Why You Should Put West Hollywood On Your Itinerary

West Hollywood Sunset Strip

The famous Sunset Strip begins and ends in West Hollywood.

Known colloquially by locals as WeHo, West Hollywood is a small city in the heart of the Los Angeles behemoth. It’s commonly thought of as an L.A. neighborhood but is in fact a city in its own right, tucked between Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

Located at the base of the Hollywood Hills and adjacent to Beverly Hills, it is a creative, progressive city that embodies the quintessential L.A. lifestyle. It is comprised of three main districts: the world-famous Sunset Strip with its buzzing nightlife, eclectic and LGBTQ-friendly Santa Monica Boulevard, and the Design District known for its shopping and dining.

West Hollywood is “not Hollywood but (is) the party address after awards are won,” says the tourist office blurb.

Surprisingly in a land where cars rule, West Hollywood is largely walkable, being not quite 5 square kilometres in size. We used Uber to get to some of the places mentioned here, and on a couple of occasions, even used public buses (along Melrose Drive coming back from Gracias Madre, for instance). Quelle horreur, who catches a bus in L.A.? We did, and it was clean, cheap and convenient.

Here’s why you should put West Hollywood on your L.A. itinerary.

West Hollywood Design District - Robertson Bouevard

Style seekers are drawn to the West Hollywood Design District.

West Hollywood Design District

Flagship stores for some of the world’s top labels, local boutiques, art galleries, interior design showrooms, top spas and salons, and chic eateries draw style-seekers to this distinguished design district at the intersections of Melrose Avenue, Beverly Boulevard and Robertson Boulevard.

World-renowned fashion retailers include Alberta Ferretti, Christian Louboutin, Moschino and Stella McCartney, mixed in with local favorites such as H. Lorenzo (H-L-N-R), Jenni Kayne, The Elder Statesman and Maxfield.

Don’t miss the Pacific Design Center at 8687 Melrose Avenue, a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art with rotating exhibits celebrating architecture and design (free entry).

The Sunset Strip

Setting trends in music, hotels, dining and shopping, this most famous stretch of Sunset Boulevard has seen it all over the years, from the seedy glitz of the 1920s to the swanky nightclubs of the 1940s, the counterculture movement of the 1960s, and the punk and new wave scene of the late 1970s.

Beginning and ending in West Hollywood, the strip has been portrayed in numerous movies and is constantly reinventing itself. Shop during the day at Sunset Plaza, drink in cool bars at the Sunset Tower Hotel and Mondrian L.A., or listen to music at The Roxy Theatre, Whisky a Go Go or The Viper Room.

The Cannabis-themed Sour T-Iesel at Gracias Madre.

The Cannabis-themed Sour T-Iesel at Gracias Madre.

Vegan Mexican Hotspot

When you’re ready for a break, enjoy organic coffee and people-watching at trendy Alfred Coffee {In the Alley} or eco-friendly coffee roaster Verve. For restaurants, consider the chic and elegant Cecconi’s, reality show hotspot SUR Restaurant, the intimate and classic Craig’s, or vegan Mexican hotspot Gracias Madre.

With a huge outdoor patio that is the perfect spot for celebrity spotting, Gracias Madre does enchiladas, tacos, and tamales as you’ve never had them before. And the desserts and cocktails are pretty special too, including the cannabis-themed Sour T-iesel, made with Tequila and CBD oil.

www.graciasmadreweho.com

West Hollywood Sunset Hike IMG_5523 Sunset at Observatory

Enjoying the great outdoors with Bikes and Hikes LA.

Bikes and Hikes LA

As we said, the USA – and L.A. in particular – is a land where cars rule, so what better way to get some respite than do a walk or bike ride with Bikes and Hikes LA. Their experienced guides will show you a different side to this fast-paced city, allowing you to experience it in an eco-friendly, health-conscious way. We did a Sunset Hike up the Mt. Hollywood Trail in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, and were rewarded with stunning panoramic vistas and a glorious sunset viewed from the Art Deco-style Griffith Observatory.

Our guide, Andrew, was informative and entertaining, adding a completely different dimension to our stay in West Hollywood, which until this point had been all about shopping, restaurants, and the magical world of movies.

www.bikesandhikesla.com

We stayed in Los Angeles at our own expense but were hosted on the Sunset Hike and at Gracias Madre, courtesy of Visit West Hollywood, Bikes and Hikes LA and Gracias Madre. The sunset photo is our own; other photos were supplied by Visit West Hollywood.

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