Hello, Hollywood (No, not that one!)
For a chilled, beach-side vacation on the gold coast of Florida head to Hollywood. No, not that Hollywood! Hollywood, Florida is a beautiful city located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and is situated right on the gold coast – hence its nickname, the “diamond of the golden coast”. The city itself was actually founded less than 100 years ago in 1925 by the entrepreneur, Joseph Young. He envisioned Hollywood as being a dream city on the east coast, even going so far as to name it after that infinitely glamourous tinseltown over on the west coast.
Whilst the city may lack the appeal of other exotic beachside locations, it is an absolute gem of a destination for a relaxed and lazy getaway in the sun. From the stunning beaches, to the 2-mile oceanfront boardwalk and plenty of museums and activities to keep the most cultured visitor happy, you should definitely say ‘hello’ to Hollywood during your next holiday.
Where to Stay
Beachside resorts, friendly motels, hotels, villas….there is an absolute wealth of accommodation to choose from in Hollywood. Since it’s your first time visiting the city you’ll probably want to spend a lot of your time relaxing on the beach, so it’s best to choose a resort or hotel near it. The optimistically named Caribbean Resort by the Ocean, located right next to Hollywood Beach, offers mid-priced, compact rooms that are within reach of most budgets. However, if you really want to push the boat out and indulge in luxury, book a suite at the recently renovated (to the tune of $100 million) Diplomat Resort. If hotels or resorts aren’t your thing, it’s worth scouring websites like TripAdvisor.com and the ubiquitous Airbnb for beachside condos or apartments that you can rent. Just like any other oceanfront city, a number of holiday lets become available in residential buildings during the peak season, which often work out cheaper to rent if you’re planning to stay for a couple of weeks or more.
What to Do
If you can tear yourself away from the beach and the charming boardwalk, you’ll find plenty of activities and entertainment on offer throughout the rest of the city! Your first port of call should be the Hollywood Arts and Culture Center, which serves double duty as both an exhibition/gallery space and an entertainment venue. The center holds a number of exhibitions that showcase the artistic culture of both past and present Hollywood. Current exhibitions include Center to Center (running until January 6th, 2019), which collects together the works of alumni from Artcenter who are all “committed to continued production that supports other artists and social practice”. The center’s event schedule varies throughout the year, but includes dance performances, musical concerts and more.
Speaking of entertainment, a visit to Hollywood’s own Hard Rock Center should be on your must-do list. The hotel at the Hard Rock Seminole is closed for refurbishment until autumn 2019, but the venue itself still offers plenty of classic ‘Hard Rock’- style entertainment and nightlife options. In fact, the line-up of events for the rest of 2018 at this venue is as eclectic and diverse as we’ve come to expect from this international brand: rock god Marilyn Manson and grunge icons Alice In Chains will be performing at the Hard Rock Cafe, Neil Burge’s ‘100 Years of Broadway’ will be chasse-ing into the Entertainment center, and over in the luxurious casino poker fans can enjoy the action on the felt during the Hollywood stop of the legendary Chris Moneymaker’s PSPC tour.
After all that culture and entertainment, head downtown to the luscious Anniversary Park, which is renowned for its exceptional foliage including magnolia trees and magnificent, leafy oaks. There are even bamboo groves and flower gardens to explore, and the various playgrounds and play areas will keep children of all ages amused. Don’t forget to walk past the Downtown Hollywood Art Mural for some captivating public art; you can even catch live artists at work if you visit the mural as part of the city’s regular ArtWalks (held on the third Saturday of every month).
Where to Eat
As you might expect from a city in South Florida, the culinary scene in Hollywood is incredibly diverse with Mediterranean, Asian, French and classic American flavors on offer. Monkitail, situated in the Diplomat resort, offers a modern take on Japanese Izakaya cuisine from celebrity chef Michael Schulson. The 10-dish tasting menu enables you to try a bit of everything, and will certainly leave you feeling satiated and nourished! A La Turca, on Harrison St, and La Flambe on Hollywood Boulevard specialise in delicious Turkish and French cuisine, and over on the Boardwalk you’ll find a classic American grillhouse with a twist – Hollywood Grill.
Founder Joseph Young’s house – a stunning example of the 1920’s architecture in Hollywood
Sure, this Hollywood will probably never attract the same crowds and attention that its namesake does, but all the better for it. Artistic, colorful and filled with classic 1920’s architecture, Hollywood stands proud as an eclectic and enriching destination.