Catch a band
Perhaps the most obvious thing on the Sunset Strip is to enjoy what it’s famous for: live music. This area is where ’60s rock legends such as David Bowie and Jim Morrison hung out, and where metal acts, including Guns ‘N Roses, got their start. Today, check out the calendars at Whisky a Go Go, Roxy, and Viper Room to see who’s playing. It’s not technically on the Sunset Strip, but it’s also worth seeing who’s on the bill at the Troubadour, located nearby on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Get thrown off a bull
It’s not fine dining, but the Saddle Ranch is one of the best-known restaurants on the Strip. It’s a Western-themed, rock-influenced steakhouse with a bucking mechanical bull in the center, which guests are free to try to ride. You can also order a tower of cotton candy here. Though there are multiple locations, the Sunset Strip outpost is the subject of a reality TV show, titled Saddle Ranch, that follows the lives of the bar’s employees.
The Strip is home to two legendary comedy clubs, The Comedy Store and Laugh Factory. The Comedy Store, founded in 1972 by Sammy Shore and Rudy DeLuca, sits in the former home of nightclub Ciro’s. Comedians including Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Louis CK, Whoopi Goldberg, and Whitney Cummings have performed here.
Jamie Masada founded the Laugh Factory in 1979. Masada worked hard to make sure that comics were paid for their gigs, something that had been a point of contention at The Comedy Store. Comedians including Jerry Seinfeld, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, and Robin Williams have visited this stage. Additionally, the venue hosts a free dinner and a show on Thanksgiving and Christmas for anyone who should drop by.
Get hamburgers, hot dogs, and frozen bananas inside of this old, bright yellow Pacific Railroad car. It’s been there since the 1970s, as long as some of the venerable clubs. Food critic Jonathan Gold once wrote, “The only thing to do upon finishing a Carney’s chili dog is to eat another one, and the dude behind the counter always cracks up when you come back up to the counter to order the second dog that he had said you were going to get all along.”
Carney’s, 8351 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 654 8300
The Chateau Marmont
Other than making an appearance in multiple Lana Del Rey tracks, the Chateau Marmont is known for being a residence to the stars. It opened in 1929 and became a hotel in the ’90s. Celebrity guests have included Hunter S. Thompson, Jim Morrison, and Lindsay Lohan (who was once banned for racking up a tab of over $46,000). In the film La La Land, a character who achieves success is depicted as living here. The public may visit this glamorous hotel’s restaurant, though you’ll have to be a guest to take a dip in their pool.
Chateau Marmont, 8221 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA, USA, +1 323 656 1010
The public can lounge poolside at SkyBar at the famed Mondrian Hotel anytime after 1 p.m. (Mornings are reserved for hotel guests.) The hotel also occasionally throws events here, such as Sunday pool parties throughout the summer or evening cocktail parties. You can also hit up The Standard, where bright, blue astroturf surrounds the pool. Those not staying at the hotel can purchase a day pass to use the pool or can enjoy a meal or a cocktail on the deck. It’s a perfect way to enjoy both the view and Los Angeles’ perfect weather.
Eat amazing food
If you’re looking for a high-end meal, there’s BOA Steakhouse which, according to Forbes, may satisfy the tourist who wants to know where they can spot a celebrity. The vibe is modern and chic, both inside and on the patio. Find premium cuts of meat on the menu, including a 40-day dry-aged New York Strip, bone-in rib eye, and a 21-day tomahawk steak for two. Seafood and vegan options are available.
BOA’s sibling, ROKU, focuses on teppanyaki, where guests can watch chefs prepare spot prawns and Wagyu. The menu also includes sushi and other Japanese dishes.
For something no less delicious, but perhaps a bit friendlier on the wallet, there’s Night + Market WeHo. This small, authentic Thai restaurant serves flavorful and spicy curries, noodle dishes and salads, all best washed down with a cold Chang.
Get locked in a room
The Sunset Strip is home to two escape room companies, Enigma Escape Room and Fox in a Box. Fox in a Box has seven unique rooms, including Zodiac, Zombie Lab, Prison Break, Tesla’s Mystery, Central Break and Cold War Bunker. Enigma has five, including Crime Scene, Seance, The Will, Apartment 205, and The Secret Temple. Some of them incorporate technology such as virtual reality, but all of them will have you puzzling your way through a story while you race against the clock. Only teamwork will guarantee success.
Independent book stores are in short supply these days, so it’s worth it to stop by Book Soup. Founded in 1975 by Glenn Goldman, Book Soup sells books and music and hosts a variety of author events. It’s a great place to find work by local writers, as well as national titles.
Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA, USA, +1 310 659 3110
A cocktail at Everleigh
Eveleigh is very pretty on all accounts, from the serene, secluded setting to the people who frequent it. Though they do serve an excellent brunch, you’d be remiss to not pay attention to Eveleigh’s happy hour, which is Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. It’s during this time when you can score select cocktails for $6–8, and bar bites for the same price. It’s a little oasis that’s certainly quieter than the noisy rock venues you’re apt to hit up later.
Eveleigh, 8752 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA, USA, +1 424 239 1630
Eat an egg wrapped in bacon
“The Rolling Stone” is an egg wrapped in avocado, wrapped in bacon and covered in cheese. You can find this item on Estrella’s brunch menu, along with chai tea-spiced French toast, short rib mac & cheese, and brunch cocktails beyond Bloody Marys and mimosas.
Estrella, 8800 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA, USA, +1 310 652 6613
Visit the Rainbow Bar & Grill
Pay a visit to this longstanding West Hollywood watering hole before or after a show. It’s been around since the ’70s and became the meeting place for a number of notable rock stars, including the so-called Hollywood Vampires—a group that consisted of Alice Cooper, Keith Moon, John Lennon, and Harry Nilsson, among others. They serve a casual menu of Italian, American and Mexican fare.
Rainbow Bar & Grill, 9015 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA, USA, +1 310 278 4232
Hair metal history
The Sunset Strip didn’t get its reputation by being tame. Vince Neil mentioned several West Hollywood strip clubs in the Mötley Crüe hit, “Girls, Girls, Girls.” There’s the Tropicana, The Body Shop, and the Seventh Veil—all located on the Sunset Strip. Seventh Veil and The Body Shop are still in operation today. Both will be easily recognizable by their blinking neon signs that read, “Girls, Girls, Girls!”