If you love star-sightings, the shining sun (most of the time), and cling to the hopes that you, too, will become famous, then Tinsel Town is the place for you. The Walk of Fame, Mann's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood and Vine are all still there. There's nothing fake about it, except the celebrity impersonators. And the travel deals? They're as good as the climate.
If you're looking for flights, ATA (tel. 800/435-9282; www.ata.com) has fares from New York to Los Angeles for $198 round-trip. You have to book by January 18, 2005 and a Saturday night stay is required. Security fees and departures taxes are not included.
If you live out West or in select Eastern cities and you want to visit Hollywood, American West Airlines (tel. 800/327-7810; www.americawest.com) just announced specials to most of its destinations. Philadelphia to Los Angeles comes in at a $158 round-trip. Detroit to LA and back costs $198. And from Phoenix, a traditionally inexpensive trip to L.A., comes in at $78 round-trip. The above offer expires on January 16, 2005 with travel good through Might 11, 2005.
If you're looking for a package special to L.A., United Vacations (tel. 888/328-6877; www.unitedvacations.com) has a two-night air and hotel inclusive package with accommodations in Hollywood. The two-night package starts at $244 from San Francisco or San Diego and includes lodging at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in West Hollywood. The package also includes a voucher for shopping at the famous Beverly Center shopping mall and free valet parking. If you're traveling from New York, the package is available for an additional $200; from Seattle, Portland, Fargo, Sioux Falls or Rapid City add on $80; from Chicago an additional $180. The trip is good through January 31, 2005, so book now. The Ramada Plaza West Hollywood is centrally located in between Beverly Hills and the famous Sunset Strip where Jim Morrison played the Roxy and new bands rock the Viper Room.
For the real Hollywood feel, stay at the Super 8 Motel Hollywood (tel. 800/800-8000; www.super8.com) on N. Western Avenue. The hotel is walking distance to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Mann's Theatre. The Hollywood Bowl, the infamous outdoor concert site, is just up the street. Hollywood and motels have been synonymous since the late 1950s when young starlets took busses to Hollywood in search of fame and fortune. Rates at the Super 8, built in 1996, start around $46 per night. The hotel is also twenty minutes to the beach and thirty minutes from Disneyland.
Now, for the inside scoop on star sightings. The Farmer's Market (tel. 323/933-9211; www.farmersmarketla.com) at 3rd and Fairfax is star-watching central. Celebs of all types from game show hosts to soap actors to big names go for the fresh coffee, the delicious country breakfasts, the incredible magazine stand and the wonderful produce and food shopping. It's not uncommon for Cameron Diaz to breeze through or even Madonna to stop by on her way to work at Maverick Records. Next door, the Grove, known for its outdoor retail shopping center which houses Banana Republic, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Victoria Secret attracts the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan. The Grove shares the same parking lot as the Farmer's Market so follow the same directions as the Market's website.
If that's not enough, star maps will still get you a peak at the Playboy Mansion or JimmyStewart's digs. A comprehensive website listing a guide to star homes can be found at (www.seeing-stars.com/Live/index.shtml). Of course you should buy the maps sold on the street corners of Beverly Hills by people who still sit in lawn chairs, but the site can give you some good direction before you arrive in fantastic L.A.
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