Hollywood is the city of dreams and nightmares for many a wannabe actor seeking fame and fortune. But when Brad Pitt started out wearing a chicken suit for a take away shop on Sunset, it's no wonder they flock out here for their big break.

TMZ Tour

There are lots of celebrity-focused tours in Hollywood, but on a TMZ tour you could actually be part of the show. Not only is it thoroughly entertaining in your open-sided bus with a guide who also stars on the celebrity-ambush show, but with a camcorder at the ready, passengers are charged with keeping their eyes open and if they spot anyone famous, the bus stops, the host leaps out and the filming begins.

Beacher's Madhouse


Twice a week in the basement of the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard is this part cabaret, part burlesque, part comedy show. A cool $1000 will get you a tiny coffee table to sit around. Drinks are on top of that. Oompa Loompas harnessed to the ceiling will fly your bottle to you among such stars as Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, David Arquette and resident performer Kelly Osbourne.

Universal Studios

Take a Backlot Tour because after a fire destroyed some of it, new sets have been built for even more creative movie usage. Focus the camera in one direction and it's a modern day New York scene with glass office buildings, but look the other way and it's Chicago in the 1930s. There are also new rides that have opened in the last couple of years including Transformers in 3D and Peter Jackson's own King Kong 360 in 3D.

Hop on Hop off Bus

I'm a fan of these buses whenever I visit a new city and Hollywood is no exception. It's an easy way to get around without paying for multiple cabs or buses, you get a commentary (on headphones so can switch it off if you don't want to hear it) to understand where you are - and the Red Line in Hollywood includes Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills and a shopping stop at the Grove.
Lie by the pool at the Roosevelt

Opposite the Dolby Theatre with Walk of Fame stars running past the front door, this hotel is steeped in Hollywood history. Marilyn Monroe lived here for a year before she got her break. There are events on for VIPs and stars all the time, but the public can also use the pool for the price of just food and drink - and we're not talking mega bucks - to sunbathe to the sounds of the resident DJ and who knows, maybe you'll be lounging beside Brad Pitt. Sans chicken suit.

- nzherald.co.nz