Rodeo Drive, the rich and the famous, spas, luxuries known around the world and multi million dollar mansions are just a few of the things people first think of when they hear of Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills lives up to all these high and exciting expectations and more. Spread out between Bel Air and West Hollywood and 4 miles west of Hollywood (just follow Sunset west out of Hollywood ), Beverly Hills is its own city within the City of Los Angeles that is full of lush greenery, palm trees, wide and smooth winding roads, amazing shopping opportunities and of course living.
Beverly Hills is an exciting place to visit. Unlike most other neighborhoods of LA, the city layout of Beverly Hills makes a clear distinction between the residential areas and the commerce/shopping districts. When entering Beverly Hills, you will find that everything to the north of Santa Monica Blvd is purely residential with the exception of the Beverly Hills Hotel that lies on Sunset. Everything to the south of Santa Monica Blvd. are the shopping and commerce areas that include luxurious spas, hotels, dining and of course famous retail areas. This area south of Santa Monica Blvd. includes Rodeo Drive, the shopping areas along Wilshire and Canon Drive to name a few. Beverly Hills maintains a well manicured and pristine environment. When entering Beverly Hills from West Hollywood on Sunset, visitors will notice the immediate contrast from the neon lights, night clubs and music houses of the Sunset Strip to the perfectly manicured lawns, grassy center divides and rich, thick foliage that line Beverly Hills. There are no fast food restaurants and outdoor advertising that one might find in the rest of Los Angeles in Beverly Hills.
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 begining 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 Vitone, Gucci, Cartier and Tiffany.
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.
The crowds along Rodeo Drive are as interesting to check out as the merchandise in the windows. They come from all over the world and all walks of life to be on Rodeo. There are several categories of people that you will likely encounter on Rodeo. 1) The local Beverly Hills resident-often times very fit, always with a pair of sunglasses, dressed to kill-yet casual at the same time. They know what they want and you will see them darting from store to store, through traffic and off onto the other side streets. 2) The International shopper. Like the Beverly Hills resident, these people fly in from all over the world to see what goods and services they can take back from Rodeo Drive. Paris, London, Tokyo, Sydney and so many more-every nationality is represented along Rodeo Drive. 3) Celebrities on Rodeo Drive. Yes you will see the occasional celebrity along Rodeo Drive, from Britney Spears to Diane Keaton have all been spotted shopping along this corridor. Stand around long enough and you are guaranteed to see somebody, even if they are cruising through in a convertable-just looking to be seen. 4) The tourist. These are the people who come from all over the world just to see what Rodeo is about. Typically they arrive on tour bus and hop off north of Santa Monica and walk down. Like clock work every half hour it is common to see the big double decker tour buses pass through.
Centrally located on Rodeo Drive is the Luxe Hotel where a patio cafe right on Rodeo affords visitors the opportunity to have a cocktail or meal while taking in the sights of Rodeo Drive. From this spot the crowds and traffic of Rodeo Drive pass right by.
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 wrangeled 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 Bevelry 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.
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 quant facades depicting an Italian European feel, #2 Rodeo is an addtional area of fine boutique shops and quaint cafes and fountains.
LITTLE SANTA MONICA BLVD:
Running parallel to the main Santa Monica Blvd is little Santa Monica Blvd. Along this stretch of blvd is another area of upscale shopping, dining and spas. This area is easily accessible from any part of the commercial area of Beverly Hills and crosses all the main north/south shopping thoroughfares (Rodeo, Canon, Roxbury, etc). One of the main attractions of late on Little Santa Monica Blvd is Sprinkles Cupcakes. Opened in 2005, Sprinkles cupcakes quickly became the premier choice for sweet tooths all over Los Angeles. An assortment of flavors, Sprinkles cupcakes are now world famous and you'll always find a line down little Santa Monica Blvd for one of these good treats.
Although Rodeo Drive, little Santa Monica and Wilshire Blvd are perceived as the big names of high-end Beverly Hills shopping and glamour, the other streets that transverse this area must not be over looked either. Both Canon and Beverly Drive (parallel and just a block east of Rodeo) offer many shopping and dining oppportunities as well. On the corner of Canon Drive and Wilshire Blvd, Spago stands out. Owned by Wolf Gang Puck, this is one of the most established Hollywood dining spots in all of LA. Always a scene, Spago traditionally comes to prominence around the Oscars every year where several private parties with all the top names in Hollywood are held the week prior.
Beverly Drive extends both north and south of Wilshire Blvd. On the section of Beverly north of Wilshire you will find Nate & Al's, a local known deli that is very popular with the locals and celebrities alike. Larry King enjoys weekly meals here along with a host of other legendary faces. Beverly Drive south of Wilshire retains the Beverly Hills charm but is host to more casual dining options like California Pizza Kitchen and local yogurt shops.
THE ESTATES OF BEVERLY HILLS
No visit to Beverly Hills is complete without a tour of the massive estates occupied by the rich and famous. Going back generations these homes have been the living quarters for major A list movie stars, prime-time tv stars, major producers and renowned business tycoons. The bulk of the Beverly Hills residential area lies north of Santa Monica Blvd and is divided in half by Sunset Blvd. The area that lies between Santa Monica Blvd and Sunset Blvd is known as the "flats" of Beverly Hills. The area north of Sunset Blvd is a mountaineous area where gigantic multi room estates lie and are sprawled out across the mountainside with tremendous views of Los Angeles.
The main streets to look for that run north/south through both of these neighborhoods are Foothill Blvd, Roxbury Drive, Maple Drive, Alta Drive, Palm Drive and of course Canon and Rodeo to name a few. These streets are very different from one street to the next. For example Foothill Blvd has breathtaking views of gigantic palm trees on each side of the road while Maple Drive is home to more quaint Maple trees. Each home on these streets is very unique and has a rich history. Some of these homes date back 40 or more years while others were newly built upon the purchase of the lot and the tear down process of the home that existed before it. The open van tours that depart Hollywood for celebrity homes take visitors through these areas daily. (Tour vans depart every hour from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highlands in Hollywood.)
TOP THINGS TO DO/SEE in Beverly Hills:
1. Walk Rodeo Drive from Santa Monica Blvd down to Wilshire. Be sure to check out #2 Rodeo at Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Blvd.
2. Check out little Santa Monica Blvd as it parallels Wilshire for quality dining options, bakeries and more upscale/boutique shopping.
3. Have a glass of wine on the sidewalk Patio on Rodeo Drive at the Luxe Hotel.
4. Get in car and drive north of Santa Monica Blvd and check out the million dollar estates on Foothill, Roxbury, Camden, Maple and Palm Drives to name a few. Be sure to take any of these streets north of Sunset and wind into the hills of Beverly Hills for even bigger estates.
Photo Gallery of Beverly Hills
GETTING TO BEVERLY HILLS
Take the 405 northbound to the Santa Monica Blvd exit. Exit Santa Monica Blvd to the east and travel approximately 2 miles.
FROM WEST HOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD:
Take either Sunset Blvd, Beverly Blvd or Wilshire Blvd west, all these routes will take you straight into the center of Beverly Hills. DO NOT take Melrose Ave as Melrose terminates in the West Hollywood Area.
FROM WESTSIDE (SANTA MONICA/BRENTWOOD)
Take either Santa Monica Blvd, Wilshire Blvd or Sunset Blvd do west for 4 miles. All three will lead you straight into the city center. If you are in Venice you will want to take Lincoln or Ocean Avenue up to either Wilshire or Santa Monica Blvd.
Take the 10 freeway west to the Robertson Blvd Exit. Take Roberston North where it terminates at Santa Monica Blvd. Make a left onto Santa Monica Blvd and proceed one mile.