Whether you’re a local, transplant, or tourist — when in Los Angeles, who doesn’t love seeing their favorite celebrities? While the iconic Starline Tours has been profiting off the world’s obsession with celebrity since 1935(!), the competition has heated up over the years with the addition of Hollywood City Tours, Access Hollywood Tours, and the TMZ Celebrity Tour. But there’s nothing better than organically spotting a celebrity all on your own. This list will guide you to the most optimal locations to catch a celebrity out in the wild. With these five LA institutions, you could even get a charter bus and start your own celebrity tour. Welcome to Hollywood, where the lips are fake, but the hustle is real. (Image Credit: David Mark)
Located three blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard and just over a mile from Hollywood & Highland (the Times Square of LA) you’ll find 160 acres of hiking terrain known as Runyon Canyon Park. Popular for its numerous hiking trails, Instagram-worthy panoramic views of the city, and liberal off-leash dog policy — many visitors come with the sole purpose of catching a celebrity in the middle of their outdoor workout.
Whether it’s an A-list actor, music superstar, or YouTuber with millions of followers — you’re more likely to catch a few celebrity sightings at Runyon than none at all. Because celebrities are just like us… even they prefer to work out for free.
TCL Chinese Theatre
Formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and Mann’s Chinese Theatre, since 2013 the 92-year-old movie theatre has been officially named TCL Chinese Theatre. A popular venue for Hollywood movie premieres, tourists often line the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard in an effort to catch a glimpse of or photograph their favorite celebrities walking the red carpet.
Nearby theaters the Dolby Theatre and El Capitan Theatre are also regular settings for celebrity-laden movie premieres. Although visitors are limited to photographing from behind a security-enforced barricade, camping out a spot for optimal celebrity sightseeing has become a common attraction around Hollywood’s restored theater district. Recent premieres to receive overwhelming amounts of fans and celebrities alike include Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin, as documented by Will Smith on his YouTube channel, and Quentin Tarantino’s ode to 1960s Los Angeles, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, starring A-list actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Al Pacino.
Many people often visit Urth Caffe with the hope of seeing famous celebrities, but they always end up staying once they take a look at the mesmerizing dessert display case. With ten Urth Caffes to date, the most popular locations (particularly for celebrity spotting) remain the Melrose, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica eateries.
Perhaps your efforts will lead to you getting a coveted selfie with a Kardashian or Jenner sister, however you will assuredly leave with a breakfast favorite, signature sandwich and salad, or special dessert from the beloved organic coffee company and bistro. Like so many other popular Los Angeles food destinations, you come for the scene and stay for the cuisine. If you are traveling in a large group, we suggest Van Rental Los Angeles to explore all this famous city has to offer.
Relatively unchanged over its 90 years, the Chateau Marmont is a hotel located on Sunset Boulevard known for its celebrity residents, both long-term and short. Notorious for being “populated by people either on their way up or on their way down” in Hollywood — you never know who will show up next to you at the Chateau Marmont.
Celebrated by rockstars of new and old, Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham once drove a motorcycle through the lobby, while Jim Morrison claimed he used up “eight of [his] nine lives” at the hotel. Sofia Coppola’s 2010 film Somewhere also takes place in the hotel, giving an insider perspective to viewers who otherwise would never know about the historic Hollywood chateau.
Joan’s on Third
Considered by many to be the go-to restaurant for a guaranteed celebrity sighting, Joan’s on Third is also beloved by Los Angeles’ foodie community. Founded as a catering business by chef Joan McNamara in 1995, the storefront quickly evolved into the breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurant it is today.
Also serving as a shop for artisan cheeses, baked goods, and ready-to-eat foods — in 2014 Joan’s on Third opened a second location in Studio City with just as many celebrity sightings as the original. Whether you’re standing in line at the cheese counter, waiting for a table, or enjoying your meal — the question isn’t, did you see a celebrity, but rather, who?
Obviously there are a plethora of other Los Angeles institutions where you’re likely to run into a few famous celebrities. But these are the five we wanted to share with you. Check them out on your own personalized Hollywood star tour and let us know who you saw in the comments.