Beverly Hills is the posh, rich side of town, complete with designer stores, butlers and Lamborghinis. West Hollywood is filled with up-and-comers and flocks of trendy & manicured socialites clad with organic totes and expensive heels. Santa Monica sits on the idyllic coast and is home to busy beaches and surfing hippies. And then there's downtown LA, a ghost town of old buildings and abandoned apartments that is getting a serious revival thanks to a cult following.
To see and experience the best of LA, we've put together this quick little guide filled with tips on where to stay and play.
Where to stay
The swanky Montage in Beverly Hills is a 5-star property, located a few steps from Rodeo Drive, and has everything you could want. From spacious suites to rentable Mercedes Benzes to renowned dining at Scarpetta, you'll never want to leave the hotel. Every room comes with a monogrammed pillow, making your stay feel even cozier. We love the junior suites, which have giant closets to store all your new shoes. If you do leave, rent a complimentary convertible (the Mercedes SLK) and cruise down the PCH. Rooms start at $500 a night.
If you're more of a trendy boutique person, book a few nights at the restored 15-story Sunset Tower in West Hollywood. This funky boutique property, which was built in 1929, screams old Hollywood, with dark walls, vintage prints and classic bands playing in the Tower Bar. Like the rest of the hotel, the rooms were recently revitalized and contain modern amenities like flat screen TVs and plush beds. Even though the hotel is stunning, you'll love the location more, located right on the famous Sunset Strip. Rooms start at $300 a night.
Where to play
If you're a history buff, stop by the Getty Villa in the Pacific Palisades. The stunning museum offers picturesque views of Malibu and the Pacific Ocean. The villa has over 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan artifacts, some dating back to early 400 AD. Outside, the villa sits on 64 acres of lush gardens hidden on a hill off the PCH. Parking is $15 and tickets are required.
Located right outside the Pacific Palisades is Santa Monica. If the weather permits, spend the afternoon at the Santa Monica State Beach. Here you can tan or run/bike along the beach trails. Be sure to stop by the 101-year-old Santa Monica pier, which has tons of activities like trapeze classes, carousels, a Ferris wheel, food, drinks and the best sunset view in town.
For great shopping, stop by Weho (West Hollywood), the rocker, fashion-centric, rebellious side of the city. Stroll the famous Sunset Strip and stop by one of the infamous clubs, like the Roxy, Viper Room, Whisk a Go Go and House of Blues for a trip back to the 70s. For a taste of the artsy side of town, spend a few hours in the Avenues, located off Melrose, Beverly Blvd and Robertson Blvd. Here you'll find over 300 galleries featuring local artists, organic and trendy eaters and bars and fashion boutiques ranging from local designers to the likes of DVF.
Another great place to shop is Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills (if you have the budget). Here you'll find names like Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, among many others. After shopping, grab lunch at The BLVD in the iconic Beverly Wilshire. This stunning hotel, where they filmed Pretty Woman, is a Bevery Hills landmark.
One of our favorite bars is the hidden Edison, located off an alleyway in downtown LA. The former power plant has been around since 1910, and the interior decor still reflects the industrial look of the plant. Alongside the beams and machinery, the interior has been revitalized to look like a speakeasy with copper walls, old movies playing on screens and sexy burlesque dancers. Be sure to order one of their signature bourbon cocktails.
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