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Re-Discover Los Angeles: A Film Lovers Dream

With a new museum devoted to the history of motion pictures, studio tours that take you behind the scenes and plenty of landmark locations, Los Angeles is a feast for film buffs.

Open since September 2021, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, on Wilshire Boulevard, is located near popular attractions like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Petersen Automotive Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits.

The museum’s centerpiece is a three-floor exhibit that traces a century of movie magic, beginning with short films made by the Lumiere brothers in Paris in 1895. Items on display include costumes and props from some of your favorite films, like Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz,” an animatronic E.T. and the towering backdrop of Mount Rushmore used in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller “North by Northwest.” Special exhibits include a tribute to the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. Next year, the museum will showcase the work of African-American filmmakers.

Both Warner Bros. and Universal studios offer tram tours of their backlots. You’ll drive by streetscapes that have filled in for locations from New York to Paris to the American Midwest, along with sets that have been used in filming movies and TV shows going back decades. At Warner Bros., you’ll see sets from “Gilmore Girls” and “Friends,” and props and costumes from the “Harry Potter” films. At Universal, you’ll get up close to King Kong and the dinosaurs from “Jurassic Park” and take a ride based on the “Fast & Furious” movies.

[tp_link type=”2″ text_link=”The Lowes Hollywood Hotel” hotel_id=”388167″ check_in=”1″ check_out=”12″ subid=”hotelsSelections”], part of the Hollywood & Highland shopping, dining and entertainment complex, is a good base for exploring Los Angeles. It’s convenient to public transportation and is part of the Travel Leaders SELECT program, where you’ll be eligible for special amenities. The hotel is in the middle of must-see attractions like Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre.

Grauman’s, opened in 1927, is one of the world’s most iconic movie palaces. Generations of celebrities have left their signatures, handprints and footprints in concrete in the forecourt. The modern Dolby Theatre is home to the Academy Awards ceremony. It’s a popular venue for concerts and Broadway shows, so check to see if something is playing while you’re there.

You’ll also be a short walk from the Musso & Frank Grill, Hollywood’s oldest restaurant. Opened in 1919, the restaurant retains a classic style, with leather booths, a mahogany bar and red-jacketed waiters. Over the decades, many movie stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age have dined there.

Another fun way to explore movie history is by visiting Los Angeles landmarks that have been featured in films. Griffith Observatory, on the south slope of Mount Hollywood, has served as a setting for “Rebel Without a Cause,” “La La Land” and “The Terminator.” Union Station has played a role in movies like “Catch Me If You Can,” “Blade Runner” and “The Dark Knight Rises.”

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