project Hollywood Tourist Pt2

A Marilyn Monroe impersonator poses with tourists on Hollywood Blvd for $$

A Marilyn Monroe impersonator poses with tourists on Hollywood Blvd for $$

Hitting the mean streets of Hollywood Blvd. and its surrounds for round two of HOLLYWOOD TOURIST.

This time we visit Madame Tussauds, Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, Mel’s Drive-In and Boardner’s by La Belle.


Hollywood and Highland. The Escalator is bumper to bumper. Jammed with an impenetrable nest of Asians, Midwesterners, high school truants and Johnny Depp lookalikes. No use trying to maneuver the throngs. You’re stuck at the pace of the moving stairs.


You exit the escalator. Spiderman is there to greet you. He flings mock-webs from his wrists and flaunts a bulge in the crotch of his spandex spidey suit. You catch yourself staring.

Quick. Gotta dodge the hip-hop album that's nearly slipped into your unsuspecting left hand.


Nearly to your destination. Stop one of the day. It’s time for a drink. Hendrix. The place? Mels Drive In.

Mels Drive-In: The drive-in restaurant concept was still new when Mels opened in San Francisco in 1947. By the 60’s, it was a successful California chain slinging 20,00 hamburgers per day. It bustled for nearly 10 years, before fast-food chains forced locations to start boarding up their windows.

The Mels by Hollywood Blvd. is still around. It doesn’t function as a drive-in, but if you want a 50’s-style diner with neon signs, comfy booths, Formica walls and waiters in starched white uniforms and paper hats, Mel’s is perfect for a day as a tourist. Food is nothing special, but drinks are cheap, fries are fries, and it’s close by Madame Tussauds.  


Mel’s bar tab is settled. Two gins still bubble around in your gut. It’s time to go schmooze with some celebs. Tea with Audrey, grind session with Beyonce, box ‘o chocolates with F. Gump.

Madame Tussauds. Hollywood Blvd. is home to two wax museums, Madame Tussauds and the Hollywood Wax Museum (see Hollywood Tourist Pt. 1). Mme. Tussauds, the leading name in wax museums, is a little more expensive than its counterpart. But, little insider tip, you can get a year-long ticket for $20 as a Cali resident, which is cheaper than any one-time ticket options.  

The museum is fun enough. You’re free to touch the sculptures. Play some B ball with Shaq, ride a camel with Omar Sharif, skate with Tony Hawk. It’s a little glitzier than Hollywood Wax Museum, but also lacks a little of the Wax Museum’s kooky charm. Go in the earlier part of the day to avoid the crowds. Also, plan on spending an extra $15 bucks if you want to get a wax sculpture of your own hands.


Ryan Reynolds is cool, but he gets a little chatty and wants to show you pictures of his kid. Time for some quiet. And for a little bit of Old Hollywood at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre.

While Grauman’s better known Chinese Theatre shows new flicks, the Egyptian is where you can see classics like Rear Window, Singing in the Rain, King Kong. The oldies. The goodies. Tickets are only $11, $9 if you've held onto your student ID.  






Grab a nightcap after the Egyptian show at close-by bar, Boardner’s. Boardner’s is a Monday Project favorite. The bar’s got a great rotating happy hour every night of the week. Tasty cocktails, though nothing too pretentious. Good beer selection. Wine.

The bartenders are friendly. The jukebox is there, waiting to play Return of the Mack. The bar isn’t trying to be anything but a bar. It’s not really a dive, but then it kinda is. The big booths are great for groups. There is definitely a contingent of loyal regulars, but also a happy smatter of occasionals.  


UNTIL… Hollywood Tourist Pt. 3 (Abby and Hillary Strike Again)