From famed rock’n’roll bars to architectural exhibitions and Pop Art galleries, West Hollywood is full of things to do. LA’s Westside is a hub for design, fashion and LGBTQ celebrations – and there’s always something new to discover. These are the best things to do to make the most of your WeHo experience.
This discreet West Hollywood hotel and bar has been a hangout for celebrities and their admirers since it opened in 1929. Steeped in rock history, it’s amassed a long list of stories: Led Zeppelin drove motorcycles in the hallways and Jim Morrison jumped from a third-story balcony and lived to tell the tale. Visit the hotel’s cocktail bar for a Marmont Mule (ginger-infused vodka, soda and lime), and be sure to keep a lookout – the dark, moody room is still a hotspot for celebrities.
Not only is this one of the best burger joints around, it’s also a throwback to retro diners with a twist – every dinner comes with a show performed entirely by waiters in drag. The drag brunch takes place every weekend from noon to 2pm, with quirky entertainment and singing by ‘The Brunchettes.’
Visit the largest collection of LGBTQ material at ONE Archives
Founded in 1952, the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives is the largest active LGBTQ organization in the US, boasting the biggest collection of books, photographs, artworks and personal papers of its kind in the world. Located on Robertson Boulevard, it houses a constantly rotating set of exhibitions, filled with murals, installations, photography and over two million other items. Entry is free, but there is a $5 suggested donation.
Whisky A Go Go opened in 1964 and has since hosted some of rock’n’roll’s most influential names, including Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Janis Joplin. This storied venue still showcases up-and-coming local bands alongside bigger names and touring groups.
A cultural and literary fixture on the Sunset Strip, this independently owned bookstore was founded in 1975. Book Soup has built a reputation for its collection of over 60,000 titles focused on art, film, photography and music. A deep commitment to free press and love for autographed books keeps this store’s catalog dynamic. You can even pick up star maps and collectibles. With a calendar of high-profile events, the bookstore hosts author readings and celebrity meet-and-greets, which in the past have included screenwriter Josh Singer (The First Man) and Rush frontman Geddy Lee.
Appreciate art and lectures at the Pacific Design Center
Building, Market, Museum
Pacific Design Center
This massive complex in West Hollywood’s design district was created from a former rail yard. Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, the buildings are made of three angular red, green and blue glass blocks. Inside, the Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a variety of programming, from talks and workshops to screenings and exhibitions. It features an installation by New York artist Jeremy Holmes (through June 2019) and showrooms by brands Armani/Casa and Coraggio. Admission is free, allowing guests to explore the architecture and design exhibitions, including a permanent collection, at their leisure.
The most popular hiking trail in the city, Runyon Canyon has four hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty. Curving through the Hollywood Hills, the trails provide an escape from city life, some bracing exercise and views of the sprawling city. Most of the trails are wide and made of dirt or paved fire roads, but there are also single-track trails, for steeper and more challenging hikes. Make sure to bring water and a few snacks.
Hop in a time machine to the ’20s at the MAK Center For Art & Architecture
Originally a cooperative live-work space, this residential house was built in WeHo by Vienna-born architect Rudolph Schindler in 1922. Schindler was ahead of his time, and his designs for the house were extremely unconventional; the building was inspired by trips to Yosemite and feels like a post-modern campsite. Having housed the Schindler family along with a handful of other creatives, it is now on the US National Register as a historic building. It now hosts innovative performance art, experimental fashion shows and concerts of new musical compositions. Pro tip: entry is free Wednesday through Sunday.
Check out books and art at the West Hollywood Library
West Hollywood Library, LA
It may not seem like a traditional tourist attraction, but this marvel is as much an art space as it is a book depository. The Mid-Century Revivalist design of this three-story masterpiece is adorned with murals by street artists Shepard Fairey and Kenny Scharf. Indoors, splashes of color enliven the interior and ornately carved wood covers the ceilings of the entire second floor. The library is a relaxed place to read, feel inspired or simply take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. The public spaces host art exhibitions that have included work by rock photographer Henry Diltz and street artist Mr. Brainwash.
Behold new and old art at Hamilton Selway Fine Art
Hamilton Selway Fine Art Gallery, West Hollywood, LA
The Hamilton Selway Fine Art gallery is one of the largest dealers of Pop and contemporary art on the West Coast, specializing in prodigious artists such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Longo. See legendary works including Warhol’s tomato soup cans and Keith Haring’s Best Buddies. Along with such iconic names, the gallery also showcases new talent, including LA-born Louis Carreon and New York-based Kehinde Wiley.