HOLLYWOOD - When Hollywood was its own little town at the start of the 20th century, it banned movie theatres and liquor, except for medicinal purposes. That ended quickly when movie studios arrived and a louche Los Angeles annexed the upstart.

Today, Hollywood is at the crossroads of creativity and business, generating $35 billion a year at the global film box office and drawing 40 million tourists annually. At this time each year, the film community congregates for Hollywood’s biggest night, the Oscars. This year’s star-studded awards take place at the Dolby Theatre on March 2. It’s not all debauchery and late-night clubbing in Hollywood, although there is a lot of that. This neighbourhood in the heart of Los Angeles also boasts healthy alternatives, from the latest offbeat workouts to wheatgrass shots. Whether you are hip and gorgeous or trying to get there, an aspiring actor or couch-bound film critic, here are tips to experience Hollywood from Reuters, whose 2,600 journalists around the world offer visitors the best local insights.

The Walk of Fame is Hollywood’s stamp of achievement, honouring stars from film, music, television and radio along Hollywood Boulevard. But if you don’t want to wear out your heels or mix with the hoards, the best place to embrace the stars is the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Located opposite the famed TLC Chinese Theatres, formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theatres, the Roosevelt at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard is steeped in Tinseltown history. (www.thompsonhotels.com/hotels/la/hollywood-roosevelt) From the grand entrance and ballroom that hosted the inaugural Academy Awards in 1929 to the Marilyn Monroe suite, it offers glimpses of the stars that have walked through.

The penthouse, named after screen legends Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, is where the couple used to sneak to after premieres at Grauman’s. If soaking up sunshine is your goal, the Roosevelt cabanas and pool featuring David Hockney’s mural of painted geometric curves - the setting for Monroe’s first paid photoshoot - is a perfect spot.

If walls could talk, the gothic-style Chateau Marmont hotel at 8221 Sunset Boulevard would have the most enticing stories.