Hollywood Boulevard is a street in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, splitting off Sunset Boulevard in the east and running northwest to Vermont Avenue, where it straightens out and runs due west to Laurel Canyon Boulevard. West of Laurel Canyon, it continues as a residential street and ending at Sunset Plaza Drive. The eastern end of Hollywood Boulevard passes through Little Armenia and Thai Town. Parts of the boulevard are popular tourist destinations.
Prior to Hollywood Boulevard, the street was named Prospect Avenue until 1910, when the town of Hollywood was annexed by the City of Los Angeles. After annexation, the street numbers changed from 100 Prospect Avenue, at Vermont Avenue, to 6400 Hollywood Boulevard.
In the early 1920s, real estate developer Charles E. Toberman (the "Father of Hollywood") envisioned a thriving Hollywood theatre district. Toberman was involved in 36 projects while building the Max Factor Building, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and the Hollywood Masonic Temple. With Sid Grauman, he opened the three themed theatres: Egyptian, El Capitan ("The Captain") (1926), and Chinese.
In 1946, Gene Autry, while riding his horse in the Hollywood Christmas Parade — which passes down Hollywood Boulevard each year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving — heard young parade watchers yelling, "Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus!" and was inspired to write "Here Comes Santa Claus" with Oakley Haldeman.
In 1958, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which runs from Gower Street to La Brea Avenue (and an additional three blocks on Vine Street), was created as a tribute to artists working in the entertainment industry.
The El Capitan Theatre was refurbished in 1991 then damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The full El Capitan building was fully restored and upgraded in 000000001997-12-01-0000December 1997. The Hollywood Entertainment District, a self-taxing business improvement district, was formed for the properties from La Brea to McCadden on the boulevard.
The Hollywood extension of the Metro Red Line subway was opened in June 1999, running from Downtown Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley. Stops on Hollywood Boulevard are located at Western Avenue, Vine Street, and Highland Avenue. Metro Local lines 180, 181, and 217, and Metro Rapid line 780 also serve Hollywood Boulevard. An anti-cruising ordinance prohibits driving on parts of the boulevard more than twice in four hours.
Beginning in 1995, then Los Angeles City Council member Jackie Goldberg initiated efforts to clean up Hollywood Boulevard and reverse its decades-long slide into disrepute. Central to these efforts was the construction of the Hollywood and Highland Center and adjacent Dolby Theatre (originally known as the Kodak Theater) in 2001.
In early 2006, the city made revamping plans on Hollywood Boulevard for future tourists. The three-part plan was to exchange the original streetlights with red stars into two-headed old-fashioned streetlights, put in new palm trees, and put in new stoplights. The renovations were completed in late 2006.
In the few years leading up to 2007, more than $2 billion was spent on projects in the neighborhood, including mixed-use retail and apartment complexes and new schools and museums.
A popular event that takes place on the Boulevard is the complete transformation of the street to a Christmas theme. Shops and department stores attract customers by lighting their stores and the entire street with decorated Christmas trees and Christmas lights. The street essentially becomes "Santa Claus Lane."