West Hollywood: The 20 Places You Have to Go
West Hollywood is a cultural center in the truest sense of the phrase—it’s both at the center of Los Angeles (giving visitors easy access to all-things LA: the beach, the Hollywood Hills, Universal Studios, the hip east side and WeHo’s neighbors Hollywood and Beverly Hills) and it’s at the center of American culture in many ways. The small city often leads the trend on design, music, comedy, wellness and culinary. Every inch of its 1.9 square miles has a story that's a mile long—whether it's a place a TV show was filmed, a rock star found their audience or a clothing style gained traction. When you’re here, you get the sense that you’re in a place where things happen.
Beyond its historic and cultural relevance, though, West Hollywood is simply a fun place to go. The weather is darn near perfect all year long; the whole city is walkable (see: 1.9 square miles!); and just about everything you want in a SoCal trip (food, shopping, LGBTQ+ hot spots, entertainment, people-watching, swanky hotels with rooftop pools) is here within the city's three neighborhoods—the Design District, Santa Monica Boulevard and the Sunset Strip.
Here are our recommendations on things to do and places to go for an incredible weekend (or midweek, if you’re looking to save a little coin) getaway in West Hollywood.
Dining in West Hollywood isn't only about the food (though, believe us that your palate will be quite pleased); it's also very much about the scene. In some restaurants, this scene is set by ambiance and decor, while in others by who you may see there.
Among the newest spots in West Hollywood, Ardor (located in The West Hollywood EDITION hotel) is set in a lush interior, surrounded on all sides by potted palms, ferns and bamboo. The impossibly green restaurant is led by Michelin-starred Chef John Fraser and has a small, vegetable-forward menu—think sweet potato curry with jackfruit or cauliflower cacio e pepe. Carnivores need not stray; there's octopus and filet mignon on the menu too.
If you are looking for an all-out veg meal, head to the patio at Gracias Madre where the Mexican food is vegan, organic and (mostly) gluten-free. Believe us when we say that this place is truly delightful; if you didn't know it was vegan, you wouldn't know it was vegan. Don't skip the mushroom fajitas or the mezcal Purista margarita (ask for it spicy).
If you're just in the market for a drink, have a Blue Velvet cocktail (made with rum, blueberry, lime and violet liqueur) with a stunning view of the city at Harriet's Rooftop (located on top of 1 Hotel).
Order the warm toasted sourdough, local burrata cheese and the lamb Bolognese radiatore pasta at the unabashedly colorful Mediterranian restaurant Olivetta. The bold, opulent interior pairs well with their vibrant Bubbles + blood orange cocktail (made with Lillet Rosé, amaro, grapefruit, vermouth and Champagne).
For a shot at spotting Hollywood royalty, reserve a table at Dan Tana’s—a dimly-lit, 57-year-old West Hollywood institution with red leather booths, checkered table cloths, wine bottles suspended from the ceiling, and a hearty lineup of pasta, meat, whiskeys and seafood. This place is distinctly not trendy; it's hardly changed in its many years of operation (which is exactly what makes it so charming). Famous restaurant regulars are immortalized on the menu alongside their favorite dishes (Veal Milanese a la George Clooney and Steak & Peppers, Sinatra).
Folks have been coming to West Hollywood to be entertained for about a century. During the prohibition era (before the city was incorporated), West Hollywood fell outside of the scope of the LAPD's jurisdiction, which made the Sunset Strip a perfect place to set up nightclubs, gambling and liquor joints. In the mid-1900s, the strip transformed into a glamorous celebrity hot spot, attracting everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Humphry Bogart, Dean Martin to Lucille Ball.
In the 60s and 70s, WeHo welcomed underserved and persecuted minority groups like the LGBTQ community and a number of Russian Jewish immigrants, adding to the unique spirit of the city. At the same time, a countercultural revolution brought hippies and artists to the Strip's famed music venues and clubs.
Neil Young played at Sunset Strip's Roxy Theatre (often called "The Roxy") on its opening night in 1973; this set was recorded and released in 2018 if you want to hear it for yourself. Paul Reubens introduced the world to his Pee-wee Herman character here in 1981. John Lennon, Harry Nilsson and Robert De Niro were members of the membership-only lounge upstairs. Today, the theater continues to offer great acoustics (it's why so many live records have been made here) and an eclectic lineup of musical performances.
Two blocks away at Whisky a Go Go (aka The Whisky), the stage was a launching pad for Fleetwood Mac, Led Zepplein, Chicago and Mötley Crüe; The Doors also served as the house band before being fired after playing that verse in The End. Today you can see performances by current up-and-comers, plus cover bands like Yachtley Crew or The Iron Maidens (an all-female Iron Maiden tribute band).
Located in a former celeb-favorite nightclub on the Strip, The Comedy Store is credited with launching the careers of some of the world's most famous comedians including Robin Williams, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Carrey and Roseanne Barr. The Store continues to foster new comedians just getting their start, alongside well-known headliners who frequently appear on the stage (including Marc Maron, Iliza Shlesinger and Bobby Lee) and A-list comedians who sometimes drop in unannounced to work out new material (like Dave Chappelle or Sarah Silverman). You never know who might show up the night you go.
You can't very well talk about West Hollywood entertainment without mentioning the Troubadour. Elton John played his first show in the States here and it served as a major center for folk and singer-songwriters like Carole King, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell in the 60s and 70s. In the late 70s and 80s, new wave and punk bands dominated. It's still one of the city's (and country's) best music venues, showcasing top acts (often just before they break big) in an intimate setting.
The Wellness Scene
Another asset of the city is its focus on wellness; it's a priority for people who live here, hence the wide array of exercise options and healthy menu items you'll see at restaurants. West Hollywood manages to both launch new wellness trends and put their spin on time-honored wellness traditions.
To experience the fitness scene firsthand, fit in a boxing-inspired workout at Rumble on the Sunset Strip, or a high-intensity interval circuit class at Training Mate, where the positive attitudes of the Australian trainers attract celeb clientele.
After working on your body, get a workout for your face at FaceGym (located at 1 Hotel West Hollywood). Here, "trainers" stimulate blood circulation and collagen production by massaging facial muscles. You can buy equipment to help you "work out" at home too.
To blend your exercise with a bit of touristy fun, explore the outdoors with Bikes and Hikes LA, an outdoor tour company based in West Hollywood. Join their hike to the Hollywood Sign, take a jaunt through the Hollywood Hills to the Griffith Observatory, or go on a bike tour through West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, where you'll pass celebrity homes and iconic landmarks (like the Pink Wall and the Beverly Hills sign).
When you're ready for all-out relaxation and renewal, book a spa treatment at Ole Henriksen. Start with one of the bathing rituals (the Moroccan is heavenly) and follow with a Return to Nature facial.
The Now is a boho-chic, minimalist massage spa with a few locations around LA, but we're partial to its first (located in West Hollywood). Swedish table massages begin at just $50, making it a worthwhile (and affordable) stop during your visit.
When it comes to shopping, Fred Segal should be your first stop for clothing (adults and children) and home goods. The man behind the brand opened his first store in 1961 (around the same time he was dubbed "the curator of cool") where he pioneered the denim bar and helped to bring America's attention to West Coast style: comfortable, casual and alluring. In addition to its regular lineup of retail from in-vogue designers, the flagship store on Sunset hosts live music, trunk shows and popups by beauty and fashion influencers.
The RealReal is a consignment store where you can purchase authenticated luxury goods (clothing, jewelry and home decor), which helps to extend the life of well-made products. The reselling of these items helps to keep them out of landfills, with a goal of lessening luxury fashion's environmental impact.
To get a look into the life of a local, pop into Book Soup, an independent shop that opened in 1975. The store has a curated collection of 60,000+ titles representing a number of genres including fiction, music, film, art and design. They host 300+ author events and signings each year (many of them free); if you miss an event, you can still pick up a book from their autographed collection.
For inspiration in home (or business) interior design, head to the Pacific Design Center's blue building located between Santa Monica Blvd. and Melrose Ave. Here, 70+ showrooms present 2,200 product lines, ranging from antiques to window treatments. You may need a designer to shop, but it's free to walk around and dream. Don't miss the public art in the lobby.
The Sunset Plaza is a perfect place to have lunch and window shop. Stop by Revolver Gallery (which sells Andy Warhol pop art), Oliver Peoples (for new sunglasses), and Bluemercury (for cosmetics and skincare). Also located in Sunset Plaza is The Oppenheim Group office of "Selling Sunset" reality TV fame.
West Hollywood is home to some of the best hotels in the Los Angeles area. Within its small footprint, you'll find 19 amazing lodging options, with everything from charming neighborhood boutiques (like Chamberlain West Hollywood) to trusted brand staples (including Kimpton La Peer), middle-of-the-action faves (Mondrian Los Angeles) to the 5-star, ultra-high-end new kids on the block (Pendry West Hollywood and The West Hollywood EDITION).
The one thing every hotel in the WeHo has in common is an incredible location. The walkability to sights you want to see (and those we've discussed here) are unparalleled in LA or, arguably, all of California.