West Hollywood, California: Where old-fashioned glamour meets cutting-edge design
Legendary nightlife, high-end design and a forward-thinking community makes West Hollywood an ideal destination for the sophisticated LGBT+ traveller.
West Hollywood, California (not to be confused with Hollywood in Los Angeles, California) is one of the world’s great gay meccas. Covering just under two square miles at the base of the Hollywood Hills, it’s a walkable, stylish and forward-thinking city split into three main neighborhoods: each resplendent with decadent poolside bars, gleaming designer showrooms and storied cocktail bars.
More than 40 percent of WeHo’s 37,000 residents identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or fluid. As a result, the city feels open and welcoming, leading LGBT+ holidaymakers to flock to the city in their thousands.
With LA Pride held every June, the Halloween Carnaval held in October, and other undoubted highlights on the West Hollywood calendar, the city’s charm is evident year-round.
Explore Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica Boulevard forms part of the iconic Route 66, and is the beating heart of West Hollywood’s LGBT+ community,
It’s filled with lively Russian bars and restaurants at one end, chic cocktails and delectable gastronomy in the Midtown, and ends in a so-called “Boy’s Town” heavy with pulsating dancefloors, drag queens and gogo boys.
In the daytime, pay a visit to the West Hollywood Memorial Walk, laden with rainbow flags and bronze plaques dedicated to those who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS, and be sure to drop in on the Out of the Closet thrift store, which raises money for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Relive the Sunset Strip
The Sunset Strip is known around the world for its hedonistic old Hollywood glamour. A one-time favourite of Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball and Nat King Cole, the 1.6 mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard is still home to long-running venues such as the Roxy and Whisky A Go Go.
An ideal place in which to base yourself, the strip is lined with luxurious hotels including the Andaz West Hollywood with its rooftop pool, the art-deco Sunset Tower Hotel and The Standard, Hollywood with its hidden Mmhmm cocktail bar.
Framed by Melrose Avenue and Robertson and Beverly Boulevards, the Design District is an eclectic mix of local boutiques and high-end fashion flagships from the likes of Stella McCartney, Glossier and Nike, peppered with independent art galleries and furniture showrooms.
A day in the district should revolve around shopping and taking in the stunning architecture, with the occasional pitstop for an artisanal coffee or a spot of brunch. Be sure to visit the Pacific Design Center.
If you’re considering a trip this summer, make WeHo your to-go-go.