Conquer This Wonderfully Overwhelming City With An LA Native
More than 10 million people call Los Angeles their home. With beautiful weather practically year round, eclectic neighborhoods, an exuberant and flourishing Downtown, and trendsetting restaurants and clubs opening almost every weekend – there’s no question why so many people have planted their roots for generations or have come from all over the world to the City of Angels. Needless to say, the ocean lined drive down Pacific Coast Highway alone is worth the visit. Rather grand and with so much to see and do, Los Angeles can be an overwhelming city even for a local. This comprehensive guide will not only highlight the must-see attractions that you’re already familiar with, but will also provide you with an Angeleno’s favorite local spots spread throughout this amazing city.
You will learn about the different shopping experiences within Los Angeles. From grand designer filled shopping malls to local flea markets, this guide provides options for every budget. Once you arrive to Los Angeles, you’ll notice the magnificent landscapes and picturesque sceneries. Explore the natural beauty that hugs this melting pop by taking popular hikes through mountains and hidden stairs – both with gorgeous views that will take your breath away both literally and figuratively.
With detailed and unique things to do in the most popular neighborhoods in Los Angeles, your trip will take you beyond the Hollywood Walk of Fame. From the famous beaches along the West Coast to the canyons of Pasadena, you will learn about different places throughout this great big city that you’ve probably never even heard of. You will also explore Los Angeles’ artistic and culturally enriched hubs. And since one of the best ways to learn about a culture is through its food, local favorite dining options are offered in each neighborhood. You’ll be able to try the best Korean BBQ in Korea Town, a taco sampler to die for in Boyle Heights, the best Chicago pizza in Echo Park, and much more.
Angel Knollls Bench by Diana Ballesteros
Still, there’s no visit to LA without a taste of Hollywood! In the guide you will also find famous shooting locations, such as the house from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and the bench overlooking Downtown Los Angeles in the romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer. Have a drink at the booth where Quentin Tarantino wrote much of Pulp Fiction or at one of the many bars on Sunset Blvd. – the bedrock of pop culture and history.
Although Los Angeles natives love their home town, there’s nothing like exploring the rest of the Golden State. In only a few hours you can arrive at beautiful getaways that will make your trip to Southern California worthwhile. Visit the birthplace of California in San Diego; go on a walking wine tour in Santa Barbara; or camp out in the Joshua Tree National park. With an overview of Angelenos’ favorite weekend vacation spots, you’ll be able to choose wisely. So take a journey with a proud Angeleno and see all the wonderful things Los Angeles has to offer.
Good To Know
Tipping: Appreciated, but not required…in most cases
If you’re from the United States or have previously visited you’re familiar with the tipping etiquette. However, other countries and even other states within the United States have a different take on tipping that could lead to a smug look from your server or even being chased out of the restaurant to pay up (in extreme cases).
In most circumstances tipping is appreciated, but not required. The main exception is in sit-down restaurants where a minimum of 15 percent is expected. Some restaurants include a gratuity fee in your bill, especially if you have a party of five or more; an additional tip is at your discretion. Of course, a tip is a sign of appreciation for good service and while tipping is a standard common curtesy, you should not have to cough up money if you were not satisfied. Besides your restaurant servers, it is also common to tip service people such as valets attendants and bartenders a couple of dollars.
Tip: If you don’t have enough time to do the math after a delicious meal served by your gracious server, double the sales tax amount on your bill to calculate your tip amount and round up. In California, the sales tax ranges from 7.25 to 8.75 percent depending on the city, so you will be leaving a tip of at least 15 percent.
Age is NOT just a number
The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 and the legal tobacco consumption age is 18. Expect to be asked for identification when purchasing any of these substances or entering a bar or club. ID cards or drivers licenses from other countries are often not accepted as a form of identification, so it is recommended to carry your passport.
Keep your eyes on the road and your booze in the trunk!
The last thing you need during your trip to LA is a ticket or a night in the drunk tank. Besides the obvious traffic laws, there are some situations you want to avoid.
Texting and driving has been banned in California since 2008, but continued accidents due to distracted drivers have led to police crackdown on technology use. Whether you’re scrolling down your Facebook newsfeed or simply changing the song on your playlist, if an officer catches you with your phone or any technology in your hand you’re looking at a ticket of approximately $160-$280. It is however legal to talk on your phone as long as you’re using a hands-free device such as a headset.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances is highly regulated in California. While the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08%, should an officer believe you’re impaired you can still spend a night in jail with a ‘wet and reckless’ charge even if you’re below the legal blood alcohol limit. Although this is not exactly a DUI (Driving under the Influence) you will still be arrested and charged.
Besides booze in your system, keep mind of the booze in your car. Should you have an Open container of alcohol, be sure to have it in your trunk as open alcohol containers in the car are prohibited. There are occasional police check points on major streets, especially on weekends and holidays.
Getting Around Los Angeles
Myth or Fact: You cannot get around LA without a car
If you’ve expressed your plan to visit Los Angeles, it is very likely that someone has told you that you will not be able to get around without a car. Unfortunately, there is some truth to that. Los Angeles County is the second largest metropolitan area in the United States and its neighborhoods are quite spread out. While you can snowboard and surf on the same day if you’re in Southern California, chances are you will need a car. However, recent upgrades in the public transportation system have made it easier for locals and tourists to get around. If you want to explore LA without the daunting experience of trying to figure out the freeways or having to make sense of the five different NO PARKING signs in one spot; your best bet is using the Los Angeles Metro Rail. Keep in mind that this will limit your trip a bit as it does not reach all neighborhoods.
PARK(ing) by collectmoments – Source: Flickr
Here is a breakdown of the Los Angeles Metro Rail System.
Redline Subway: Serves North Hollywood, Hollywood, Thai Town, Chinatown and Downtown Los Angeles. End-stations are North Hollywood and Union Station.
Gold Line – Light Rail: Serves Pasadena, Little Tokyo, Chinatown and East Los Angeles. End stations are Sierra Madre Villa and Atlantic.
Purple Line – Subway: Serves downtown Los Angeles and Koreatown. End stations are Union Station and Wilshire/Western.
Blue Line – Light Rail: Serves downtown, Watts, and Long Beach. End stations are 7th Street Metro Center and Long Beach Transit Mall.
Green Line – Light Rail: Serves Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the South Bay and Norwalk. End stations are Norwalk and Redondo.
Expo Line – Light Rail: Serves downtown Los Angeles, Exposition Park, USC and Culver City. End stations are Culver City and 7th.
LYFT by Alfredo Mendez – Source: Flickr
Let’s Uber it! Ridesharing in Los Angeles
Sometimes you want to get around faster, but you don’t want to deal with driving. For the most part, unless you’re in an area populated with hotels, clubs or bars; you will not be able to just flag a cab on the street. If you’re able to and you find yourself far from your destination, it is likely that you will spend a pretty penny. If you find yourself stranded or simply want a faster way to your destination, you might want to try ridesharing apps – the most popular and trusted being Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.
Ridesharing apps are the latest craze that have given Angelenos the opportunity to make extra money on the side and have offered an alternative way for residents and tourist to get around. A background check is conducted on all drivers. In order to use this service you must download the app. Once you have downloaded the app and entered your payment information, it will show you the nearest drivers in your area. You will be asked for your destination and a driver will accept and offer you the ride. Varied options are available with each app. Once you have arrived at your destination, your fare will be charged to the provided credit card. At no point will you have to use cash unless you’d like to give the driver a tip.
Tip: Do a quick search for promotional codes on your preferred search engine or on the apps’ social media sites as they usually offer an introductory discount or credit.
Plan Ahead and Save
Los Angeles is becoming an increasingly expensive city to live in, let alone have a social life. Savvy Angelenos have turned to popular online lifestyle coupon sites such as Groupon.com and Travelzoo.com to find great discounts and even try new things. Groupon offers hundreds of discounts on getaways, local restaurants and bars, beauty and exercise regimens and much more. Travelzoo caters more to tourists; mainly offering discounts on restaurants, hotels, and travel excursions. If you’re on a slim budget, or you simply want to make the most of your travel experience be sure to check out these sites when planning your trip. Keep in mind that there are restrictions and blackout dates so be sure to read the fine print!
Tip: Before booking any restaurant dining coupons, consult Yelp.com or the Yelp’s app. Yelp offers reviews and usually detailed comments and suggestions. This is a great site when you’re on the hunt for nearby dining options and even attractions once you’re in Los Angeles.
Worth The Excess Baggage Fee
The Grove LA by Prayitno – Source: Flickr
Shop til’ you drop in LA’s best indoor and outdoor malls
If you want to do some serious shopping, Los Angeles has a lot to offer with both its indoor and outdoor shopping centers.
With old-fashioned trolley rides and magnificent dancing fountains, The Grove (189 The Grove Dr., Los Angeles) is perhaps one of the best shopping experiences. Offering great shopping and dining selection, you can easily spend an entire day here. E! News shoots live segments at The Grove so you can expect to see camera crews. You might even have the opportunity to receive special gifts and interact with the show’s hosts and guests. Adjacent to The Grove at Third and Fairfax, you can also visit the Original Farmers Market which features more than 100 restaurants, grocers, and tourist shops.
The great thing about open air shopping centers is that you can enjoy the beautiful California weather, shop and have a great meal all in one place. The Century City Shopping Center (10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City) has a fabulous dining and shopping selection. You will find brands ranging from H&M to Louis Vuitton. If it seems familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it on Crazy, Stupid, Love with Ryan Gosling and Steve Carol.
Located in West Los Angeles, the Beverly Center (8500 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles) is an indoor mall with some of the ritziest shops around. Here you will find over 160 brand name stores including Dior and Diesel. It is located in West Los Angeles between Beverly Hills and Hollywood. This mall attracts a lot of tourist, and does a great job at appeasing its customers. Foreign language directories and translators are available in Spanish, Japanese and Chinese through Guest Services. Special tourism promotions are available including hotel shuttle service, fashion consultations, spa packages and dining discounts.
The Glendale Galleria (100 W Broadway, Glendale) is also a large indoor mall with more than 260 stores and restaurants on three levels. While not as ritzy as the Beverly Center, the Glendale Galleria offers a great selection of name brand clothes including Coach and BEBE. Just down the street you can also explore the Americana at Brand – an outdoor shopping center with more luxurious brands, great dining and a movie theatre.
Bargain hunting in LA
If you’re in the mood to bargain hunt or to take home some unique items, you might want to check out Los Angeles’ outlets, flea markets and the infamous Alley.
The Citadel Outlets (100 Citadel Dr., Los Angeles) is the closest outlet to Los Angeles. Here you can find 115 brand name stores including Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, and Kate Spade-just to name a few. The outlet features a large food court and a Starbucks, just in case you need to take a break from shopping.
If your schedule allows you to take a bit of a drive, you might want to check out the Camarillo Outlets (740 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo). An hour north of Los Angeles, you will find great deals on brands like 7 For All Mankind, Ann Taylor, AG Adriano Goldschmied, BCBG Max Azria, J.Crew and Banana Republic. The outlet does get rather busy on the weekends, so don’t hesitate to grab that bargain when you first see it.
A couple of hours outside of Los Angeles near Palm Springs, the Desert Hills Premium Outlets (48400 Seminole Dr., Ste., 601, Cabazon) features 130 shops including designer shops such as Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Versace and Prada. This is one of LA’s most popular outlets for both visitors and locals alike.
Although you might not want to make an impulse buy on a mid-century sofa, flea markets are great for just browsing and taking in the California sun. The Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market (1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena) is one of the best on the west coast. With more than 2,500 vendors you can pretty much find everything from clothing to collectibles and crafts. Rain or shine, the Rose Bowl flea market is held the second Sunday of every month.
In Pasadena, you can also check out the Pasadena City College (1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena) flea market. Held the first Sunday of every month, this market is a lot smaller than the Rose Bowl flea market as it hosts only 450 vendors. If you’re in the market for vintage records you’re going to want to stop by this market as it is known for its great selection.
The Melrose Trading Post (7850 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles) is held at Fairfax high school every Sunday and is known for its occasional celebrity sightings and great selection of artsy and eclectic goods. It is a great way to spend a Sunday people watching, shopping, and enjoying great food and live music. Proceeds from the market also benefit its students.
Rose Bowl Flea Market by tofu prod – Source: Flickr
Referred to as the alley by most, the Santee Alley is a unique shopping experience for the adventurous bargain hunters. With music playing in every direction and people trying to call you to their shops, you will find more than 150 stores with thousands of items. Think of it as a bazar in the middle of Downtown LA. The quality of items vary, so keep that in mind and make sure to get a good look at what you’re buying. The Santee Alley is nestled in the fashion district. You might want to explore the surrounding area; where you will find great deals and the setting is a lot calmer.
Add A Little Sweat To Your Itinerary
In Los Angeles you will find a gym in almost every neighborhood, but the gym isn’t for everyone and with beautiful weather like California’s why be stuck indoors on a treadmill when you can go for a hike or explore the stairs throughout Los Angeles.
Hike to beautiful views
Southern California is known for its picturesque landscapes. This gives for incredible hikes that will not only get your heart rate up, but will reward you with magnificent views. There are plenty of hikes for all levels.
Hollywood: Hiking around Bronson Canyon / Griffith Park by Eli Duke – Source: Flickr
Runyon Canyon (2000 N Fuller Ave., Los Angeles) is one of the most popular hikes in Los Angeles. Its popularity is evident by the large crowds and limited parking on weekends. There are three entrances that will take you to Runyon Canyon which are on Fuller Ave. (southern), N. Vista St. (western), and Muholland Drive (northern). For someone that is not from Los Angeles, it can get rather confusing and frustrating. Your best bet is to try to arrive early or on a weekday and enter via Fuller Ave. where you should easily find parking.
Griffith Park (Western Canyon Rd., Los Angeles) is located in the Los Feliz neighborhood, on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood. Like Runyon Canyon, Griffith Park has many hiking trails with the most popular trails leading up to the Griffith Observatory. From the top of the Griffith Observatory, you’re met with a breathtaking view of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign, and if you’re there on a clear day you may even get a glimpse of the ocean.
The almost three-mile Angel’s Point hike in Elysian Park (1880 Academy Dr., Los Angeles) is relatively easy and less touristy. The trail starts at the corner of Angel’s Point Road and Stadium Way. Unfortunately, there is no parking on the side of the road. Your best bet is to park on or nearby Elysian Park Drive. The hike is a loop with a mix of rugged dirt path and paved road. It will lead you to a bluff that gives you incredible views of the Los Angeles skyline, the Dodger Stadium, and the San Gabriel Mountains.
Another popular local hike is Inspiration Point (Lake Ave. & E Loma Alta Dr. Altadena) in Altadena. The ten mile hike is rather intense and during the summer, Altadena can get really hot so go prepared. The entrance is along the driveway of the Cobb Estate. Here you’ll begin the San Merril Trail that is roughly 2.5 miles up to Echo Mountain. You can choose to end your hike here or continue onto Inspiration Point. From Echo Mountain you can either take the Sam Merril trail on the left or the Castle Canyon on the right. The Castle Canyon has more shade, but is a lot steeper and the route is narrower. At the end you will arrive at an overlook that is in itself inspiring, but you can take a look at the many telescopes that point at various locations, including Catalina Island.
Ditch the Stairmaster and discover the hidden stairs throughout LA
Within Echo Park, you will find more than 24 stairs. If you’re ever in Los Angeles for a long period of time, you can add exploring these stairs to your bucket list. Otherwise, you can start with walking the Baxter Street stairs. The 231 step stairs has a high vantage point, and will provide you with views of the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Sign, and Downtown Los Angeles. Starting point: 2101 Park Dr., Echo Park.
The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, also referred to as the Culver City stairs, leads to the top of a hill where you can see the Hollywood sign, Downtown LA and the Pacific Ocean. The 282 steps are rather steep so you’ll definitely get a good leg workout. Start at the left side of the park entrance at 6300 Hetzler Rd., Culver City.
If the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook didn’t quench your thirst for an ocean view, you might want to try the Pacific Palisades-Castellanmare stairs. The 3.2 mile path of 518 step offers magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and is easily one of the most scenic stairs you’ll experience. You can start at 17575 Pacific Coast Hwy on the lower end or 17606 Posetano Dr. on the upper end.
In-N-Out Burger – The Pride And Joy Of Many Southern Californians
Anthony Bourdain recently named In-N-Out Burger his ‘favorite restaurant in Los Angeles’. It is no surprise that he would say that about this burger joint, even with the countless fine restaurants in LA, as it is one of the pride and joys of southern Californians. Rightly so, it deserves its own section.
In-N-Out employees are not only paid better than the average fast food chains employee, but they also go through extensive training. The company has also chosen to remain private and consequently has only expanded within California and neighboring states. The result is exceptionally friendly staff and a juicy high quality burger.
In N Out by Alfredo Mendez – Source: Flickr
At first glance the menu looks rather limiting – burger, cheese burger, double-double, fries, milk shakes and beverages (literally…that is all that is listed). However, there is a ‘secret menu’ that has slowly become not-so-secret. It includes grilled cheese, a protein style cheese burger, and much more. Even though it is not listed as an option, you can order it any time. Visit www.in-n-out.com/ for more details.
Tip: There are several In-N-Out restaurants spread throughout the LA vicinity. If you’re flying via LAX, there is an In-N-Out a few minutes from the airport on Sepulveda Blvd. Nothing will say ‘welcome to LA’ like the smell of fresh meat and cheese grilling and the 1950’s So-Cal décor. Don’t leave without a free souvenir – upon request you can receive your very own In-N-Out hat. If you want to dish out some cash, most restaurants sell t-shirts.
From Westside to the East Side: Must Visit Neighborhoods In Los Angeles Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu – The iconic beaches of Southern California
You can spread out your visit to these iconic beaches throughout several days or you can try to visit them all in one. They are all relatively close to each other, but if you want to get around faster you will probably want to rent a car. If there is great weather, why not spend a little extra and rent a convertible. This will only add to the already breathtaking drive on Pacific Coast Highway.
Venice Canals by Emily Stanchfield – Source: Flickr
When you think of the Venice canals (Eastern Ct & Carroll Ct & Carroll Canal Ct.) you don’t necessarily think of California, but there is a reason this beach city is named Venice. Once named Venice-of-America, there are only a few blocks remaining of what used to be 16 miles of man-made waterways. Take a walk down the canal side streets lined with striking multi-million dollar homes before entering the more recognizable Venice Ocean Front Walk (1800 Ocean Front Walk). Here you will be transported from a calm residential area to an eclectic scene that even features a freak show; but it wouldn’t be a Venice experience without it. The boardwalk stretches along the three mile length of Venice Beach. Here you will find cafes, funky shops, and vendor booths. Arnold Schwarzenegger used to bulk up at the Muscle Beach outdoor gym and you can still walk by and see body-builders pumping iron. Don’t leave the boardwalk without trying the Wee Chippy (1301 Ocean Front Walk) a local favorite that is known for its fish and chips; or having ceviche at the Peruvian restaurant El Huarique (1301 Ocean Front Walk, Ste. 10).
A few blocks from Venice Beach, you can explore Abbot Kinney Blvd. (1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd.), a street that hosts a pulsating collection of boutiques, salons, galleries, restaurants and bars. Hal’s Bar & Grill (1349 Abbot Kinney Blvd.) is a local favorite and offers an amazing brunch.
Once you feel you’ve gotten your dose of the funky Venice Beach, head over to Santa Monica Beach (200 Santa Monica Pier) – another one of the most popular beaches in the LA area. Walk the famous Santa Monica Pier and ride the well-known Ferris wheel. There are lots of carnival rides and games to choose from. To do more retail damage and for a larger dining selection, visit the Third Street Promenade. Once consisting of unique boutiques and shops, the Promenade now features chain stores and franchises. Yet, the street performers and festive atmosphere still keeps it from losing its charm.
Santa Monica Pier by Dennis Lam Sweden – Source: Flickr
Both Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach are great for surfing, swimming and boogie boarding or even for just laying out in the sun and splashing around in the Pacific Ocean. However, Malibu tends to be cleaner and less crowded.
Once you drive up Pacific Coast Highway or ride your bike to Malibu you will arrive to what most people envision when they think of Southern California, but without the traffic. Should you have time on your hands before you soak up the sun, make a pit stop at the Getty Villa (17985 Pacific Coast Hwy.). Based on the remains of the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, the Getty Villa houses one of America’s finest collections of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan art. While more than four hours is recommended for the visit, any time spent in its lush gardens is rewarding especially since admission is free.
Malibu (30050 Pacific Coast Hwy.) has over a dozen named beaches. The most popular, mainly due to is easy accessibility, is Zuma Beach. It is however less scenic than its counterparts. Carillo State Park and Malibu Lagoon State Beach are two of Malibu’s most beautiful beaches that are still managed by the state. While there are other beaches, like Matador and La Piedra, which are more scenic and offer sea cliffs, tide pools, and 30-foot rock formations they are not easily accessible and require a steep climb down to the beach. The upside of this that they are less crowded and you can feel like you’re on your own private beach.
Tip: If you’re looking for beaches with a more local vibe, visit Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. They all offer great restaurants and shops along the pier. If you’re looking for a beach area with bars, visit Hermosa Beach where you can party with locals and visitors alike day and night.
West Los Angeles – The hub of all of Los Angeles’ characters
Beverly Hills and Hollywood can often times feel like a tourist trap. However, its iconic attractions make this a must for every Los Angeles itinerary. With West Hollywood and Hollywood’s exuberant atmosphere, you might want to choose to end your evening here.
Before you head to the more habitual sights, start your day at the Museum of Tolerance (9786 W Pico Blvd.) The only museum of its kind in the world, the museum contextualizes the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts and confront all forms of prejudice and discrimination in our world today. After an enlightening experience, you can change the pace by heading to the Beverly Center or Rodeo Drive.
With luxurious designers and even more luxurious cars parked in front, Rodeo Drive (9478 Dayton Way) embodies the glitz and glam of the big screen. You can spend an afternoon window shopping and enjoying a coffee. After, you can watch the Electric Fountain at the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. as it comes alive with its varying light and water patterns. Head west on N. Santa Monica Blvd. and arrive at the Beverly Gardens Park where you take a snap shot of the famous Beverly Hills sign. There are countless boutiques and eateries on S. Santa Monica Blvd. so you might want to take a walk down there as well. Beverly Hills houses many beautiful multi-million dollar homes. If you’re a real estate enthusiast, why not drive around the beautiful palm tree lined streets.
West Hollywood, also known as WeHo, is the 1.9-square-mile neighborhood between Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Famous for its Sunset Strip, this is the place to be if you want to experience a little of everything. We-Ho is also famously known for having the largest gay community.
The Whiskey a Go Go by jondoeforty1 – Source: Flickr
The main go-to places in WeHo are on two different main streets – Santa Monica Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. Along WeHo’s Santa Monica Boulevard, which used to be part of Route 66, you’ll find lots of nightclubs and restaurants. The Troubadour nightclub (9081 Santa Monica Blvd.) housed such famous artists as Jackson Browne and James Taylor at the beginning of their career. The Troubadour still remains a local favorite and a launching pad for artists. Further east you’ll find The Abbey (692 N. Robertson Blvd.) at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Robertson Blvd. Dubbed the ‘best gay bar in the world’, The Abbey isn’t just an electrifying bar, it also servers amazing food. If you continue down Robertson Blvd. away from Santa Monica Blvd. you can fine Sur Restaurant (606 N. Robertson Blvd.) from the reality TV show Vanderpump Rules. You can continue down Robertson Blvd. and find even more shopping options or you can continue on your We-Ho journey and explore all the interesting shops and boutiques. You can end your We-Ho excursion at the first Barney’s Beanery (8447 Santa Monica Blvd.) where it has been said that Janis Joplin had her last drink in the dining room, and Quentin Tarantino wrote much of Pulp Fiction in his favorite booth. If you’re in town during Halloween and New Year’s, We-Ho is even livelier with the NYE festivities and the Halloween Costume Carnival. They also host one the largest Gay Pride festival and parade in Los Angeles.
The Wolf by Neil Kremer – Source: Flickr
If you’ve chosen to take Sunset Blvd. instead of Santa Monica Blvd., you’re entering a street full of action and pop-culture history. Sitting up the hill is the beautiful Chateau Marmont (8221 Sunset Blvd.) which attracts lots of celebrities for overnight stays or to just catch a lunch. A 1929 landmark, the hotel is mostly for guests spending the night and is closed off, but visitors are welcome to dine in the lobby-adjacent restaurant or nearby Bar Marmont. Before you arrive at the Chateau Marmont you will pass a sea of famous bars and clubs. Rainbow Bar & Grill (9015 Sunset Blvd.), Whisky a Go Go (8901 Sunset Blvd.) the House of Blues (8430 Sunset Blvd.), and the Viper Room (8852 Sunset Blvd.) all hold their own when it comes to rock n’ roll history. Passing the Chateau Marmont, you can also find the bedrock of comedic stardom in Hollywood at the Laugh Factor (8001 Sunset Blvd.).
You can end your journey in Hollywood. Here, the attractions can be a bit overwhelming, but even if you just walk the star lined Hollywood Walk of Fame you can really get the feeling for this iconic part of town. Stop by the Grauman’s Chinese Theater (6925 Hollywood Blvd.), the Hollywood Museum (1660 Highland Ave.), and take a picture with your favorite celebrity (or at least a wax replica of them) at Madame Tussauds (6933 Hollywood Blvd.). After a while Hollywood Blvd. can feel a little ‘hollyweird’, so you might want to take a break from it and explore other famous nearby attractions before heading back for the nightlife.
Urban Light 2 by daryl_mitchell – Source: Flickr
Neighboring the Paramount Pictures Studios (5555 Melrose Avenue) is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (6000 Santa Monica Blvd.). One of the oldest cemeteries in Los Angeles, several old-Hollywood celebrities are buried here. Today, it hosts concerts, events, and outdoor movie screenings during the summer. If you get a chance to catch a concert at the Hollywood Bowl (2301 Highland Ave.), this is a must. During the summer this venue offers an eclectic variety of concerts under the stars. You can even bring in your own food and wine bottles. At Universal Studios Hollywood (100 Universal City Plaza), you can enjoy three essential LA experiences in one: the studio tour, the theme park, and the outdoor mega-marketplace known as CityWalk.
If you’ve spread out your time in West Los Angeles and time allows it, be sure to check out the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (5905 Wilshire Blvd.) which stretches along the “Miracle Mile” area of Wilshire. This is a local favorite for its “Urban Light” installation of 202 street lamps. The family of mock mammoths at La Brea Tar Pits (5801 Wilshire Blvd.), is also fun to see.
Hollywood is known for its exclusive nightclubs and eclectic bars. Sound Nightclub (1642 Las Palmas Ave.), Drai’s Hollywood (6250 Hollywood Blvd.), Create Nightclub (6021 Hollywood Blvd.), and Boulevard3 (6523 Sunset Blvd.) are just some of the many options. A bit further away from Hollywood Blvd., but worth the mention, La Descarga (1159 N Western Ave.) is a speak-easy Cuban club with live music.