History has its eyes on you,” sings the cast in the hit musical Hamilton, which recently completed an extended run at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. Although they were singing about Alexander Hamilton they could just as easily have been singing about Alexander Pantages, who built the grand Art Deco theater in 1930.
The fully refurbished theater has hosted everything from vaudeville to the Academy Awards and is just one of a number of venues in Hollywood, the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys and Pasadena where groups can experience the rich history of Los Angeles.
“Hollywood is the epitome of the L.A. experience, with glitz and glamour around every corner,” said Darren K. Green, senior vice president of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “You can truly elevate any meeting or event into a red-carpet affair at real working movie studios, historic theaters and iconic award-show venues.”
While the Pantages hosted the Oscars from 1949 to 1959, the Hollywood Roosevelt was the event’s original host in 1929. The hotel reopened in 2005 following an extensive renovation and still features vintage tiles and ceiling details. Meeting planners will find more than 25,000 square feet of gathering space, including 13 meeting rooms and the Tropical Pool and rooftop for events.
The Oscars are now held just down the street at the Dolby Theatre, part of the Hollywood & Highland entertainment complex. While not historic (it opened in 2001), Hollywood & Highland was built in a prime spot along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which recognizes celebrities old and new. Next door, the 20-story Loews Hollywood Hotel features 76,000 square feet of meeting space.
“You’ll discover a mix of treasured and classic properties in Hollywood,” Green said. “The Hollywood Roosevelt, W Hollywood and Loews Hollywood Hotel are all within close proximity to the Hollywood & Highland entertainment district.”
Up in the hills, the Hollywood Bowl was built in 1922 and has hosted everyone from the Rolling Stones to Gustavo Dudamel. Meeting planners can book the Bowl’s picnic and reception areas for events that combine food and music—not to mention some pretty incredible stargazing. For the more serious stargazer (of the celestial sort), the Griffith Observatory offers event space. The Los Angeles icon opened in 1935 and has been featured in films such as Rebel Without a Cause and La La Land.
Next door to Hollywood & Highland, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre originally opened in 1927. Now the TCL Chinese Theatre, the 932-seat venue is often used for movie premieres and can be booked to create a red carpet experience for groups. Nearby, the Hollywood Museum can host events for up to 650 people.
Near the classic intersection of Hollywood & Vine, Avalon Hollywood opened in 1927 and has hosted everyone from Frank Sinatra to Nirvana. The venue can be booked for groups of up to 2,000, offering state-of-the-art sound and lighting.
The longest operating studio in Hollywood is Paramount. The Studios at Paramount opened in 1912 and offer a variety of unique venues for groups of up to 10,000. They include the New York Street, the Blue Sky Tank and a number of sound stages, theaters and parks.
San Fernando Valley
Just over the hill from Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley is home to more film studios.
“The regions of Hollywood and the Valley both played instrumental roles in L.A.’s history of the entertainment industry,” said Green, who noted that the
Valley has the added bonus of competitive rates. “It offers everything meeting attendees could ask for, at prices that are well below what would be expected.”