Probably the easiest and cheapest way to see a large scale movie set while you are visiting Los Angeles is to go the Hollywood and Highland Center. Take the escalator up to the courtyard from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and you will be staring at a replica of the Babylon set from the 1916 DW Griffith movie, Intolerance.
The 387,000-square-foot complex sits just across Hollywood Blvd. from the El Capitan Theatre and offers views of the Hollywood Sign and downtown Los Angeles to the east. The center has over 70 shops and 25 restaurants. Major retail tenants include American Eagle Outfitters, Forever 21, GAP and Louis Vuitton. The 637-room Loews Hollywood Hotel is also part of the site. The complex also includes the TCL or Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre.
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The centerpiece of the complex is a massive three-story courtyard inspired by the Babylon scene from the D.W. Griffith film Intolerance. The developer of the shopping center built the three story archway and two pillars with elephant sculptures on the capitals, just as seen in the film, to the same scale as the 1916 movie set. It gives visitors an idea of how large the original set was.
You have to actually go into the courtyard to see the movie set replica. It isn’t apparent from Highland Avenue or Hollywood Boulevard. When you see it you understand what an impressive feat constructing the 1916 Babylon set was. The original set was built where the historic Vista Theatre now sits on Sunset Blvd and Hillhurst and had an overall height of about 150 feet. Unfortunately the movie was a flop and there wasn’t enough money to tear it down. It sat abandoned until 1919 when it was finally demolished.
The Hollywood Highland Center is as much a tourist attraction as it is a world class shopping mall. The center has also played a significant role in attracting development to other parts of Hollywood Boulevard and in the revitalization of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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The sidewalk in front of Hollywood and Highland is considered a coveted location for recent additions to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As such is one of the few locations where the star memorials are “doubled up” rather than being placed linearly, in order for more stars to be accommodated in front of the center. And for tourists visiting Hollywood, you get to see the stars embedded in the sidewalk and you get to see faux stars walking on the sidewalk that will give you the opportunity to have your picture taken with a more lifelike “star” than you will find in the wax museums for a small tip.
If you are visiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame while in Los Angeles, you won’t miss the Hollywood Highland Center. It is surrounded by every major Hollywood Attraction including the El Capitan Theatre, Madame Tussards, the Hollywood Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum, the Guinness Book of World Records and more.
See our Hollywood Attractions category for more things to do while visiting Hollywood.
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