6 Reasons Why a Cemetery Is the Hollywood Happy Place You Need to Visit

Leave it to Los Angeles to upend the whole usual staid cemetery trope. Hollywood Forever is a spot that’s full of music (concerts), media (outdoor movie nights) and performance history (rock stars! movie legends!). Add in wandering peacocks and shady spots for chill afternoon picnics (yep, graveyard picnics are a thing), and this. place. has. everything....including fall’s party of the year that you’ll want to buy tickets for now.

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1. It's The Coolest Movie Venue

On the broad Fairbanks Lawn, right next to the most elegant reflecting pool and some historic boulders shipped from China, pull up a blanket and settle in to watch movies like The BirdcageLegally Blonde and Twilight. (Check out the full schedule here.) Show up right when the doors open at 6:45 p.m. to enjoy a pre-show picnic and DJ set. 

Hollywood Forever/Tony Corella

2. You Can Hear Big Names Play Intimate Shows

In the 1920s-era Masonic Lodge on the grounds, you can catch concerts featuring big names (Johnny Marr, Depeche Mode and Billy Corgan) and emerging talent—in a tiny wood-beamed room that holds only 120 people.

Hollywood Forever

3. So Many Famous People Are Buried Here

This is the most star-studded burial ground outside Paris’s Père Lachaise, and like that graveyard great, Hollywood Forever has celebrities to appeal to every generation. You’ll find not only classic silver-screen stars such as Judy Garland (in her own building, where daughter Liza Minnelli had her moved from New York in 2017) and Rudolph Valentino but also modern rock stars, including two members of the Ramones (Johnny and Dee Dee) and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, who was buried there in 2017. Ask for a map at the entrance, and make sure to stop for a small bouquet to leave as a tribute.

Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images

4. All The Parties Are Hip, But Fashion

Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele was so inspired by the cemetery’s louche glamour that it inspired a sunglasses collection and a fragrance. In November 2018, he held Gucci Guilty’s launch party on the grounds, with guests including Lana Del Rey and Jared Leto. Cool kids flock to literary galas and listening parties here too.


5. The Peacocks Are Dying To Class Up Your Social Media

Dozens of richly hued peacocks and peahens live here, spending nights and nap times in their roost on the eastern edge of the grounds. There’s one pure-white peacock, which we like to say is good luck to spot. A colony of feral cats has made peace with their feathered mortal enemies.

Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto/Getty Images

6. It’s Home To The Most Epic Day Of The Dead Celebration Outside Mexico

This year marks the 20th annual Dia de Los Muertos celebration at Hollywood Forever, when families commemorate their loved ones by building altars in remembrance and dressing up in fanciful skeleton-inspired costumes. This year, the November 2 celebration’s theme is the monarch butterfly; the winged insect’s annual migration is a metaphor for migrants and dreamers in the world. Music plays and the drinks flow from noon until midnight. Buy tickets early to avoid the lines snaking down Santa Monica Boulevard.

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