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Eat, Drink & Be Discovered in Hollywood!

Dec 8, 2001 (Updated Dec 8, 2001)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Brand New Attraction at the corner of Highland and Hollywood

Cons:Traffic congestion, tourists, expensive shopping

The Bottom Line: Hotel, theatres, dining, entertainment and shopping are all in this complex in the heart of Hollywood

The intersection of Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard has opened its six level complex this November 2001. The Kodak Theatre will host the Academy Awards® come March 2002. The first engagements start this month with concerts by Barry Manilow.

There are six levels, underground parking located at four of the levels, metro rail convenience and valet parking. The entrances are at Orange Drive or Highland Avenue. From inside the outdoor complex you can get to the Mann’s Chinese Theatre, which seemed isolated from the buzz of the new corner activities.

On Wednesday evening, November 28, 2001 Lee and I headed into Hollywood to have some french onion soup at Hamburger Hamlet and then walk around Hollywood Boulevard. If you are coming into Hollywood from the Downtown Los Angeles area you would exit the 101 Freeway at Hollywood and make a left. You will pass the Pantages Theatre before Vine Street and cruise the Boulevard until you come to Highland.

I was happy to see this was now finished as the last time we were at Hamburger Hamlet construction was still underway and walking around was difficult near the Mann’s Chinese Theatre. To the right side of Highland Avenue you will see the Kodak Theatre that consists of five levels, holding up to 3,585 people. If you turn onto Highland by making a right you will come to the Hollywood Bowl as well as be able to get to Burbank, Universal Studios and Pasadena areas via the freeways located off this street.

The Grand Ballroom is also on level five being run and catered by Wolfgang Puck. The Renaissance Hollywood Hotel is visible from Highland Avenue as well and holds 50,000 square feet of meeting space as well as a fitness center, views of the city, 640 rooms that includes 33 suites. There are eighty pieces of artwork on display at the Hotel for the public to view. There is a website located at http://www.hollywoodandhighland.com that gives descriptions of each locale at the corner of Hollywood and Highland.

The hours of operation for this mecca chic complex are from 10 am – 10 pm Monday through Saturday, closing at 7 pm on Sundays. Security was very visible and the personnel in the shopping establishments all acknowledged us as we entered offering assistance of any kind. There are even some vendors in the open court of the complex. There are elevators for those that want to avoid the Grand Staircase as well as escalators. Some of the shops are not yet open on various levels. For stroller rentals, courtesy wheelchairs, gift certificates, lost and found, copying and faxing there is a customer service station at Babylon Court near the Grand Staircase. The gift certificates are good for all the shops from $5.00 to $100.00 at a cost of $2.00 for each. They accept visa, mastercard, check and cash for these transactions. The brochure for the complex lists the phone number for all the establishments for further details on the closing hours for entertainment and after hours functions. I saw restrooms, water fountains and pay phones through out the complex.

Dining Places:

Johnny Rockets
Green Earth Café
Great Steak and Potato
Nestle’s Toll House Café
California Pizza Kitchen
Koji’s Sushi and Shabu Restaurant
Fresh Fire Kabob

Footwear, Jewelry and Specialty Apparel:

Victoria’s Secret
Banana Republic
Planet Funk
Aldo Shoes
Ann Taylor Loft
Hollywood Toys and Costumes

Heath and Beauty:


Fashion Apparel:

Tommy Hilfiger
Louis Vuitton
Ralph Lauren Polo

There is also the Debbie Reynolds’ Hollywood Motion Picture Collection as well as a TV Studio and the Walk of Fame Hollywood Audio Tour. Since this is all outdoors I would suggest wearing a coat or jacket if you will be there in the evening as it gets in the 50 degree mark this time of year. Brookstone, Book City and the Build-A-Bear Workshop are also at this location. This is in the 323 are code 960-2331 for specifics on this complex.

This is a much needed boost for the Hollywood Boulevard tourism and many were window shopping on the weeknight we were there in early evening. The parking structure we used charged $7.00 with validation from Hamburger Hamlet, but that was only for one hour so get it stamped when you pay your bill. I cannot imagine what the scene will be like come March 2002 when the Academy Awards® are presented here but this is a nice place to visit for the holidays and coming months in 2002.

There are bus routes along Hollywood Boulevard, taxis cruise along as well as the Metro Red Line is easily accessible. Parking can be a nightmare if you are here at rush hour times and the light is very long at Highland Avenue. There is also a smaller motel up the street closer to the Hollywood Bowl that would be suitable for tourists that want to watch their finances.

For many visitors to Hollywood in years past it might have been disappointing not seeing the glamour that was projected many years earlier. I feel with this new corner conglomerate the passion and pizzazz will be back in Hollywood before long. Every year the Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend they have the Hollywood Christmas Parade. For those that might be coming to California for the Rose Parade, you will want to check out this latest corner attraction at Hollywood and Highland. For the winter months you can go to Persian Square downtown for ice-skating. Check out http://www.laparks.org for hours and dates of operation.

Recommend this product? Yes

Best Suited For: Couples
Best Time to Travel Here: Anytime

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