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Best Landmarks in Los Angeles

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This observatory, built in Art Deco style, was built in the early 1930s and is a highlight among landmarks in Southern California. See incredible light shows at the Oschin Planetarium, which puts to use the latest technology. Outside the observatory, you'll find sweeping views of the area that are breathtaking during the day and at night as well. Exhibits and planetarium shows will fascinate visitors. Some visitors might recognize the observatory as the site where the climax of Rebel Without a Cause was filmed. On clear nights take advantage of the free public telescopes to see the stars up close.

Originally built in 1926, this theater was completely renovated in 1991 by Pacific Theatres and The Walt Disney Company. It's now a premier movie palace that Disney uses to showcase its animated and children's features. Special features begin with a live stage show with a singing and dancing chorus of familiar Disney characters. Often short cartoons will precede the main show. Be sure to call or check the website for the movie and show times.

This cemetery is as Hollywood as they come. Genuine elegance is provided by its Egyptian temples, Greek statues and Roman memorials. This is the final resting place for some of the most famous names in early Hollywood history including Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks and Rudolph Valentino. The Paramount Studios lot lies adjacent to these grounds, and many of its stars have been buried here. Some of the more impressive grave sites include the water-guarded mausoleum of William A. Clark, Jr. and Douglas Fairbanks’ monument and reflecting pool.

One of the most telling symbols of Southern California's glamorous child – Los Angeles - the Hollywood Sign can be spotted from its sky-high perch on Mount Lee. This popular piece of signage was originally set up in 1923 to serve as an advertising gimmick for real estate development, only to become as legendary as its abode in the years that followed the Golden Age of Hollywood. Overlooking the urbane sprawl of its namesake neighborhood, the sign glistens under the Californian sun, profoundly iconic in its stark white lettering that stands at a height of 13.4 meters (44 feet). Swathes of barricades and restricting gates prevent access to the sign, even as adventurous individuals attempt to trespass it. Part of an everlasting cultural fabric that blankets the city of Los Angeles and perhaps all of America, this historical sign has come to be one of the most tangible aspects of Hollywood's fantastical realm.

While the skyline of Hollywood is largely unspectacular, Capitol Records Building is one of the few exceptions. At the urging of label artists Nat King Cole and Johnny Mercer, this 13-story building was built in 1954 as the highly successful record label's headquarters, near the fabled Hollywood and Vine intersection. A mural at the building's southern face pays tribute to some of its jazz greats including Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday while a flashing light at the top of the building spells out "H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D" to passing aircrafts.

Formally Grauman's Chinese Theatre, TCL Chinese Theatre is known as one of the best landmarks in Hollywood. Many people visit this theater not to see first-run motion pictures, but to gaze at the famous hand and footprints on the ground outside. It's a quintessential Los Angeles tourist ritual and well worth the trip. The theater itself is one of the oldest and largest in town. The screen is massive and the sound is top-notch. Enter the Pagoda-like structure of this movie hall with dragons and lions welcoming you into the premises. Check out the exotic interiors and revel in the glory of days gone by. Moreover, a four-minute light and sound show projected onto the timeless facade of the theater offers a window into Hollywood's fascinating realm, taking onlookers on an exciting journey of the industry's most classic masterpieces. There is no charge to wander around the open-air patio "walk-of-fame" on the side-walk. Ticket prices vary depending on showtimes.

Venice is know for its beach, the glorious stretch of pristine white sands, the warm sunshine and the palm trees making for the perfect postcard. You need not step onto the beach in order to experience the vibrant culture of Venice, just walk along the bustling boardwalk and you will see the local scene unfold before you. Watch the street performers mesmerize spectators with their talents, buy something very unique from any of the shops that line the Boardwalk, or catch the attraction that is the Muscle Beach, where Arnold Schwarzenegger-worshipers pump iron and strive to look as big and muscular as possible.

Stitching dizzily and whimsically for miles and bringing together some of the prettiest arroyos and canyons, Mulholland Drive has become symbolic of The City of Angels. As vertiginous and elusive as LA itself, this road is intermittently dazzling and daunting. The most famous pull-off offering a million-dollar view that has been showcased in countless films is just three miles west of Highway 101. Take a few minutes to stop by and enjoy the most perfectly framed angle of downtown Los Angeles with the highway ribbon snaking into the heart of it. This is the LA you'll never forget. To take in all that Mulholland has to offer, drive down the whole winding stretch of it, from Hollywood deep into the Valley. Enjoy the breathtaking vistas.

Built for the 1932 Olympic games, Exposition Park is now a venue for many sports and cultural events. Originally known as "Agricultural Park," it houses a sports arena, coliseum, museum, science center, rose garden, a swimming stadium and expo center. The park is bustling with activities throughout the year with events like Annual Bug Fair and Science Camp. The Rose Garden can be hired for special events and the Coliseum hosts popular sports events. Exposition Park also plays host to the L.A. Food Fest, a culinary extravaganza attracting food lovers from far and beyond.

The Watts Towers is a local landmark in South L.A. Former construction worker Simon Rodia created the monument over a period of three decades, from 1921 to 1954. The monument is a melange of scrap metal, pipe structures, bed frames and thousands of seashells. The beauty of the object is Rodia's resourcefulness, it's a truly impressive piece of work for any artist, given its seventeen isolated units of sculpture. The towers can only be visited with a tour guide, and the landmark is only open Thursday through Saturday.

Perched over the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, "The Pier" feels more like a carnival than a place to shop. Cirque du Soleil pitches their tent on the beach here annually, and there are concerts and dances on the weekends in the summer. In addition to the many restaurants and souvenir stands, there is a full-service amusement park with a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, carousel and arcade. The pier's end provides one of the best sunset views in Los Angeles County.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a star-studded attraction that immortalizes deserving performers of every stripe; a constellation of famous personalities laid-out along the sidewalk. The Walk of Fame is very much a tribute to Johnny Grant, the former mayor of Hollywood and a relentless promoter of Tinsel Town. Encompassing a stretch of the sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard, near the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, more than 2600 brass-inlaid, terrazzo stars honor some of the most famous personalities of the entertainment industry, including movie stars, radio-show hosts, recording artists, film directors, TV personalities and stage actors. New stars are added frequently, an event that is accompanied with much pomp and show, creating an ever-evolving chronicle of Hollywood's vibrant legacy.

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