrity impersonators, double-decker tour buses and wax museums. Oh, and a Frederick's of Hollywood lingerie museum.
As everyone trying to sell tickets to their walking tour will tell you, Hollywood used to be the epicenter of moviemaking in the first half of the 20th century, when most major studios built their lots and soundstages in the vicinity of the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine. Some landmarks still exist from that golden age, including the Roosevelt Hotel and Grauman's Chinese Theatre, which both opened their doors in 1927 [source: Chinese Theatres]. But most tourists crowd the sidewalk along the 2-mile (3.2 kilometer) stretch of Hollywood Blvd. for one thing and one thing only: the Walk of Fame.
Is there a more underwhelming tourist attraction in the world than the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Why do people travel halfway around the world to stand on the name of a semi-famous person while a dude dressed like Lady Gaga hounds you to take his picture? There are more than 2,000 names etched into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and odds are you know 57 of them. If you're 18 or younger, you know about three. Now who's up for lunch at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.?