West Hollywood is one of the most popular locations in Los Angeles for a slew of reasons. For one, it’s adjacent to tons of historic and interesting areas of town – its borders include Hollywood to the east, Beverly Hills to the west, and Fairfax to the south. It’s also a short drive to Downtown if you travel east, the San Fernando Valley when you head north, and the beach and Santa Monica if you go west. It’s a central spot and a popular destination if you want to take a trip or start a weekend – you won’t have to travel too far to see some famous sights.
Here, you’ll find a quick overview of some of the most famous things to do in West Hollywood. Be sure to spend a fair amount of time at each one, but if you miss out, never fear – you can always come back and see something new, eat something different, pick up another dress, or spot another celebrity!
Laugh Like Never Before
If you want to have a side-splitting time in West Hollywood, it’s a no-brainer that you’ll need to go to a comedy show. There are plenty of venues all around Los Angeles where amateur and professional comics alike can get up on stage, but the two most famous locations are situated right in West Hollywood.
The Comedy Store has been in operation since 1972, and it’s where many successful comics got their start, thanks to the owner and operator, Mitzi. It was here that legendary comedians like Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor worked on material, and later, where future stars like Jim Carrey and Arsenio Hall were born. Depending on what day you go, you may be in for a different show with a slew of comedians, some of whom are regulars and some of whom are passing through.
On the other hand, you can travel about 10 minutes up the road and arrive at the Laugh Factory. Founded in 1979, it was another location where comedians flocked to find success and notoriety. George Carlin, Jay Leno, David Letterman, and others are among those who performed at the Laugh Factory. You can stop by for an early evening or a late evening show.
Rock Out with Live Music and Performances
Catching a concert is a great way to spend a weekend. Not only can you see a historic theater or club, but you can potentially hear new music, local artists, or hidden bands that you otherwise wouldn’t have heard. There are a few places you can visit, each with its own unique history.
The Troubadour, for example, may be one of the most famous clubs in the country. It routinely sells out quickly when a popular (mainstream or underground!) act comes to town. It’s been around since 1957, and has had dozens of bands record live shows there. Acts have debuted and ended their careers at the club. It’s a place where music history breathes in the walls.
Similarly, you can go to the Rainbow Bar & Grill, perpetual home of the late Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead fame, where they have live acts, lunch and dinner offerings, and more. It’s a small space with the restaurant downstairs and the gigs upstairs. Conveniently, it’s directly next door to the Roxy Theatre, another nightclub that was founded around the same time and continues to see large numbers of visitors and acts each weekend.
To find even more music history and to catch a show, you can visit Whisky a Go Go, just down the street from the aforementioned Rainbow and Roxy. You can find cover bands, retro nights, tributes, and more. Check the calendar and decide what interests you the most. The things to do in West Hollywood can be put on a limitless list, after all!
Indulge in Literature
Inasmuch as West Hollywood is a space for music, it’s also a prime spot for literature. The West Hollywood Library is an attraction for locals and visitors. If you’re only in town for a little bit, you probably won’t be able to check out a book, but you can walk around inside and browse the shelves.
However, there’s Book Soup – an independent book store housing more than 60,000 titles. The allure of Book Soup is in the events, as well; they often have authors come in for live readings and signings, which is great for any bibliophile. If you’re looking for a place to find signed copies of your favorite book, try Book Soup and see if what you want is in stock.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
In addition to entertainment, you can shop at numerous stores in the area. Shopping is actually one of the most popular things to do in West Hollywood. There are plenty of famous shops to choose from, but perhaps the most iconic is Sunset Plaza, a collection of businesses located on Sunset Boulevard. For nearly 100 years, Sunset Plaza has been a hotspot for independent stores and local businesses to set up shop. Many have come and gone over the years; today, there are a number of boutiques, restaurants, salons, and more.
If you’re in the mood to eat, you have a wide selection to choose from: Sushiya offers traditional Japanese cuisine, while Chin Chin offers traditional Chinese food. La Petit Four is heavily photographed, and for good reason – it receives raving reviews for its French dishes. Bossa Nova provides Brazilian meals.
Perhaps you’re not hungry, and you’d like to find a new outfit for the season. Stores like Sheila on Sunset, Calleen Cordero, Mac and Kelly, H. Lorenzo, and more have a host of different styles you can choose from.
Maybe it’s been a long day, or an exhausting week, and you simply want to pamper yourself and relax. The spas and health centers in the area are widely visited. You can stop at Ole Henriksen, Golden Ocean, Sunset Plaza Salon, and more,
Sunset Plaza is a strip that’s easy to walk, and there’s plenty of free parking available behind the shops. You can make an entire excursion out of a trip to Sunset Plaza and still find that you haven’t visited all the stores you would want to.
Take your time and enjoy everything that West Hollywood has to offer, and much more!