Hollywood is the ultimate tourist trap – and I got sucked in just like everyone else.
But that doesn’t mean you have to. Yes, you, the person who’s reading this. You still have time to change your travel plans and spend less time in the cesspool that is Hollywood and more time in beautiful beachside cities in the greater Los Angeles area, such as Santa Monica and Newport Beach.
Because if you’re anything like me, then you probably don’t need to spend as much time in Hollywood as you think you do – and you’ll be much happier when you get out to the coast with the most.
These are the reasons why I pretty much hated my time in Hollywood…
1. Too many people, too many tourists…
I like getting off the beaten track as much as any travel blogger does, but I’m also of the opinion that everyone should see the sights and do the things you’re supposed to do when you visit a new place at least once. See my other travel philosophies.
Thusly Mrs Man vs World and I planned to stay and do the tourist thing in Hollywood for a whole week, checking out the Hollywood walk of fame, doing one of those tacky bus tours past the homes of the rich and famous, and visiting Universal Studios Hollywood.
Big mistake. As soon as we had to deal with the hordes of people in Hollywood –outside the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, in line for a bus tour, inside every restaurant and bar in the vicinity – we started plotting our escape.
2. Hollywood is kind of boring
I can handle crowds, though, as long as there’s plenty of interesting things to see and do. Unfortunately, as a tourist Mecca, Hollywood is about as shallow as its movie business is purported to be.
It seems to me that there isn’t a heck of a lot to do there. Sure, I enjoyed my time at Universal Studios Hollywood – and I even kind of loved the tacky Starline Line tour of movie stars’ houses – but the Hollywood walk of fame got old after approximately 15 minutes and there wasn’t a heck of a lot else that caught my interest.
I had a far better time in Las Vegas, say, where at least you could admire its grandiose casinos, even if you’re not exactly the gambling type. Hollywood just wasn’t as glitzy or glamorous as I expected it to be.
3. Even the iconic Hollywood sign is kind of lame
The Hollywood sign is really far away from Hollywood Boulevard, where many of the main attractions – including the walk of fame – are based. I believe the best view of the sign, without driving out of your way to go see it, is from the mall at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and N Highland Ave.
The Hollywood sign was erected in 1923 to advertise a new housing development in the area called ‘Hollywoodland’. Knowing of the sign’s commercial origins does not make me feel any better about it as a major Los Angeles tourist attraction.
4. Pushy guys selling terrible music
Seriously, I’ve backpacked through much of Southeast Asia and Europe – I’m used to pushy street sellers and people trying to rip me off. But what’s the deal with the dudes along Hollywood Boulevard, trying to palm off their no-doubt crappy hip-hop LPs.
First of all, no-one buys CDs any more. Secondly, grabbing me by the arm is definitely not going to change my mind. I’d rather give my money to the goons dressed up like Hollywood movie characters – and I’d never give them any money, either.
The guys touting those tours of celebrity homes are nearly as pushy. The only difference was when I said ‘no thanks’ they didn’t call me a racist.
5. Terrible drivers
And what’s the deal with Hollywood drivers (I feel like I’m doing a terrible Jerry Seinfeld impersonation now)? Some of the people I encountered there seemed to know how to use the horns in their cars pretty well, but that’s about where their driving abilities seemed to end.
I get it, you’re in a hurry – you can thank the sheer amount of traffic on LA roads for your delays, not me personally – but I think I’m well within my rights to slow down a notch before I make a perfectly legitimate right-hand turn at an intersection.
I wouldn’t want to hit any pedestrians, or any other vehicles. I’ll gladly hit you in the face, though. (Sorry about that little bit of road rage – Hollywood seems to bring it out in me!)
To put it into context, I had no trouble driving from LA to Vegas, up to Lake Tahoe, to Napa, around San Francisco, and down the Pacific Coast Highway (a car journey of quite a bit more than 2,000km). But I had a hell of a time driving in Hollywood in particular and in LA generally.
However, I thoroughly enjoyed my drive out of Hollywood and towards the coast – if only because I didn’t have to spend another minute in that horrible tourist trap.
What do you think – have I been too negative? Did you actually have a great time in Hollywood and you’d like to defend the place? Let me know in the comments section below.