Every year over 10 millions people flock to Hollywood to behold Hollywood history and get a taste of how movies and TV shows are made. Without question, many of these same visitors are on the hunt to see in person their favorite Hollywood celebrity up close and in person. Indeed Hollywood and Los Angeles as a whole has a reputation for being home to the “rich and famous” and celebrity sightings are a common occurrence for many who live in Los Angeles. However in order to see a Hollywood celebrity, visitors need to go. As mention throughout in this guide to Hollywood, Hollywood is a state of mind and more important a “neighborhood” in the city of Los Angeles. In decades past (like the 1920s and 1930s) Hollywood was the true place that movies were made and celebrities were seen cruising Hollywood Blvd in convertibles. However today Hollywood is more the epicenter for the tourist crowd and a wonderful place to anchor and collect a strategy for branching out to all the locations worth seeing. That said you will not find your favorite celebrity hanging around Hollywood and Highland or strolling on the Walk of Fame as some visitors are led to believe. They are nearby however, but its up to you, the visitor to branch out and go to them on their own turf, usually outside of Hollywood.
West Hollywood is considered the edgy hip area of Los Angeles. Unlike Hollywood that is a neighborhood of LA, West Hollywood is actually a full fledged city that borders Los Angeles on the east and Beverly Hills on the west. West Hollywood has a high concentration of celebrities and stores that cater to them.
The Grove is just over the eastern border of West Hollywood and is considered by many to be a Hollywood hot spot. Celebrities recently spotted at the The Grove have included Anne Heche, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, LaToya Jackson, Susan Lucci and Paris Hilton to name a few. Every day around 1pm Mario Lopez hosts Access Hollywood from the Grove (near the Apple Store and in front of the fountains). Usually they allow spectators to get fairly close and if he has a celebrity on promoting a movie it’s a great way by default to have an up close encounter.
At one time the Sunset Strip used to be a hot bed for Hollywood star sightings. Although today there is a vibrant music scene and nightclubs still line the strip, Chateau Marmont remains the only solid celebrity hangout. Bar Marmont at the lobby level is frequented on a weekly basis by Hollywood stars. In fact its actually a favorite hangout for Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton.
About 3-4 years ago Robertson Blvd is was a zoo in terms of the paparazzi and the celebrities who frequented the area-specifically the area in West Hollywood between Beverly Blvd and Melrose Ave. The famed Ivy Restaurant on the west side of the street used to be (and occasionally still is) a major celebrity hang out. At its peak celebs would show up in hoards and demand to be seated on the outdoor patio so they could be seen by pedestrians and photographers who would stand across the street looking for the perfect picture. At its height Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Britney Spears, Susan Serandon, Ben Affeck, Jennifer Lopez and Sharon Stone were all somewhat regulars. Infact on one occasion Sharon Stone came roaming out the front gate to get into the back seat of a waiting limo as photographers swarmed her acting so inconvenienced and shocked that she was the center of attention. It was on Robertson Blvd that Lindsay Lohan decided to speed away from the papararazzi and collide with a floral van while everyone at the Ivy watched.
Where Robertson Blvd meets Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood and on the south side of the street is “Millions of Milkshakes.” About once a month a celebrity is invited to come to this small boutique shop and make their own milk shake. Usually the media and paparazzi follow, but locals are always given room to peep in the window to see what is going on.
Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive
Rodeo Drive can be overrun by tourists but it also gets its share of occasional celebrity sightings as well. You have to keep your eyes open, but they are there. Many of the stores on Rodeo Drive only see people by appointment making it ideal for those celebrities looking to be on the down low and not be noticed. Recent celebrity sightings have included the Kardashian sisters, Rob Lowe, Britney Spears (yes, she is in every location), Brad Pitt and Larry King. In fact Larry King can be seen walking Rodeo Drive every morning around 830am.
In addition to Rodeo Drive, many of the hotels in Beverly Hills can be hot spots for celebrity hang outs and the agents/managers who guide their careers. The Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Blvd has long been a huge celeb destination where stars mingle at the Polo Lounge or in the lobby. Every year there is a huge Academy Award party (one of Hollywood’s biggest) called the “Night Before” that is held on the eve of the Oscars. Other hotels in the area that have frequent celeb sightings include the Beverly Hilton (Where the Golden Globes are held every years) and the Montage Hotel on canon just a block east of Rodeo Drive.
Another hot spot outside of Hollywood (about a 20 minute drive west on Sunset Blvd from Hollywood) is the Brentwood/Bel Air area. After crossing the 405 Sunset intersects with Barrington Ave. It is the Barrington Court area home to a Starbucks, bakery, a few boutique stores and upscale restaurants that large numbers of celebs are frequently seen going about their errands. They include Calista Flockhart, John Travolta, Maria Shriver, Harrison Ford, Quenton Terantino, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Geller, Norm McDonald and Kevin Costner. In addition to the Barrington/Sunset area San Vicente Blvd is also often a hot spot for Hollywood celebrities dining at one of the many Italian restaurants that line Blvd.