Walk where the stars did on this retro tour of L.A.

Los Angeles and Hollywood have an incredibly rich history. You might not realize it, but you're strolling around in an IRL Throwback Thursday post. Some spots are obviously cooler than others. These are the ones where history has been preserved and celebrated and is still on display. Grab a friend, grab your phone, and check out these five spots. You can walk where the true icons of the golden age of Hollywood once did and bask in the glitz and glam that surrounded them.

1.) Musso and Frank Grill


Musso and Frank has been serving food and drink since your grandparents were wee little kids. Founded in 1919, the tables in this hallowed establishment are the very same that studio execs that decided which fledgling starlets would get the roles that would catapult them into icon status. The menu has stayed mostly the same in its almost 100-year tenure, so you can talk movies over the same food that Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, Douglas Fairbanks and Lauren Bacall did.


Granted, you can't challenge your dining partner to a horse race down Hollywood Boulevard, the winner of which picks up the tab at Musso's. According to Musso and Frank lore, Chaplin issued that challenge to Fairbanks and won so he could gloat. You can, however, grab some roast duck and marvel at the rich mahogany and leather that surround you. It's every bit the luxury that the stars (and you, of course) deserve. The restaurant says a step through their door is a step back in time, and they're not wrong. Added bonus: it's still a hotspot for stars, so you might see one if you stop by.

2.) El Capitan Theatre

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The El Capitan isn't just a movie theatre, it's a movie palace. Movie palaces were big in the heyday of Hollywood, but faded under the economic crunch of the Great Depression. The El Capitan had its own financial struggles and closed a couple of times, but it's back now, fully restored and better than ever.

El Capitan Theater
Credit: Alan Light/Flickr

It's kept much of its historic charm. While I waited there with a coworker for a movie premiere, a man playing an organ rose from the floor and played various show tunes while we waited for our movie to start. The screen was hidden behind one of those grand velvety red curtains that only make you more excited to see whatever it is you're there to see. Every detail of the interior, from the molding to the gorgeous art on the ceiling was carefully considered and it's awe-inspiring. I'm not ashamed to admit I caught myself looking more often at my surroundings than I did the organ player on the stage.

Details of El Capitan
Credit: Sam Howzit/Flickr

If you were at the El Capitan in the 1920s, you would've seen Clark Gable and Joan Fontaine up on the stage. If you were in the seats in the 1940s, you could've rubbed elbows with the audience at the world premiere of Citizen Kane. The El Capitan was the only theatre Orson Welles could find in Los Angeles with the guts to play his now legendary film.

3.) Chateau Marmont

Chateau Marmont Hotel
Credit: Francisco Antunes/Flickr

Some stars have lived fast and died hard, and done both of those things at the Chateau Marmont. It's been a Hollywood institution since 1929, sitting up on a hill surrounded by a lush landscape of trees. Despite upgrades over the years, it looks almost the same as it did when it was built. Oh, and it's earthquake proof. Don't let it's sturdiness fool you into thinking it's bland. It's posh as hell. The kind of place that you'll feel fancier for just walking in.


The place practically hums with the excitement of days past. Led Zeppelin once rode their Harleys through the lobby. Sofia Coppola shot a movie here. It's been featured in songs by Lana del Rey and Father John Misty. It would take forever to count the number of private parties that stars threw in the various rooms and bungalows (all of which are soundproofed, by the way) since the hotel's inception. Now, it plays host to premieres and to post-award show parties.

4.) The Hollywood Roosevelt


I don't believe in ghosts, but then again, I've never seen one. I popped into The Hollywood Roosevelt once on a run to see if I could spot the ghost of Marilyn Monroe. She supposedly haunts the place. I didn't have a run in, but maybe you'll be luckier. This beauty was built in the golden age of Hollywood and financed by the men and women that are synonymous with that era. It's the house that Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Louis B. Mayer (of MGM) and Sid Grauman (of Grauman's Chinese Theater) built.


When stars weren't partying at the Chateau Marmont, they were here. They were also receiving awards here. The very first Academy Awards were held in the hotel's Blossom Ballroom in 1929. Back then, they weren't even called Oscars, and the ceremony was a helluva lot shorter than the one we know now (15 minutes compared to hours). There were only 270 people there and only 15 statuettes were awarded. It looked like a Great Gatsby-esque affair, though. The sort of party that other parties should aspire to be.

5.) The Millennium Biltmore

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles - Lobby_NAUS0389_1
Credit: millenniumbiltmore/Flickr

The exterior of the Biltmore doesn't exactly impress. Trust me when I say everything will change when you go inside. Just remember to close your gaping mouth after you see it so you don't catch flies. If you've ever marveled at the paintings at a museum, you will love the frescos, murals and various carved decor. It has the feel of a palace built for royalty The interior is gorgeous, and like many a Hollywood historic landmark is richer in history than a Ken Burns documentary. Need proof?

Oscars 1937
Credit: jon jordan/Flickr

It was in this hotel that Hollywood bigwigs gathered and decided the Academy Awards might be a good idea as a way to recognize their elite. It was at this hotel that the DNC chose John F. Kennedy to represent the Democratic party in the 1960 election. And it was at this hotel that the Beatles had to land their helicopter on the roof because throngs of fans were preventing them from getting in any other way. If you have the dough and haven't gotten over that Beatlemania, spend a night in the Presidential suite. The Fab Four did.

Megan lives in Los Angeles and enjoys running and eating her way around the city. She's here to write, follow along on her website.