People hate LA, and I understand why. One: The traffic. Two: They don’t know where to go. But what if you avoided the tourist traps of Hollywood Blvd hell and didn’t have to drive at all? West Hollywood was ranked California’s most walkable city, and West Hollywood happens to have a lot going on. It’s vegan-friendly, dog-friendly, LGBTQ-friendly, and fun-friendly, with crazy-beautiful weather year-round. If you want to skip the car on vacation, here’s an anti-travelbook guide to my little neighborhood.
The Map, highlighting my best recommendations for visiting West Hollywood. The shaded area is WeHo proper, but anything close may call itself West Hollywood on Yelp. The wiggliness of certain streets is not exact, but the distance scale is pretty damn close. You’ll notice it’s very food-focused, since that’s the most important thing to me during travel. :) Most of the “bars” noted are also amazing food sources.
Just a skip to the north, there is one of the entrances into dog park and great hike trail Runyon Canyon. If you follow Fairfax south another block off the map, you’ll hit Little Ethiopia, where you’ll find both high and low dining, both delicious.
Let’s break the rest down, shall we?
LE PARC SUITE HOTEL // My parents stayed here once on a visit, and could not have been more pleased. Located in a residential neighborhood, it’s a quiet escape from the bustle of Sunset and constant sirens of Santa Monica. All rooms are suites, pet-accommodating, and thus come fully equipped with little kitchens, if you prefer to shop and cook on vacation. The hotel cafe and lobby areas are lovely, but the rooftop pool area is stunning, especially at night.
THE STANDARD // This is the first Standard hotel, an iconic part of the Sunset Strip. It offers quintessential LA dining (like a hipster 24-hr diner) and rooftop pool that boasts more famous views than Le Parc. The rooms are super-minimal, with clean sparse design. It may initially seem cold, but it definitely has a certain charm.
THE FARMER’S DAUGHTER // This tiny adorable boutique hotel has unique rooms with farm-style hospitality. The restaurant, Tart, has tasty comfort food from locally-sourced ingredients.
THE VILLAGE IDIOT // A low-key meat-eater’s pub, with a lot of English-style food. (The fish n chips are excellent). It’s spacious and dim, even during brunch, when you might find it full of families. Check out the amazing wallpaper in back.
LAUREL HARDWARE // This bar is literally a refurbished Hardware store, and I watched the transformation. The drinks are strong and delicious, but the food is a little pricey for the precious size. Everything is intended to be shared, but it’s hard to share a few bites, right? Don’t miss the chance to check out the back area, including the garden. The ambiance is gorgeous, feeling very old-New York (meets LA).
THE ABBEY // West Hollywood obviously has a great gay bar scene, but if you’re only going to visit one, it has to be The Abbey. Long-established as a place welcoming to all, it’s earned it’s reputation. The restaurant turns into a club at night, quiet during the week with dancing on weekends.
THE SURLY GOAT // On a week night, this place is super chill, and on a weekend, it’s your standard line-out-the-door, too-loud bar. It’s a great spot to try reasonably priced beers, and play a little shuffleboard with strangers. Always good movies on mute.
THE FAT DOG // My favorite gastropub. I highly recommend it for brunch, and it’s a rare spot where you won’t have to wait for a table. Strong, super fresh bloody Mary’s are only $7. Some of the dishes are smaller in portion, but try the breakfast pizza, short rib hash, swedish meatballs, and the burger to get your fill. It’s all amazing.
BAR LUBITSCH // This Russian bar named for a romantic comedy filmmaker serves up perfect White Russians (go figure) with cool-divey booth atmosphere. It gets wild on the weekends with dancing in the back.
URTH CAFFE // A great cafe for tea and delicious, healthy food. Love the butternut squash pizza.
TENDER GREENS // A popular casual chain serving up organic everything. But mostly salads.
HUGO’S // They can make anything vegan, carb-free, or gluten-free.
GARDEN’S OF TAXCO // A special night out experience. At this authentic Mexico-City style gem, the servers recite the menu, and bring multiple courses.
ECHI // A favorite low-key sushi spot with super-friendly service. Happy hour is practically all day (starts an hour after the restaurant opens), and offers beer pitchers for $8. The popcorn lobster is amazing.
GREENBLATT’S // This deli blows Canter’s out of the water. The sandwich portions are huge, and come with really good sides.
GRIDDLE CAFE // A breakfast diner staple. Large, large pancakes in every variety.
LOS TACOS // 24-hr greasy hole-in-the-wall. Great for carnitas and late-night people-watching.
CARLITOS GARDEL // This fancy Argentinian place has the tastiest gnocchi.
FAUX PAS // A lovely brunch spot with cool open-air ambiance and killer bottomless mimosas in interesting flavors. EDIT: Faux Pas is currently closed for “reconceptualizing.”
TOMATO PIE // Best pizza in LA.
ANTONIO’S // Try Antonio’s own tequila.
CUBE CAFE // An upscale romantic-cool Italian restaurant and marketplace.
ALSO: On Melrose, where I’ve highlighted the blue shopping arrow, there’s food truck night on the first Thursday of every month.
MELROSE AVE // Tons of cheap-o shops.
MELROSE TRADING POST FLEA MARKET // The best place for scoring furniture, clothing, and odds and ends.
THE GROVE + FARMER’S MARKET // Proceed with caution. It’s always crowded and hard to park at. The movie theater here is nice, though.
LACMA // Spend the $10 on parking at the bar/restaurant, where you can get your ticket validated.
SILENT MOVIE THEATRE // This place shows pulpy crap to fun crowds, and has yummy cupcakes as concessions.
GROUNDLINGS // Check out the highly-competitive elite company of sketch comics at a show.