From bustling Hollywood Boulevard, it's less than 10 minutes to North Hollywood's NoHo Arts District, a happening enclave where live theater—not film—is the real star.

In the town's roughly 1-square-mile/2.6-square-kilometer core, you'll find more than 20 professional theatres putting on memorable performances in L.A.'s very own version of "off-Broadway," with creative stagings and original works the norm. Here, aspiring actors gain experience, while seasoned pros (Seinfeld's Jason Alexander has performed here) sometimes show up to take a turn on the boards. What's especially great about NoHo—and unusual for the region—is that it's walkable, low-key, and unhurried. Stroll the main drag to visit vintage boutiques and mingle with local artists and actors at outdoor cafes. Or after a play, walk to dinner at such restaurants as The Federal Bar, a gastropub housed in a 1920s-era bank.

As for the shows, check out what's playing on one of the three stages at the 1926 El Portal Theater. Or catch performances presented by the acclaimed Road Theatre Company, which stages plays at two venues, including the Art Deco Lankershim Arts Center, a renovated 1939 utilities building. Inside the center, there's a bonus—airy Gallery 800, displaying paintings and other works by leading Hollywood production designers and art directors.

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Updated: 19th April, 2019 9:04 AM.