Los Angeles conjures up many images-sunshine, the entertainment industry, celebrities, beautiful women and hot cars. One area of the city that seems to bring all these sights together along one central location is the Sunset Strip. The Sunset Strip is the name of a stretch of Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood that connects Hollywood with Beverly Hills (and West Hollywood being in between those two). The Sunset Strip is full of some of the most iconic names in night clubs that have graced the Los Angeles scene, boutique shops, bright neon lights and classy and somewhat legendary high rise hotels. Bordering the Sunset Strip to the north is the Hollywood Hills where multi million dollar mansions perch on the hillsides giving those home owner views 360 views of all of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.
By day the Sunset Strip appears to be a normal commercial district (although still with fancy cars). However at night the strip is transformed with crowds on the sidewalks, bumper to bumper traffic and bright lights, advertisements and flashing neon signs in front of various clubs. For some its real excitement, for local Angelenos trying to get from Beverly Hills to Hollywood it can be a drag.
The Sunset Strip has had a crazy history and has many tales to tell. To be honest, it has seen better days. In the 1930s and 40s it was the playground for the rich and famous and then A-List Hollywood stars. In the 1960s it was the prime hang out for Frank Sinatra and Liz Taylor, in the 70s and 80s the Hyatt Hotel (now known as the Andaz) was the scene of various rock bands that would stay at the hotel during concerts in Los Angeles and at times roam the strip with hundreds of adoring fans in tow. It was also the late 1980s that the infamous death of River Phoenix occurred in front of the “Viper Room”. There are various clubs that line the curbs have household names as “The Whiskey Go Go” , “Key Club”and “The Roxy” however no longer are these clubs “the place to be” or a who’s who situation. Many are closed on prime nights and only open on special events.
In 2013 the strip still has glam, nice cars and good crowds but most celebrities aren’t to be seen here do the clubs that are there now have much LA cache. At times it appears the strip is more crowded with tourists than local Angelenos or actual pop culture icons of decades past. Regardless of the type of crowd that run the strip these days, on any weekend night the strip still comes to life and those looking for excitement will be sure to find it. Although the exception being that about once a year a new hip restaurant opens on the strip that attracts a celebrity clientele but usually they close after about a year or two in business.
Cruising the Sunset Strip on a Friday and Saturday night is definitely a must do activity for those visiting Los Angeles. The good thing is it shouldn’t take more than a half hour and you can say you saw it. If inclined to explore further grab a drink at Cabo Cantina or at the hotel bar at “The Standard”. Saddle Ranch with its prime location on the strip is also a good place to grab a meal while taking in the sights of the strip.
Parking on the Sunset Strip can be insane. Forget trying to get a meter spot (and if you do make sure to obey all signs and curb colors, parking just an inch over a red painted curb will incur a steep fine). There are various parking lots along the strip that start at $15 and can’t be missed with men standing on the side of the street waiving flags to direct people in.