The Hollywood tour bus blitzkrieg, and better things to do in LA

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A tour bus in Los Angeles. Credit: Glen Bowman/CC BY 2.0.

Hollywood has lured tourists from around the world, all hoping to steal a little sparkle from tinseltown. Many of those tourists hop on buses that guide them around celebrities' houses and historic buildings. But the bus tour guides often give misleading -- or outright wrong -- info about who lives in which mansion, and which celebrity died where.

Most Angelenos will say the bus tour isn't the best Hollywood experience, and adding a bunch of big, slow vehicles to the streets isn't making LA more livable.

So how does someone get a more authentic Hollywood experience? Here are some places to start, recommended by Press Play producers and Los Angeles Magazine writer Chris Nichols:

Echo Mountain - 3302 Lake Ave, Altadena, CA, 91001. This hike goes through the ruins of a hotel that Groucho Marx and other Hollywood elites frequented. It has great views of downtown. 

Bronson Caves aka Batman's Bat Cave - 3200 Canyon Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068. Several movies and TV shows have been filmed here. Park at the bottom of Bronson Canyon Park near Camp Hollywoodland, and you’ll be less than a half mile from the caves. Head up the road, take the first right, and climb the hill to the caves. Outside the caves, there are great views of the Hollywood sign.

El Molina Viejo - 1120 Old Mill Rd, San Marino, CA 91108. Also known as The Old Mill, this adobe was completed in 1816 as a gristmill for Mission San Gabriel.  

The Bradbury Building - 304 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013. This iconic building is featured in tons of movies, including Blade Runner, (500) Days of Summer, The Artist, and Lethal Weapon.

The Valley Relics Museum - 7900 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91406. This museum is full of old signage from the golden age of Los Angeles. 

James Oviatt Building - 617 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90014. This is one of LA’s oldest highrises, completed in the 1920s. It has Art Deco fixtures and tons of Lalique glass.

The Smoke House - 4420 Lakeside Dr, Burbank, CA 91505. This is a great stop for old-school dining and star-studded history. It was built at the end of WWII, and customers included Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. 

Dong Il Jang - 3455 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005. This is an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ in vintage settings. 

Clifton's Cafeteria - 648 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014. This historic building has a wild interior and multiple bars.

--Written and produced by Rosalie Atkinson