Los Angeles Two Ways

Whether you're a film buff or a foodie L.A. is sure to thrill 

In honour of the 87th Academy Awards, which are set to take place in L.A. this year on February 22, here are some Oscar-worthy spots where visiting film fans can discover some little-known Hollywood lore or order a meal served up with a side of celebrity.

For Film Buffs 

Every true-blue TV and film aficionado should take the time to check out some of the area’s lesser-known Hollywood gems.  

Start with a trip to Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. This leafy little square is the final resting place of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Marilyn Monroe. Her mausoleum square stands out—visitors frequently plant lipstick-laden kisses on it, and its marble facade has been worn pink by daily cleanings. 

For something a little livelier, head to Sunset Tower Hotel. An art deco masterpiece set in the heart of the Sunset Strip, this former apartment building was once home to a who’s who of Hollywood’s Golden Age. When John Wayne lived there, he kept a cow on his terrace so he could have fresh milk each day. Another famous resident, Truman Capote, noted (in a typed letter that now hangs on the wall)  that this was the place where “every scandal that ever happened, happened.”  

A daytime visit to Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills is another must. Home to one of the city’s most infamous, real-life murder mysteries (that of oil tycoon heir Ned Doheny), this former mansion is now a city park where the public is free to roam the manicured grounds. It has also served as a prime filming location for some of Hollywood’s biggest films, including Spider-Man, The Social Network and the X-Men franchise, where it stood in as the academy used to school young mutants. 

For Foodies 

If you’re looking to pair celebrity sightings with star-worthy culinary experiences, L.A. can deliver. 

Most visitors to the city tend to go to Craig’s for the celebrity spotting—everyone from George Clooney to Deepak Chopra has been seen here—but they stay for the food. Owner Craig Susser has filled the menu with a variety of throwback American classics, from chicken Parm to meat loaf, and it’s these favourites that keep bringing the stars (and everyone else) back.

It you’re planning to check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame, be sure to head to nearby Musso and Frank Grill afterward. Celebrated in some of the city’s best-known noir novels and a few films (including Ocean’s Eleven), Musso and Frank is an old-school establishment where bow-tied waiters have been serving up the best spaghetti and meatballs in town for almost a century.

Another Hollywood institution is Barney’s Beanery, a proudly raffish Tex-Mex spot that has served its fair share of legends including Janis Joplin, whose name is carved into a tabletop that now hangs from the ceiling, and Quentin Tarantino, who wrote most of Pulp Fiction at Table 18. (Celebrity-seeking tip: according to the servers at Barney’s, Tarantino still comes by and orders chili in the wee hours of the morning.)

Getting There: WestJet flies to L.A. 32 times a week from Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.