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Famous streets across America

Courtesy Richmond Metro CVB

A real estate developer coined the term Magnificent Mile for a stretch of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, and the term has become indelibly associated with the Windy City.

Broadway not only is a main thoroughfare in New York City, it has become synonymous with live theater, and the stretch that runs through Times Square is an iconic symbol for the city.

“When people think of New York City, this is one of the first things they think of. It is one of the most popular attractions in the city,” said Chris Heywood, vice president of travel and tourism public relations for NYC and Company, the city’s convention and visitors bureau.

Stars’ names implanted in the sidewalk and star-studded movie premieres have made Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles famous.

Famous American streets have become destinations in themselves, with popular attractions, hotels, restaurants, theaters, shops and special events. Here are a few streets worth a visit.

Broadway and Fifth Avenue

New York
Although Broadway runs the entire length of Manhattan, the stretch of the street that has made it synonymous with live theater is concentrated between West 34th Street and West 57th Street, an area that includes the Theater District and Times Square.

“It [Times Square] really is the crossroads of the world,” Heywood said. “When people think of the 24-hour vibrancy of the city, you can feel that most when you are in the heart of Times Square surrounded by the iconic billboards and theaters.

“There is so much to see and do: shopping, dining, theaters.”

Times Square has become more inviting now that the city has closed a five-block area between 42nd and 47th streets to vehicles and made it a pedestrian plaza, complete with outdoor furniture and public art.

“It’s much easier to navigate the area,” said Heywood. “Making it more pedestrian-friendly is a reflection of the city, which is one of the best walking cities in the world.”

A new program that officially debuted May 1 features three-minute video art presentations each night on several large electronic billboards in Times Square as a countdown to midnight.

After watching the electronic arrival of midnight, you could move to the 24-hour Apple store on Fifth Avenue, another iconic New York City street.

“It is the shopping backbone of the city,” said Heywood. “All the major brands have a presence on Fifth Avenue.”

Also along Fifth Avenue are the New York Public Library and its famous lion statues, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, access to Rockefeller Center and upscale restaurants and hotels.

“And Central Park is right there at 59th Street,” said Heywood.

Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles
Unless you are there for the annual Academy Awards, you probably won’t run into any movie stars along Hollywood Boulevard. However, there’s still plenty of movie history, glamour and glitz along the famous street.

You can walk up a simulated red carpet that leads to the Dolby Theatre, scene of the annual Oscar ceremonies, and take a behind-the-scenes tour that includes the lobby bar where several Oscars are displayed, and a balcony view of the 3,000-seat auditorium.

The theater, the permanent home of the Cirque du Soleil show “Iris: A Journey Through the World of Cinema,” is part of the Hollywood and Highland shopping, dining and entertainment complex, which features mosaics in its center court with scenes from Hollywood history.

Famous entertainment celebrities are honored with stars of pink terrazzo and brass set in the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre has the handprints, footprints and other prints — such as the noses of Jimmy Durante and Bob Hope — set in concrete.

Built in 1927, Grauman’s, with its gold-and-red decor, is still used as a movie theater, as is the Egyptian Theatre, also built by Sid Grauman in the 1920s. The Egyptian Theatre also has tours and shows a 55-minute film about Hollywood history.

Film history is also on display at the Art Deco-style Hollywood Museum, just off Hollywood Boulevard, with its extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia, and the old-style 46-year-old Hollywood Wax Museum is one of the longest-running wax museums in the United States.

Monument Avenue
Richmond, Va.
Richmond’s scenic Monument Avenue was developed in 1890 around the first statue to be erected of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. “It now has a total of six monuments,” said Janie Lawson, group tour manager for the Richmond Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The monuments along the tree-lined avenue include four other Confederate leaders — Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Matthew Fontaine Maury — and one of the late Richmond native and tennis star Arthur Ashe.

“It is a beautiful, beautiful street,” said Lawson. “It has a historic feel to it. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a main thoroughfare in Richmond and a street everyone uses on a regular basis.”

The monuments are located on a grassy median or in the centers of traffic circles, and the avenue is lined in many sections with stately Victorian and early-20th-century houses, churches and apartment houses.

The street leads to several of Richmond’s top attractions, which are located just off it, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Virginia Historical Society, the Science Museum of Virginia and the Children’s Museum of Richmond.

At Easter, a few blocks of the avenue are closed for the annual Easter on Parade. “People just stroll along the street in their Easter bonnets and finest Easter garb,” said Lawson. “They even dress up their dogs. There are some vendors and entertainment. It is a Richmond family tradition.”