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Things to do in West Hollywood: A neighborhood guide

Aerial drone shot of WeHo

If there’s one word to describe West Hollywood or WeHo, it’s vibrant. Whether you’re a shopaholic, a night owl, an outdoor enthusiast, or a parent looking for some family fun, you’ll never run out of things to do in West Hollywood.

During the day, the city is literally bright, awash in year-round sunshine and Mediterranean warmth. At night, West Hollywood shines with the bright signs of clubs, shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and more, underscored by the energy of those who want to paint the town red. Here, everyone is welcome— colorful pride flags dot the streets of West Hollywood, the center of LGBTQ culture in Southern California.

Ready to explore one of Los Angeles’ most dynamic areas? Your guide is right below.


Sunset Plaza street sign

The best things to do in West Hollywood

West Hollywood is best known for six things: upscale shopping, exciting nightlife, endless culinary options, great entertainment, arts and culture, and proximity to outdoor pursuits. Here are our top recommendations for each activity.

Shopping

Whatever your retail preference—classic, modern, vintage or eclectic—West Hollywood has them all. Curated boutiques and large chain stores both make their home here, offering a wide variety of shopping choices.

  • Sunset Plaza is an almost century-old shopping complex that houses over 50 businesses offering all sorts of goods, from fashion to fitness. Open since 1924, this outdoor retail area’s current brands include clothing shops Mac & Kelly and Les Habitudes; jewelry and watch stores Samira 13 Jewelry and Oliver Peoples; and beauty care salons Koji Toyoda and Jessica The Clinic

  • The Detox Market along Beverly Boulevard is a premier destination when it comes to clean beauty. From cosmetics and creams to lotions, Detox Market’s luxury brands such as Lily Lolo, La Bouche Rouge, and Kypris feature botanical and organic ingredients that boost beauty in all-natural ways. After shopping, quench your thirst at Beverly Hills Juice Club next door for a bottle (or two) of nutritious fruit and vegetable concoctions.

  • At the edge of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, you will find the Beverly Center. It boasts of eight stories of retail heaven, featuring classic mainstays Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Its tourist-drawing feature is its series of escalators which provide a sweeping view of Hollywood Hills, Downtown LA, and the LA Westside.

  • Melrose Avenue features designer shops such as Monique Lhuillier and Isabel Marant, among others. From jewelry and home furniture to shoes and beauty products, you can find them all while strolling down one of LA’s most popular streets.

Dining

Shopping and dining go together, which is why West Hollywood residents and tourists are spoiled with a wide selection of eats and drinks. 

  • Feast your eyes on views of Downtown LA and Sunset Boulevard while feasting on Wolfgang Puck’s signature dishes in Merois, the Austrian chef’s rooftop restaurant at Pendry Hotel in West Hollywood. Here, sophisticated dining is literally taken to new heights with drape-lined chandeliers, tasteful furniture, and unique dishes influenced by Japanese, French, Southeast Asian, and American cuisines. 

  • Along Robertson Boulevard, you will find a high-end restaurant serving sushi and other Japanese food favorites. Going on its third year, Sushi Tama has become a go-to for take-outs and outdoor dining in West Hollywood. Helmed by Tokyo-trained Hideyuki Yoshimoto, the restaurant has become known for its do-it-yourself temaki sets. These come in gorgeous red-and-black takeout boxes, which, once opened, reveal vibrant greens and slivers of raw salmon, tuna, shrimp, and fish roe glistening like jewels. 

  • Also on Robertson Boulevard, you can visit the Petrossian Restaurant & Boutique, an upscale French café. Now in its second decade, the restaurant continues to delight taste buds with their world-famous caviar, smoked salmon, and other colorful Fresh-inspired dishes. The restaurant is open from breakfast to dinner and features a boutique where you can pick up signature menu items, confections, and other culinary treats.

  • Trendy restaurants and cafes come and go, but Dan Tana’s along Santa Monica Boulevard has withstood the test of time. Serving classic Italian food since the 1960s, its signature yellow bungalow has long-time patrons from Hollywood including actors and television show writers.  

  • Jones Hollywood is another West Hollywood institution, serving Italian and American food since 1994. But its homey fare including its decadent apple pie is not the only thing patrons crave. At night, it becomes the perfect spot for a nightcap with its Dirty Martini and Bloody Mary as bestsellers.

  • Also, on Santa Monica Boulevard is the original Barney’s Beanery branch, open since 1920. The gastropub is famous for its French onion soup and chili con carne, but more popular for its famous past clientele including Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin. It is said that Quentin Tarantino wrote most of his hit movie Pulp Fiction in one of its booths.

Runyon Canyon Park in LA

Outdoor recreation

If you take pleasure in outdoor pursuits, you’ll be glad to know that some of the best things to do in West Hollywood involve natural attractions.

  • North of West Hollywood, you will find Runyon Canyon Park covering 160 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains. With its majestic view of the Los Angeles Basin, the park is a haven for its variety of trails. But if you’re up for a challenge, make your way up to Indian Rock, the park’s peak. Here, you’ll see amazing vistas of Downtown LA.

  • If you’re a dog lover, mark West Hollywood Park & Dog Park as one of the places to visit. Sitting next to the West Hollywood Public Library, the park includes off-leash dog parks and green areas. Currently, its Aquatic and Recreation Center and playground are closed due to renovation. But dog parks remain open for your active fur babies.

  • For your dose of vitamin sea, head over to Venice Beach, south of Santa Monica. Anything goes in this bohemian and artsy beach town lined with modern condos and cottages. After exploring its charming boutiques, grab a bite from any of the food trucks in the area. You can also hang out at the oceanfront boardwalk filled with street performers and vendors.

  • To behold both a natural and engineering wonder, visit the Hollywood Reservoir in Hollywood Hills. Also known as Lake Hollywood, it holds over two billion gallons of water. It was built in 1924 and became a shooting location for the 1974 neo-noir crime film Chinatown starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. Around the reservoir, you can also explore Lake Hollywood Park, which has plenty of green spaces, trails, and clear views of the Hollywood sign.

  • If you have kids in tow, stopping by the Los Angeles Zoo is always a great idea. First opened in 1966, the zoo provides 133 acres of habitat for over 2,000 animals, 60 of which are endangered species. Meanwhile, the zoo’s botanical collection overflows with about 7,000 plants featuring foreign species from Chile, Hong Kong, and Mexico among others.

Entertainment

West Hollywood is a launching pad for artists who live to perform. Some of today’s greats began their career here, making it one of the must-visit places for fans of music, comedy, and theater.

  • Rolling Stone named Troubadour as one of the best rock clubs of all time. Located on Santa Monica Boulevard, the venue creates an intimate atmosphere for both performers and the audience. Elton John made his US debut here, while legendary musicians James Taylor and Joni Mitchell regularly performed within its walls. Recent and upcoming performances include Dashboard Confessional, David Archuleta, and Briston Maroney.

  • Drop by the Sunset Strip for another historic music venue called Whisky a Go Go, which has been rocking it out since 1964. A major player in LA’s rock scene, the venue has hosted world-famous acts like The Doors, Fleetwood Mac, and Led Zeppelin. 

  • For some genuine belly laughs, take your pick from the hilarious shows featured at The Comedy Store, also on the Sunset Strip. Who knows? Here, you might discover the next Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, or Whoopi Goldberg, who all began their careers in the nightclub. Since 1974, The Comedy Store has been helping up-and-coming comedians hone their skills until they make it big. From time to time, famous comedians like Sarah Silverman and Dave Chappelle have dropped by for surprise performances.

  • For a taste of Broadway in Hollywood, visit the Pantages Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. First opened in 1930, the venue has featured hit shows The Lion King and Wicked on its stage. The theatre’s art deco architecture continues to dazzle visitors and provide a dramatic setting for television shows, music videos, and films.

  • Located in Griffith Park is the Greek Theatre, an almost century-old amphitheater that houses 5,900 seats. It has hosted entertainment icons Sheryll Crow, Smokey Robinson, and Neil Diamond, who recorded two live albums here. Today, you can soak in the venue’s historic vibes through its drive-in theatre.

Arts and Culture

Dubbed as “The Creative City,” West Hollywood continues to be a draw for local and foreign artists who wish to take part in its thriving artistic scene. Include the following in your list of things to do:

  • Functional design comes to life at the Pacific Design Center along Melrose Avenue. Aside from world-class home and office furnishings from thousands of leading manufacturers, the center holds screenings, seminars, exhibitions, and fashion shows in its over-70 showrooms.

  • For a peek into Hollywood history, visit the Hollywood Museum in Highland Avenue, not far from West Hollywood. Within its four floors, you will get your fill of memorabilia, from cars and scripts to photos and props from celebrities like George Clooney and Lucille Ball. The museum also contains the early makeup studios used by legendary actresses Katharine Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

  • Visit West Hollywood’s many galleries and art spaces. LAXART, which was formerly a recording venue for musicians like Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, now features avant-garde art, poetry sessions, and jazz performances. A short driving distance away is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the largest art museum in the western U.S. It showcases both emerging and well-known artists from all over the world. Another must-visit is the Getty Center, located west of WeHo. It houses masterpieces from Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and many others. Outside the museum, take your time strolling through courtyards and fountains, including a labyrinth of lavish hedges and footpaths.

  • The iconic West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval may have been canceled for two years straight due to the pandemic, but once it resumes on Santa Monica Boulevard, you can expect street revelers to go all out with the partying. Previous celebrations have brought in hundreds and thousands of tourists taking part in costume contests and all-night bar promos. 

The Abbey food and drink in WeHo

Nightlife

West Hollywood locals and tourists can’t stop raving about the area’s nightlife— it’s one of the top things to do here. Whether you’re after the pulsing beats, a dizzying array of drinks, or unlimited fun, West Hollywood’s clubs and venues have something for everyone, ensuring an unforgettable night.

  • If an elegant night on the town is your cup of tea, head on to La Cienega Boulevard where you’ll find Nightingale LA. It features 6,000 square feet of sophisticated interiors coupled with hi-tech designs. Party all night as hip-hop artists perform live on the dance floor. Choose from any of its four sections—the High Energy main room, two indoor lounges equipped with bars, and a garden oasis where you can enjoy drinks and hang out in comfort.

  • Bootsy Bellows at the end of Sunset Strip is said to be inspired by Frank Sinatra’s very own Palm Springs home back in the 1940s. Fitted with pink-and-green interiors, luxurious banquettes, and chic chandeliers, the venue is a genuine homage to vintage Palm Springs. Apart from the unique aesthetics, patrons keep coming back for live performances and puppet shows that add a touch of whimsy to your adventure. 

  • From a small coffee shop, The Abbey has expanded into one of the most popular LGBT night clubs in West Hollywood. Located along Robertson Boulevard, it offers 16,000 square meters of space—a massive venue that lets you hop from one room to another all night long. Take your spot on the dance floor and revel in the non-stop energy and nightly performances. 

  • Travel back in time to the Roaring Twenties at Delilah on Santa Monica Boulevard. The restaurant/bar gives this classic era a modern twist with lavish chandeliers, olive-green furnishings, and Art Deco influences. After you’ve supped on the lounge’s exquisite American fare, be prepared for a vibe shift as the dance floor lights up with burlesque dancers, resplendent in their sequined outfits.

  • Music is at the heart of The Peppermint Club, which gives tribute to the 1960s, rock and roll’s golden era. On weekday nights, the venue showcases live musicians, with patrons lounging in the lush comforts of an executive-level room. On weekends, the club transforms into a party place, complete with bottle-service tables and DJs.

Two men crossing the rainbow colored pedestrian lane

Living in West Hollywood

It’s clear why West Hollywood is one of the most coveted places to live in Los Angeles. It has everything, and more.

Because of the high demand, homes here have an average price of $1,041,056. The past year also saw home values in West Hollywood increase by 7.3%—proof of the city’s vibrant housing market. 

If you need more convincing as to why West Hollywood is the place to be, here are five reasons that make life in the Creative City a class of its own.

  • It’s walkable – No matter where you live in WeHo, you can walk, run, or bike to your favorite shops, restaurants, gyms, and your regular night haunts. The city’s dog-friendly environment also makes it possible for you to include your pet in your jaunts.

  • Good schools – You’ll have many options among both public (operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District) and private schools. Nearby universities include the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of Southern California (USC).

  • It’s diverse and inclusive – As the capital of LGBTQ culture in Southern California, West Hollywood takes great pride in being one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in the country. This part of the city’s identity is much celebrated in signature events like its Halloween Carnaval and annual Pride Parade make everyone feel welcome. 

  • There are plenty of job opportunities – Ranked by Niche as the second-best California suburb for young professionals, WeHo alone provided employment to about 25,000 people in 2019. Aside from the jobs within the city, residents also find work in other parts of Los Angeles because of West Hollywood’s convenient location.

  • Unparalleled quality of life – There are lots of places to unwind in West Hollywood. But aside from the clubs and thriving social spots, the city’s health and fitness options, not to mention outdoor activities, are just as varied and invigorating. Whatever you need, West Hollywood can offer.

Work with the best in West Hollywood real estate

The Valerie Fitzgerald Group offers over 20 years of experience and expertise on Westside Los Angeles real estate. Throughout the past two decades, our team has been dedicated in assisting buyers and sellers to fulfill their real estate goals in the area.

We’re excited to help you with your real estate plans in West Hollywood. Get in touch with our team today at 310.285.7515 or valerie(at)valeriefitzgerald(dotted)com to learn more about West Hollywood real estate.

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