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Is Hollywood’s Walk of Fame The World’s Worst Tourist Attraction?

A local news station scanned Google, TikTok, and other online reviews to cherry-pick a handful that calls the Boulevard "grubby, slightly scary... dirty, unsafe" and "one of the worst tourist attractions on the planet." We weighed in on the subject.

10:05 AM PDT on September 28, 2023

Oxana Melis/Unsplash

Damn kids today.

They have no appreciation for an inanimate piece of chewing gum-and-body-fluid-splotched sidewalk paying tribute to radio's Don Ameche or 1930s stage legend Ethel Barrymore.

That's the only conclusion we can draw from seeing NBC's frequently run report that Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame is ranked as one of the worst tourist attractions on the planet.

It's a claim most locals will instantly understand. Among the most famous maxims in our city, you'll hear the continual cry: "No one here from ever actually goes to Hollywood Boulevard..."

All because it's too (pick one):

A) cheesy

B) dirty

C) rife with ersatz Spidermen that will beat your ass if you don't give them $5 for a picture.

D) All of the above.

The news station scanned Google, TikTok, and other online reviews to cherry-pick a handful that calls the Boulevard "grubby, slightly scary... dirty, unsafe." It also points to a site called Stasher that includes the Walk of Fame in its roundup of the world's worst tourist attractions.

To prove the point, Gordon Tokumatsu takes to the streets and gets a duo of Teutonic tourists off their phones for a split second to agree that The Walk of Fame kind of sucks, with one citing "the smell." They will not be coming back. Auf wiedersehen, Felicia!

He also talks to an Aussie family who can't ignore this behated-on "smell," but one of who thinks the area looks much better than it was when he came 25 years ago.

Obviously, it's been eons since this part of Hollywood was walked by any real stars. Today, the Walk of Fame is the epicenter of L.A.'s wayward tourist scene, the equivalent of a Times Square, something for locals to mostly step around. A certain phoniness is implicit in both its conceit as well as to its popularity.

And have you spoken to any person under the age of 30 today? They wouldn't know recent star recipient John Waters from silent screen star John Bowers, or anyone else from 200,000 years of human history that hasn't acquired 6 gigillion TikTok followers for chugging Tide.

Most locals know if you want to commune with an actual star, you'll head straight for the produce section of Bristol Farms West Hollywood. Or enroll your kid in a private school with six-figure tuition. Or, failing all else, move to Calabasas.

Still, Hollywood Boulevard is distinctly, vitally L.A.

A fake thing paving over 100 years of history paving over 13,000 years of all else before it. Where you can still have a beer at the Frolic Room and wonder where Charles Bukowski used to park his butt. Where you can stand on the corner where Bela Lugosi waited for his bus to the studios, talk to ghosts at the Hollywood Roosevelt, and find treasures like the Hollywood Museum, Pantages Theatre, and Iguana Vintage Clothing, among all the Scientology pamphlets, passed out scum punks, cops shooting weird PSAs, and buy gas mask bongs.

It's the kind of necessary urban ratfuck we need to stay sane in L.A. No matter how unsober, aggrieved, or unright in the head you may feel, you're bound to see something worse to put it all in perspective. A rare, walkable part of the city easily accessible by L.A.'s Metro that puts you in touch with people doing their best to live here.

Miss it at your own peril. Make any assumptions, and you'll likely be wrong. Like many parts of L.A., the Boulevard is a cipher where the surface does not speak for its swirling depths of reality. A living contradiction where Fran and Drew come from Des Moines to inadvertently mingle with junkies, freaks, cult members, and barflies, intent on seeing "Hollywood," but ultimately just seeing... Hollywood.

Of course, some people actually can enjoy it for what it is.

Straddling Linda Carter's star, Tokumatsu talks to one lady who calls it all "still pretty nice," acknowledging that it's a place where people can take free selfies with the "stars" of stars that wouldn't want to breathe their same air around them in real life or be caught dead out here.

When all else fails, you'll always have the tacos. That and doing whatever you wish to this star.

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