A visit to Beverly Hills is not complete without a trip to Rodeo Drive. The shopping section of Rodeo is about 3/4 of a mile long begriming at Santa Monica Blvd and extending down to Wilshire. The architecture is the classic Spanish/European west coast feel with beautiful slender palm trees down the center divide. It is this stretch that attracts major A list celebrities and well to do tourists from all over the world seeking goods only found on this street. Some of the fine shopping you'll find on this strip include, Ralph Lauren, Hermes Paris, Prada, Channel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier and Tiffany. Rodeo Drive extends the full north/south length of Bevelry HIlls, however it should be noted that the main shopping and residential area of Rodeo that the locals and visitors alike travel to is the stretch that begins at Sunset and ends at WIlshire Blvd. Rodeo resumes south of Wilshire but this stretch of the drive is home to smaller residential homes only.
Rodeo Drive is located in the heart of Beverly Hills about 5 miles inland from the ocean, 5 miles from Hollywood and 11 miles to Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX).
Rodeo Drive begins at Sunset Blvd and extends down to Wilshire Blvd where it ends. The main shopping area of Rodeo begins at little Santa Monica Blvd. The main shopping area of Rodeo drive is a 4 lane stretch with a medium lined with palm trees separating the flows of traffic. On either side of Rodeo are dozens of retail stores sporting some of the biggest names in retail in the world. These store fronts are mostly glass and give a fresh, pristine and clean look to Rodeo Drive. All along Rodeo Drive at any given time of day are hundreds of visitors. See the Beverly Hills main page for a description of these visitors-but its safe to say they come from all over the world, all walks of life and often include celebrities, just to be on Rodeo. Most of the merchants in each of the stores are often dressed in full suits and often stand outside the entrances to their stores hoping to woo shoppers in. Although not a rule and unfortunately sometimes not always an exception, some of these merchants can be intimidating and often give the perception while standing at the store front that they are attempting to eye only what they think will be the highest spending shopper.
The walk on Rodeo Drive is a relatively quick one and if window shopping only, Rodeo can be accomplished in about 45 minutes or less. As exciting of a place Rodeo Drive is, there is only one dining opportunity on Rodeo itself and that is at the Luxe Hotel. However there are dozens of dining options on the side streets that split off of Rodeo Drive including little Santa Monica Blvd.
At the termination point of Rodeo Drive at the intersection of Wilshire Drive, you will find the legendary Beverly Wilshire Hotel that was made famous in the movie, Pretty Woman starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. It was from this location that the famous scenes of Julia Roberts character was shot as she wrangled with Rodeo Drive Shop owners. In this same area of Wilshire Blvd you will find a whole array of additional shopping. Stores along the Wilshire stretch in Beverly Hills include Nieman Marcus, Barneys New York and Nike Town. Many of the LA's local shoppers who don't want to engage in the fuss of Rodeo Drive end up at these venues. With gigantic floor space and displays, these stores retain the upscale/expensive shopping offerings like Rodeo, only with a much wider selection.
Those looking to people watch instead of window shop will be amused by the constant stream of high end cars, many convertibles, driven by the local LA set that cruise up and down Rodeo Drive. The drivers range from the mid 30s male with sunglasses and european style suite to the older housewives of Beverly Hills with full on make up, hats and sometimes a small dog in the lap. Every hour on the dot groups of tour buses come through Rodeo often dropping visitors from all over the world.
Another area of Rodeo Drive that is a must see is an area called #2 Rodeo Drive. This section is located at the intersection of Wilshire Blvd and Rodeo Drive on the southeast corner of Rodeo Drive. An alley way composed of cobblestone streets and quaint facades depicting an Italian European feel, #2 Rodeo is an additional area of fine boutique shops and quaint cafes and fountains.
One of the most well known stores on Rodeo is Bijan. However a visit off the street like the other stores on the drive is not permitted. Bijan sees potential customers on an appointment basis only. The store caters to upscale mens fashions and the average suit is said to go for $15,000. The boutique was started by Bijan Pakzad in the 1970s after he immigrated from Iran. The store has clothed movies starts from Tom Cruise to Anthony Hopkins and many US Presidents including Obama as well as foreign leaders such as Tony Blair of Britain. You'll know when Bijan is in the house when one of his signature yellow Ferraris or Bentley Azure's is parked outside.
All year round is a good time to visit Rodeo Drive. However certain times of the year are better. Winter time is great, however it can be a gamble with the weather. So far the winter of 2011 has turned out to be beautiful and sunny everyday. However there are days when it can be cloudy or rainy. Summer is a good time although draws a larger crowd. During June LA experiences a unique phenomenon called "June gloom" where it can be overcast and hazing most of the day. There is also the chance during the summer months a heat wave could hit Rodeo causing temps in the 90s to maybe 100 degrees.
Parking on Rodeo Drive is by meter, however there is plenty of open and free parking along Rodeo just north of Santa Monica Blvd. Those cars that do secure parking along Rodeo are often sights in themselves. It is not unusual to see Ferraris, Maseratis as well as rare top of the line BMWs, Mercedes and Porches parked along the storefront meters.
Rodeo Drive is easily seen in a little less than 2 hours. Although visitors looking to take in some heavy duty shopping will find they can spend an entire day on Rodeo with the number of stores that include #2 Rodeo and those that line Wilshire Blvd, Canon and Brighton Drives.
Canon and Brighton Drives as well as Little Santa Monica Blvd all run either parallel or perpendicular to Rodeo Drive. Canon runs parallel while Brighton and Little Santa Monica Blvds cross Rodeo. Like Rodeo, these streets are full of luscious flowers, palm trees and glass store fronts offering merchandise from clothing to personal and home accessories of the highest quality.