Just east of Beverly Hills and west of downtown Hollywood -- bordered by Sunset to the north and Melrose to the south-- it’s a thriving LGBTQ community anchored in haute, cocktail, and musical couture. This hyper-liberal and super-accepting neighborhood, also known as WeHo, brilliantly infuses high-glam fashion, culture, nightlife, and entertainment into one tidy little package. It’s also home to the Sunset Strip, one of the most well known streets in the U.S., as well as world-renowned hotspots like the Chateau Marmont, Standard Hotel or Mondrian Hotels. Get tipsy at The Den, Bar Lubitsch, or the rowdy Saddle Ranch Chophouse, or explore the numerous array of art and design galleries, many of which feature some of the world’s most impeccably-designed urban décor and furniture exhibits. This warm, welcoming, and audacious city is a must-see for any Los Angeles traveler—it’s “1.9 square miles of creativity, energy and style in the ‘Heart of L.A.’” for sure!
WeHo is not so much a place to see things (like museums or movie studios) as it is a place to do things. There’s tons to keep you busy with such as going to a nightclub, eating at a world-famous restaurant, or attending an art gallery opening. Since the end of Prohibition era, the infamous Sunset Strip has become Hollywood's nighttime playground, where celebs of all sorts headed on out to chic nightclubs like the Trocadero and Ciro's, or more well-established clubs like the House of Blues and the constantly paparazzi-filled member-only Soho House. Get groovy with live music at venues such Whisky-a-Go-Go and The Viper Room, or admire rare rock-and-roll photography at the iconic Andaz West Hollywood, which once played host to legendary rockers that roamed the strip. There’s even a slew of restaurants and alfresco dining options all throughout town with everything from Eveleigh (for small plates in a garden-style setting), Pearl’s Liquor Bar (for a speakeasy experience with a rooftop bar and handcrafted cocktails), Katana (for a chic dining spot that serves robatayaki-style Japanese cuisine in a sleek outdoor patio), and Griddle Cafe (for unique and traditional breakfast or brunch faves), to the critically acclaimed Nobu resteraunt, Hugo's (which offers plenty of vegan, gluten-free, and organic options for the health-obsessed), and the ever-so-hip BOA Steakhouse, offering what Sunset Magazine says is “quite simply one of the best steaks in America.” There's definitely no shortage of superb restaurants in West Hollywood that are both affordable and ostentatious!
Aside from all that star-studded madness and good food, however, there’s also an incredibly thriving interior-design and art-gallery scene to check out, which is proudly exemplified by the Cesar Pelli-designed Pacific Design Center located on Melrose Avenue. It’s one of the most beloved buildings in WeHo, a 14-acre tri-colored architectural landmark known as the “Blue Whale” that presents almost a hundred international design boutiques and showrooms. Design-lovers can also visit the Restoration Hardware gallery located right across the street, featuring the nation’s largest multi-level showroom complete with an outdoor rooftop collection providing great cityscape views. Fashion aficionados can fawn over the tucked-away Melrose Place, with shops like Vera Wang and Alexander McQueen sandwiched in between trendy local coffee shops and salons. Be sure to snap a photo in front of WeHo’s famous colorful rainbow crosswalks, located at the intersection of Santa Monica and San Vicente Boulevard-- a popular destination within the LGBT community, as well as a prime spot in the city’s annual Gay Pride Parade, one of the largest in the nation, drawing tens of thousands of participants each June. Plus, the three-block stretch of Wilshire Boulevard known as Museum Row (east of Fairfax Avenue) has five intriguing museums to explore and a prehistoric tar pit to dig into, while the the historic Farmers Market and The Grove shopping mall are also just a few blocks away (both are great place to people-watch over breakfast!). You’ll also be able to end your days with some awesome laughs at one of the many comedy clubs across the city, including The Laugh Factory, The Comedy Store, and the Hollywood Improv. Don’t be surprised if a top comic like Louis C.K, Chris Rock, or Jim Carrey stops by for an unannounced appearance during your show!
As the the cultural and geographical heart of the Los Angeles region, getting the chance to explore some of the biggest and best attractions of the Southern California area is nothing more than a simple breeze in West Hollywood-- the entire area is surrounded by must-see hotspots in every direction. Head on westward for the gorgeous beaches of Santa Monica, Malibu, and Venice, or go east to Downtown’s Disney Concert Hall or LA Live. If you choose to trek further north, there’s the Hollywood Bowl as well as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in the opposite direction, there are the La Brea Tar Pits and the LACMA in the south. For recreational enthusiasts, hike, bike, and do some outdoor yoga over at Runyon Canyon, which is nestled into the famous Hollywood Hills. Plus, there’s the Fashion District for shopaholics hunting for major bargains, as well as the famous Union Station, the Griffith Observatory, kid faves like Universal Studios or the L.A. Zoo, as well as the acclaimed Getty Center. No matter if you walk, bike, drive or take public transit, West Hollywood is the perfect jumping-off and starting point to enjoy L.A.’s hottest attractions. What’s more is that after a long day of adventures, you can always come back to a thriving restaurant and nightlife scene to party it on up!
There’s no shortage of hotels all along the Sunset Strip-- which also happens to house some of the hottest nightlife in town. So put on that party dress, strap on some high heels, and head on out for an unforgettable evening before hitting the hay at one of the many mighty fine luxury hotels in the area. For those hoping to dodge the hipster crowds, there are also suave local favorites like the Andaz and the London which tend to have larger rooms and less hefty prices, as well as historic, value, and green accommodation options as well. You even have the option of renting out various sized rooms or houses, or going the hostel route with Banana Bungalow Hostel. No matter where you are looking to stay, WeHo offers the perfect pillow for every type of traveler.
Los Angeles may be home to extremely difficult traffic, expensive parking, and sometimes limited public transportation, but it’s also a must-see and do location on any travel bucket list that’s necessary to make a visit out towards at least once in every lifetime. But with so many historic landmarks, interesting neighborhoods, and exciting attractions to check out—and a far less diverse array of transportation options-- things can often get a bit chaotic. Fortunately, there are still a variety of ways to explore the city by getting behind the wheel, using a bit of pedal power, or letting someone else take the driver’s seat.
Major routes such as Interstates 405, 10, and 5 provide easy access to navigate the city, while lots of bike paths welcome bicyclists to ride through the lane-marked streets. Metro Services even offers options for riding via subway trains, light rail, and buses. Plus, with airports including the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Bob Hope Airport (BUR), or Ontario Airport (ONT) nearby, not to mention Amtrak and Greyhound stations for those hoping to stay more grounded, there are more than plenty of ways to get in and around those busy WeHo streets.
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