Teeny-tiny West Hollywood measures just under 2 square miles, but has been dubbed “the creative city” and for good reason. West Hollywood has been dubbed “The Creative City,” and for good reason. Bordering Beverly Hills, WeHo is located in the heart of Los Angeles. It’s easily accessible from anywhere in the city, and the area has plenty to see and do packed into 1.9 square miles. Every inch of the city is packed with buzz worthy restaurants, comedy clubs, live music venues from long-running establishments to swanky rooftop bars, parks, fashion, and most famed for its high energy nightlife.
This trendsetting area includes intimate galleries and the massive Pacific Design Center, a decorator’s dream, located on Melrose Avenue. More interior design showrooms line Beverly Boulevard, while the highest of high-end boutiques can be found on the ever-stylish Robertson Boulevard. Keep your eyes out for celebrities dipping in and out of shops and head to the fabled Sunset Strip to experience the allure of world-famous music venues, hotels, and nightclubs. Santa Monica Boulevard, the center of WeHo’s LGBTQ community, is packed with bars, clubs, and award-winning restaurants.
Originally known as The Town of Sherman, after Moses H. Sherman incorporating the first interurban electric railways, West Hollywood has now been an independent, incorporated city for over 30 years. Although the municipality is one of the youngest in Los Angeles County, the town from which the city sprang -- originally a settlement for railroad workers -- dates back to 1896. It was not until the early 1920s that the growing Los Angeles metropolis met the street grid of Sherman. As the town's development began to merge with that of Hollywood, by then a part of the City of Los Angeles, some in both Sherman and the metropolis began speaking of annexation.
Sherman valued its independence but it was less attached to its name. As motion picture stars moved into the adjacent Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills communities, some Sherman residents sought to soften the rough edges of its image by changing the community's name and stressing its association with its affluent neighbors. Residents mooted several alternatives, including Beverly Park, East Beverly, and Magnetic Springs, but in 1925 the town renamed itself West Hollywood, a moniker pioneered earlier in the decade by the West Hollywood Realty Board. By 1984, West Hollywood the arrival of new businesses and new residents had transformed West Hollywood into the city we know and love today.
Dine, Hang Out, Shop & Stuff
Melrose Avenue is a shopping, dining and entertainment destination that starts at Santa Monica Boulevard, at the border between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. On the west side of Melrose you’ll find all the high couture stores from Alexander McQueen to Vivienne Westwood, trendy coffee shops like Alfred’s or Urth, or go celeb spotting in restaurants like Cecconi’s or Lucques. As you head east, you’ll get a totally different Melrose experience with gastropubs like The Village Idiot and the Darkroom bar, and shop in independent grunge rocker boutiques reminiscent of 1970’s punk London. Either end, Melrose is the place to be seen and be scene, if that’s your scene!
Since the 1920s, the portion of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood has evolved as both the true dream factory and star chamber in the complicated and tangled network of nests known as Los Angeles. Over the years, live music, restaurants, and hotels (and their bars), and comedy clubs have made The Strip iconic. Go see a show at The Roxy, the Whiskey A-Go-Go, or The Viper Room, hang out with rockers at The Rainbow and get dinner STK. Or, if you’re feeling wild, go check out the souper legendary bookstore: Book Soup with readings and signings by top writers from around the world.
Every gay, urban mecca needs the nightlife (and day life) to make it tick and Boys’ Town certainly has that. What began as a relatively modest gay coffeehouse several years ago, The Abbey, has blossomed into one of West Hollywood's hottest hangouts. Watch (almost naked) men dance in cages at Rage or party hard until 4am at Micky’s - this town never sleeps (alone). West Hollywood has the most restaurant and bar liquor licenses per capita in Los Angeles County, and ranks first in California for licenses per square mile. The infamous ‘Boy’s Town’ is the gay hub of Los Angeles with iconic bars like The Abbey and Revolver and restaurants like Bottega Louie and Lisa Vanderpump’s infamous PUMP.
A stunning building and iconic fixture of popular culture since 1929. Home, or temporary home, to countless celebrities and artists, location for films, and a great place for breakfast and a few selfies. Whether you live here or are visiting, the Chateau is a worthwhile destination.
Pacific Design Center
Lovingly referred to as "the Blue Whale," the Cesar Pelli-designed Pacific Design Center is one of Los Angeles’, and most definitely West Hollywood’s, architectural icons. The massive space comprising huge blue, green, and, most recently built, red wings holds more than 130 design, furniture, and home-furnishing showrooms as well as the Wolfgang Puck's trendy Red Seven restaurant, a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Pacific Design Center), the Design Cafe, and the offices of the West Hollywood Marketing and Visitor’s Bureau. The building is at the corner of San Vicente and Melrose, just a half block south of Santa Monica Boulevard and across the street from the dazzling new West Hollywood public library.
Sunset Tower Apartments - 18358 Sunset Blvd. Leland A. Bryant 1929-31
A stunning building, which is a true testament to the golden years of Hollywood, the lower portion of the building features ZigZag Moderne design, while the upper portion is Streamline Moderne.
Lloyd Wright Home and Studio - 858 N. Doheny Dr. Lloyd Wright 1928
Sited close to the street, the exterior features the intricate pre-cast concrete blocks, a hallmark of Lloyd Wright’s work. Most of the drama is to be found on the inside, including a “great hall” on the lower level which opens to a private patio in the yard.
Beery Residence - 947 N. Martel Ave. Williams Kesling 1936
A classic streamline moderne example by one of the leaders in the style. In fact, Kesling built more homes in the streamline moderne style than any other single architect and he only worked in L.A. for a brief 3-year period. I love the curved top of the gateway entrace, which is matched by a similar construct in the yard that leads from the living room to a patio/pool area.
Schindler Studio and Residence - 835 N. Kings Rd. R.M. Schindler 1922
The Schindler House was revolutionary architecturally and socially and was a shared vision of Schindler and his wife Pauline, who held a strong interest in a revisionist lifestyle. The house was conceived as an experiment in communal living and was shared with another couple, Clyde and Marian Chace. There were four rooms, one for each person to "express his or her individuality." And the communal gathering areas were patios in the garden, one for each family. There was one kitchen and outdoor sleeping porches were provided atop the roof. There is also a guest apartment extending from the rear of the house. Today the property is currently the MAK Center for Art and Architecture and is open to the public for tours.
Formosa 1140 - 1140 Formosa Ave. Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects 2008
A vibrant puzzle of varied orange colored vertical and horizontal bands that arrests the eye and graces the street.
Streamline Duplex - 756 N. Harper Ave. William Kesling 1936
A streamline modern statement residence occupying a corner for every passerby to enjoy.
Charlie Chaplin Cottages - 1330 N. Formosa Ave. Arthur and Nina Zwebel 1923
A beloved example of Storybook architecture that was been the home to creative types over the years, including Charlie Chaplin himself and his employees.
Pacific Design Center - 8687 Melrose Ave. Cesar Pelli and Assoc. 1975
Sometimes referred to as the Green Giant, Blue Whale, and the Red Shark, this 3-building complex is impossible to miss, equally impossible to hold an opinion about. For better or worse, they’ve become a bona fide landmark in the city of West Hollywood and serve as a multi-use facility for the design community.
Rootenberg-Markham House - 902 N. Kings Rd. Josef Van derKar 1952
A one-story residence designed in the International Style, reflecting the influence of the Case Study program. A standout design element is the wrap-around clerestory windows seen from the street. In back is a courtyard with the flat roof supported by steel poles.
Villa d’Este - 1355 Laurel Ave. Francis Pierpont 1928
Supposedly modeled after the hotel, and one-time home, on Lake Como, apartment building is beatiful from the curb to the inside of each unit.
Romanesque Villa Apartments - 1301-07 N. Harper Ave Leland A. Bryant 1928
Beauty and romance abounds in this garden courtyard building, which includes a Spanish Galleon weathervane atop the square and an octagonal tower gracing the northeast corner of the building. According to Hollywood history, this was the site of a love triangle between Marlene Dietrich and Joseph and Riza von Sternberg.
Herman Miller Showroom - 8806 Beverly Blvd Charles Eames 1949
Once serving as a showroom for the furniture of Eames, this structure features to sort of boxy, yet elegant, lines that bear a striking similarity to Eames’ Case Study House #8 in the Pacific Palisades.