Without a shadow of a doubt, a visit to Los Angeles must also include a trip to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At least for first time visitors, am I right? But what about the TCL Chinese Theatre?
Both attractions allow you to photograph concrete slabs bearing the name of someone famous you admire, but which is better? The Hollywood Walk of Fame, or the TCL Chinese Theatre?
This article aims to list the pros and cons of each, plus a little history about them so that you can decide for yourself which you’d most like to visit.
First things first, a snazzy infographic…
And here’s some more info about both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre for those of you who want to learn more.
Hollywood Walk of Fame vs TCL Chinese Theatre: Which Came First?
Hollywood Walk of Fame: 1960
TCL Chinese Theatre: 1927
And the winner is… TCL Chinese Theatre!
It’s said that actress, Norma Talmadge gave Sid Grauman the idea for immortalising celebrities’ foot and handprints back in 1927, when she accidentally stepped in wet cement. This makes the handprint tradition over 30 years older than the star tradition!
Hollywood Walk of Fame vs TCL Chinese Theatre: Which Celebrity was Immortalised First?
Hollywood Walk of Fame: Filmmaker, Stanley Kramer.
TCL Chinese Theatre: Actress, Norma Talmadge (ahem, by accident…).
With the fact that the first celebrity wasn’t a movie star, this point has to go to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for their slight thinking outside of the box on this occasion. Although a half point also goes to the Chinese Theatre for its cool story on how the tradition began!
Hollywood Walk of Fame – The Pros
- This is a massively famous tourist attraction. If you come to LA, and you don’t get even just one shot of a star, then people will question whether you actually even made it to LA. Therefore, a pro (or a con, if you look at it that way), is that it is an absolute must-see at least once in your life.
- You may spot some names you wouldn’t expect. Fictional characters are allowed to have stars – enter Mickey Mouse and Snoopy to name just a couple. You’ll have great fun scouring the stars for names you wouldn’t quite expect to see.
- A time capsule has been hidden under the Walk of Fame. In 2010, as part of the walk’s 50th Anniversary, a time capsule was hidden underneath the very same spot that started the entire Walk of Fame! The capsule is scheduled to be opened in 2060 – here’s hoping there’s something decent in there!
Hollywood Walk of Fame – The Cons
- The streets are pretty dirty in this area of LA. It would be wise to forget your pretty sandals, and opt for closed toed shoes instead. Unless of course your aim is to receive a tetanus shot during your travels!
- Movie stars make up most of the stars. With little representation for other arts such as music, sport or books, the stars can become a little samey after a while. Enough of the movie stars already! When are we travel writers going to be immortalised?
TCL Chinese Theatre – The Pros
- Offers a better chance of seeing the personal side of celebrities. Unlike the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theatre slabs have the actual hand or footprints plus signatures of the celebrities, making this a much more personal attraction.
- Slightly lesser known than the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Albeit still very popular, it is a lesser known attraction than its starry sister. This makes for a slightly more off the beaten track vibe for those of you wanting to discover something new.
- Way, way, way prettier surroundings! Once you come off the streets of the boardwalk, you’ll feel like you’ve entered an Asian attraction. All around the theatre, authentic Chinese architecture, statues and decor have been installed, straight from China itself. So even when you’ve finished staring at the ground, the building itself will continue to captivate you.
- Celebrities get the chance to think outside of the box. To continue with the ‘personal’ vibe, celebrities don’t just have to put their hands and feet in cement – some choose to think a little outside the box. Whoopi Goldberg included a dreadlock in her slab, whilst Marilyn Monroe wanted her backside printed. (Sadly, she was told she couldn’t do that)!
- Snap a perfect photo of the Hollywood sign! This is one of the best places in the city to see the Hollywood sign; if you can’t quite make it to the even better photo spot: Griffith Observatory!
TCL Chinese Theatre – The Cons
- A popular attraction in a small space. Despite not having quite as much of the glitz and glamour (and size) of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, this is still a very popular tourist attraction. But,,, and this is the big but. All of the concrete slabs are in a small space, making this quite a claustrophobic attraction too.
- All of the concrete slabs are very close together. With small spaces, comes a cramped style even for the concrete paving slabs. Expect to find someone standing on the slab you’re taking a photograph of. Or prepare to be that person who gets asked to move out of someone else’s shot. Either way, #awks!
For me, the Chinese Theatre wins hands down – even if you’re not a fan of famous people, the building itself is still worth seeing! And in fairness, with the Chinese Theatre being on the same street as part of the Walk of Fame, you could see both very easily… maybe you should just do that instead?