Hands down, West Hollywood is my favourite place in the U.S. Prior to my first time here, I would hear horror stories of how awful it is and its either super dangerous or you have to be incredibly rich to enjoy yourself. Lies, lies and more lies! I’m not going to recommend venturing out of West Hollywood or Santa Monica – I didn’t partially for safety reasons, and partially because everything was at my fingertips when I was here. I know that one wrong turn can get me into trouble. But if you have a GPS, you’re fine!
So why do I love LA so much? Well, for many reasons. It’s a fairytale land where Hollywood starlets mingle with regular folk. It’s bizarre that you can go into a Club Monaco and possibly run into Sandra Bullock, or dine at a steakhouse beside Kobe Bryant. I’m from a suburb, so living amongst the rich and powerful isn’t something that happens often! Aside from the countless famous or wanna-be famous people that you may run into, LA (and again I’m only addressing West Hollywood and Santa Monica) is actually a very tiny little town with great weather and tons of things to do. Here are some itinerary items to consider on your trip:
The Grove: If you watch entertainment shows, they are always “Live from the Grove” so it should sound relatively familiar if you’re up-to-date with pop culture. I have had a few celeb spottings here, but mainly the Grove is just great for an afternoon of leisure. It’s an outdoor shopping center with great stores like Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, Forever 21 and much more. If you’re hungry, stop off at Morel’s French Steakhouse & Bistro and order the Cobb Salad. It’s also the perfect place to people watch.
Rodeo Drive: If you aren’t going to buy anything, go for the experience! Rodeo drive is a short street full of high-end designer shops. Don’t feel intimidated when you walk into stores (ala Pretty Woman), the sales staff know who is there to shop and who is there for free champagne (Ya, that’s right! You get free bubbly while you shop!). Once you’re done, head to N. Beverly Drive or Robertson, it’s much more affordable!
Andaz Hotel: Chic, no check-in desk, contemporary décor, free wine, free hors d’euvres, across from Skybar and has a rooftop patio with unbelievable views. What else do you need in a hotel? I recommend the Andaz without hesitation.
The Comedy Store: Right across the street from the Andaz Hotel, the Comedy Store is where comedians like Bernie Mac and Chelsea Handler got their start. I was extremely fortunate when I went as I had the privilege of being entertained by the then unknown Whitney Cummings and Chris D’Elia. Whitney was a rising star who tested her David Hasselhoff Roast jokes on the crowd and Chris opened for the headliner. Both, had the crowd in tears and in my opinion stole the show. No wonder they now have a hit TV show!
Santa Monica: If you want to take advantage of the heat, then pay a visit to Santa Monica. There is everything from the Santa Monica pier, to cute shops, to great restaurants, and beaches. I suggest getting there first thing in the morning or else you will get stuck in the unbelievably busy LA traffic and parking is not easy to find. Is it worth it? Yes!
SkyBar: An awesome place to unwind at the end of the night. It really is the stereotypical LA “hotspot”. Very dim lighting, faint music, with cabanas and private booths that surround the well-lit pool. It’s a tough place to get into and likely the reason why so many celebrities hang out here. If you think you can get in, it’s totally worth a shot!
Hollywood: You can’t go to West Hollywood and not see the Hollywood sign! Go to the Kodak Theatre (which by the way is strange that the Oscars are held here, seeing as it’s a shopping center!) and go to the very back of the building. Gaze out the open space, and voila, there it is! On your way out, notice the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and famous handprints beside the Chinese Theatre.
Jimmy Kimmel: It can be any show, but I’m going to be bias since I went to see Jimmy Kimmel. His studio is across from the Kodak theatre so you can make an entire afternoon of it. Visit his website a few weeks beforehand to order tickets.
Boa: The only bust in West Hollywood. It’s one of the most famous restaurants, but incredibly overpriced for the quality. I’ve been here twice, and the first time I loved it, so it could have just been a bad day my second time around. If you choose to eat here, make sure to get the Caesar Salad – they make it from scratch.
Mulholland Drive: This secluded area is a fair drive through the winding roads and atop the mountains of LA. This is where celebrities call home. Filled with gated communities and obscenely sized mansions. It’s no wonder that celebrities feel superior to the rest of the world! The roads are very narrow so keep an eye out for the speeding paparazzi in SUV’s.
There are way more things to do while in LA then I have mentioned, but hopefully this can start you off on your adventures. It really is a nice town and I’m not at all surprised that this is where big names call home. Although heavily populated, LA is very tiny with lots to see. Give yourself a few days here, you’ll need it!
Until next time….safe travels!