Barnsdall Art Park & Hollyhock House
Just outside the Hollywood border, this hilly park is the home of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. Originally intended as a massive arts complex, the site still fulfills that role with exhibitions in a variety of different gallery spaces and public tours of the Hollyhock House ($7, Thu-Sun, 11am-4pm). In the summer, the park hosts a variety of al fresco cinema nights, wine tastings and cultural events that bring out a nice mix of singles, couples and young families.
Lake Hollywood Park
Carved into the hills above the Hollywood Reservoir’s walking paths but below a turnout of sightseeing vans, this grassy field feels like a dog-friendly Shangri-La. You don’t have to have four legs to enjoy the scenery, thanks to a small playground, shaded picnic benches and one of the most fantastic views of the Hollywood Sign.
Universal Studios & CityWalk
More than any of its Southern California competitors, Universal Studios is a theme park with a capital ‘T’. The theme here, of course, is the movies. The rides aren’t as exciting as you might expect: certainly, they lack both Disneyland’s charm and the sheer terror inspired by Six Flags Magic Mountain. But the main draw here is the studio tour. You won’t see much actual moviemaking, but stunt sets and recent additions like the reimagined King Kong section add some excitement. If you’re only interested in a backlot tour, then consider saving a few dollars and head over the hill to the Warner Bros backlot ($52).