Los Angeles: Hollywood | 5

Farmers' Market, Ivar Avenue, Hollywood

The Sunday morning Farmers’ Market on Ivar, Hollywood

Ignore the ‘Best Dad’ plastic Oscars from the souvenir stores and head further east on the Gothy stretch of Hollywood Boulevard to find the few specialist stores that haven’t yet been transformed into tattoo parlours. Here you can browse for the most obscure cinema books, rare magazine back issues, classic movie posters and priceless novelties – seriously, where else could you buy a plastic figure of Vincent Price in The Raven?

Hurry, though. Nothing, is sacred. The Hollywood Star Lanes bowling alley, where the Dude and his crew hung out in The Big Lebowski, stood at 5227 Santa Monica Boulevard until 2002 when it was torn down to make way for a school.

Before the movies arrived, Hollywood Boulevard was Prospect Avenue, a street of elegant houses, only one of which – the Jane House – survives, at number 6541 Hollywood Boulevard. For many years this housed the Hollywood Visitor Center, but subsequently became a restaurant – Jane’s House – though this now seems to have closed.

Las Palmas Hotel, Hollywood

The Las Palmas Hotel, and the fire escape up which Richard Gere climbed at the end of Pretty Woman

The Las Palmas Hotel, 1738 Las Palmas Avenue, north of this less than glamorous stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, is where smitten businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) climbs the fire escape to the strains of La Traviata at the end of Pretty Woman.

On Sunday mornings, you might be surprised to discover that Ivar Avenue hosts an extensive Farmers’ Market, between Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards. Apart from excellent organic produce, live music and food stalls, there’s always the chance you might be offered tickets to a preview screening – if you swear you’re nothing to do with the movie industry.

Attending a preview (your chance to alter film history by suggesting a happy ending or a gratuitous nude scene) can feel a little like sitting an exam, with a surprisingly detailed questionnaire following the feature. Everyone in the audience has to swear thay have no connection with the film business so, once inside, you may be surprised at the number of people offering critiques of each other’s scripts or boasting of the little ‘inserts of Leo’ they did for ‘Marty’.

South down Las Palmas brings you to Miceli’s, 1646 Las Palmas Avenue. From the bursts of flame in the open kitchen, forest of dangling Chianti bottles and full-throated operatic waiters, the whole theatrical experience has seen Miceli’s thrive long enough to lay claim to be Hollywood’s oldest Italian restaurant.

Micelli's Pizzeria, Las Palmas Avenue, Hollywood

The oldest Italian restaurant in Hollywood – Micelli’s on Las Palmas

Miceli’s is where Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) has the first tentative meeting with Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) after finding out that she’s pregnant, in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up.

Though Ben lives in the Valley and is supposedly a little short of cash, this doesn’t seem to stop him from frequenting Hollywood hangouts. A couple of doors south of Miceli’s, you might recognise the lower-case 'e' of now-closed Element, 1642 Las Palmas Avenue, as the exterior of the club where Ben and Alison meet up in the first place.

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Visit the locations

  • Miceli’s, 1646 Las Palmas Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028 (tel: 323.466.3438)