Constantly changing and evolving, West Hollywood is permanently in a state of flux. With newness at every turn, and the parameters of what’s hot and fresh ever-shifting, it can be useful to have someone in the know intervene where itinerary drafting is concerned.
That said, some spots in the city remain tried-and-true essentials. Refer to this round-up of our favourite things to do and places to go in West Hollywood when you’re next in town.
In Partnership with Visit West Hollywood
Go boutique shopping in West Hollywood's Design District
The swish West Hollywood Design District is a cultural mecca for design, art, fashion, dining, and beauty. The walkable radius of Melrose Avenue, Beverly Boulevard, and Robertson Boulevard roughly defines the luxe shopping district, which you could quite easily spend days tackling. With over 200 storefronts to peruse, visitors are spoilt for choice – our favourites include custom furniture maker Phyllis Morris’ space, Kelly Wearstler’s eponymous boutique, as well Stella McCartney and Christian Louboutin standalones. To keep energy levels up whilst you shop, pay a visit to one of the Design Districts’s many food and beverage outlets – with 40 restaurants located throughout, re-caffination is never far away.
Enjoy live music at Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip
Perched on the corner of West Sunset Boulevard and San Vicente is the world famous Whisky a Go Go. Opening on 15 January 1964 with a concert by Johnny Rivers, the small club on the Sunset Strip is now dubbed ‘the first real American discothèque’. Back on opening night, in between Rivers’ sets, a DJ named Joanie Labine spun records and entertained the crowd by dancing – and so, the idea of the go-go dancer was born. A legendary rock ‘n’ roll landmark, a visit to the Whisky A Go-Go is a must for those keen to lap up the Los Angeles rock scene. Playing host to everyone from the Doors to Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin, and offering a platform to today’s up and coming artists, Whisky A Go-Go offers visitors a slice of music history, past and present.
Visit Wolfgang Puck’s Merois Rooftop Restaurant at Pendry
Perched atop Pendry West Hollywood is the stylish rooftop restaurant, Merois. The brainchild of Wolfgang Puck, Merois is one of two restaurants devised by Puck at The Pendry. From high above Sunset Boulevard, take in the city’s wowing landscape in the pleasing surrounds of a Martin Brudnizki-designed space – think Art-Deco interiors a la Hollywood’s Golden Age. Tuck into a sophisticated menu of global flavours (namely Japanese, Southeast Asian, and French) with a Californian point of view – standouts include the crispy Peking duck and the Shanghai lobster. Lunch is served daily from 11.30AM–3.00PM, whilst dinner is available from 5.30PM until 10.00PM (and 11PM on Fridays and Saturdays).
Discover the area's dining hotspots
LA’s restaurant scene is nothing short of, well, incredible. There’s a cornucopia of cuisine to choose from, and dining options range from the casual to the truly refined. Newcomer, Soulmate is a fun-loving, modern restaurant helmed by Chef Rudy Lopez’s (formerly of the NoMad Los Angeles), which boasts a menu that draws inspiration from the Spanish Mediterranean and showcases Southern California’s best local ingredients. Another name to note is: Issima, the newest concept from the team behind LA’s uber-popular, Olivetta. Located at Kimpton La Peer Hotel, the menu has an ‘on holiday’ feel, spotlighting flavours of the Mediterranean coastline. Top tip: take full advantage of LA’s perfect weather on Issima’s private rooftop. And then there’s LAVO Ristorante, an Italian restaurant which serves up dishes inspired by coastal Italy. Influenced by Southern California produce, diners can feast on a moreish menu of fresh pastas made in-house, pizzas made with whole grain, single-source flour, and, an extensive offering of wood-fired meats alongside fresh salads and locally sourced vegetables. In between mouthfuls, clock your lavish surrounds, which are punctuated by artwork selected by art advisor Elizabeth Margulies.
Book brunch with friends
From the Insta-famous to old classics, brunch spots in Los Angeles are a dime a dozen, but for inventive bites in the chicest spots it’s helpful to earmark those currently turning heads. You’ll find all the California takes on breakfast classics (with a European influence) at The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker, but it’s hard to beat their smashed organic avocado toast, served on sourdough bread with egg, oven-roasted tomatoes, pomegranate, and pickled chilli. Their lobster mac and cheese, shakshuka, and french toast (with a side of apple smoked bacon) also tempt, as do their punchy craft cocktails. If your post-brunch plans are to run around the city all day, pick up some fresh baked goods on your way out. Meanwhile, those who find themselves in the area on Saturday or Sunday should drop by the charming Eveleigh for a relaxed brunch, and nab a seat in the enclosed back terrace, which offers views of the expansive city. Our go-to order here: spaghettini with Dungeness crab. Yum.
Explore West Hollywoods’ pop and contemporary art scene at Hamilton Selway Gallery
One of the largest purveyors of pop and contemporary art on the West Coast, Hamilton-Selway Fine Art has built quite the reputation in its 24-year history. Offering their services to a ‘clientele of novice and seasoned collectors and galleries located around the world’, unlike many others in the art business, Hamilton-Selway have a huge inventory of fine artwork. In fact, the gallery is one of the largest providers of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Longo artworks (in addition to many other blue chip contemporary artists) to galleries and dealers around the world. What’s more, they are also publishers of a number of striking lithographs and silkscreen print editions by such important artists as Robert Longo, Alex Katz, and Donald Sultan. Drop by their Melrose Avenue address to witness wowing works in the flesh.
Soak up the sun at The West Hollywood EDITION’s rooftop pool
When hotelier and Studio 54 Co-Founder, Ian Schrager opened The West Hollywood EDITION hotel, he brought a slice of NY to LA. Imagined by British architect John Pawson, the design jewel in the hotel’s crown has to be the expansive rooftop pool. The pool scene is a big deal in West Hollywood, and we’re convinced there’s nowhere better to soak up the sun than here. Enjoy vistas of the Hollywood Hills, Beverly Hills, and the iconic LA skyline by day whilst vegetating on a pool lounger, cocktail in hand. Come evening, DJs spin the hottest tracks in front of an inky skyline. It’s a whole vibe.
Check out the Pride Crosswalks at the intersection of Santa Monica and San Vicente Boulevard
West Hollywood is a sanctuary city for the LGBTQ+ community, and welcomes everyone to its patch. For further reminding of that fact, make a trip to the intersection of Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevard to check out the district’s Pride Crosswalks. A notable fixture of the city, the bold rainbow crosswalks have been in situ since 2012 (initially based on the design of the iconic rainbow flag), and in recent years the city has added further colour blocks – ‘featuring black and brown stripes to represent LGBTQ+ people of colour and pink, light blue, and white to represent transgender people’ – to the crosswalks for inclusivity.
Sign up for a serious workout
For the gym-goers amongst you, note down Barry’s, FaceGym, and Rumble as must-try workouts over the course of your stay. Opening its doors in 1998, Barry’s West Hollywood location is the OG bootcamp. Step into the original Red Room for a sweat session like no other (you’ll burn up to 1,000 calories) and post Hiit workout, visit the Fuel Bar (Barry’s in-house hub for health and wellness) for a customised shake. Next, switch things up at Rumble, where a collection of fitness instructors, who are impressive athletes in their own regard, lead a 45-minute class engineered to the beat of custom hip-hop and house mash-ups. For a change of pace, try FaceGym – the original non-invasive face workout and only gym studio for the face. Located at 1 Hotel (FYI, guests receive 20% off all studio workouts), FaceGym trainers employ the latest cutting-edge technology and high-performance skincare products to lift, sculpt, tone, and tighten client’s facial muscles. Choose from an extensive menu of workouts, with a range of add-on technologies including innovations in lights, radio frequency, and cryotherapy.
Fuel up on veggies at a conscious restaurant
It’s especially easy to eat consciously in LA, and West Hollywood’s clean and/or green restaurant offering is particularly strong. Whether you’re looking for vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free fare, most restaurants can cater to all dietary restrictions and requirements. Some of our favourite spots to fuel up on healthy fare include Urth Caffé – try their organic heirloom coffee when you visit (as well as their scrumptious baked goods) – and Hugo’s Restaurant, which offers a vegetarian-friendly menu using whole-food ingredients. Refer to their smoothie, juice, coffee, and tea offering if you’re in a grab-and-go headspace. Another (conscious) crowd pleaser: Gracias Madre, which serves vegan Mexican cuisine. Grab a seat on the patio, which is framed by light-strewn trees, and mosaic-topped tables and order a round of quesadillas (which are filled with butternut squash, caramelised onions, pumpkin seed salsa, and nutty cashew cheese) and chips and guac, plus a round of their signature pour: the mezcal margarita.
Visit the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
When in Los Angeles, the movie capital of the world, it’s only right to pay a visit to the home of it all – The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. As the largest museum in the US devoted to the arts, sciences, and artists of moviemaking, the museum’s collections are unparalleled. Offering exceptional exhibitions and programs that illuminate the world of cinema, the Academy Museum spans seven floors and features education and special event spaces, exhibition spaces, a conservation studio, a café, and a museum store. During your visit, get up close with key pieces of movie history, like Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz and an annotated page from Gregory Peck’s script for controversial 1962 classic To Kill a Mockingbird.