Visitors to Los Angeles have plenty of options. Traditional tourists will no doubt pay a visit to Venice Beach, Griffith Observatory and the ultimate tourist trap -- Hollywood Boulevard. This famous street in the heart of Hollywood once shined with glitz and glamour. Today it's overrun with odd smells, panhandlers and tacky gift shops. There has been a big effort in recent years to clean Hollywood up, with some measure of success. The Hollywood and Highland complex is shiny and new and home to the Academy Awards, and other new complexes in central Hollywood offer up better shopping and dining options than in the recent past. But no one will argue that Hollywood Boulevard has seen its best days.
If you're into tacky, head down to the area around the famous Grauman's Chinese Theater. You can take a peek at the Hollywood Wax Museum or the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum -- both across the street from Grauman's. Not to be outdone, the world-famous Madam Tussauds Wax Museum is opening a massive 44,000-square-foot (4,087-square-meter) Hollywood location in fall 2009. If that doesn't do it for you, visit one of the dozens of over-loaded gift shops for a miniature Oscar Award or pay five bucks for a Polaroid of you and a dude in a Darth Vader costume. Also check out the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine, just to verify that not much goes on there now. And remember to keep your head down on the sidewalk to see which legendary performer's star you're treading on with the Walk of Fame.