Visiting Brentwood can easily be accomplished within one day of sightseeing in Los Angeles. There are three main streets that run through the neighborhood. They are Sunset Blvd, San Vicente Blvd and Wilshire Blvd.
If you are traveling from Bel Air, Westwood, Beverly Hills or exiting the 405, you may enter Brentwood via Sunset Blvd. Sunset Blvd snakes west through Brentwood where it passes through the heavily residential area. The first stop on Sunset that is worth checking out is the intersection of Barrington Avenue and Sunset Blvd. It is in this area you will encounter the Brentwood Village. Continuing on past the Sunset and Barrington intersection, you will find streets branching off of Sunset on either side. Make a right on any of these streets (Kenter, Bundy, etc) and you are quickly taken up into the slopes of the Santa Monica mountains where you will find luxurious multi-million dollar homes. It is this area that is home to many celebrities, studio executives and professionals. You'll note these homes all have spectacular views of the ocean and the western Los Angeles basin. On clear days, these homes easily can see well into downtown and beyond. If you make a left off of Sunset you will also find expensive homes that are nestled far back into wooded areas. These winding, bumpy, narrow streets connect Sunset with San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood's main shopping thoroughfare. By staying west on Sunset Blvd. you will eventually drive into the Pacific Palisades region of Los Angeles. If you travel east on Sunset Blvd. out of Brentwood, you will cross the 405 and proceed directly into Bel Air and the Westwood/UCLA area.
By making a left off of Sunset onto Barrington you will proceed into the Brentwood Village which is home to many shops, bakeries and restaurants. Metered parking is available throughout this area. The Starbucks on the corner is always hopping and if you get a coffee or snack and settle in you are almost guaranteed to make a celebrity sighting as they come to and fro running their daily errands. There is a variety of shops in this area offering all kinds of boutique fashions and unique items not found anywhere else. See more below under dining and shopping in Brentwood for specifics in this area.
San Vicente Blvd
San Vicente Blvd. is the main shopping and dining thoroughfare of Brentwood. There are two San Vicente Blvds. that transverse Los Angeles, and this one should not be confused with the one that begins in West Hollywood and runs through to La Brea. This San Vicente Blvd. begins at Wilshire Blvd and runs parallel to Sunset and Wilshire, terminating in Santa Monica at the ocean. San Vicente Blvd. in Brentwood is home to many shops and delicious restaruants and cafes. On weekends this stretch, from Wilshire to Bundy is a beehive of activity with local westside and Brentwood families out enjoying the sunshine and the relaxation the stretch has to offer. Parking is at times tight, and is enforced by meters on either side of the street at $2.00 an hour. However, there is parking on the residential streets to the south of San Vicente Blvd, be advised the streets are narrow and tight in this area, parking can be difficult.
Some of the main attractions on San Vicente Blvd. is the shopping area just to the east of the intersection of Barrington Ave and San Vicente. Located in a 3 story white spanish style outdoor mall are a variety of shops and stores catering to both men and women. Clothing lines for all seasons are located here, most in the higher price ranges. Further west on San Vicente are a variety of shops, from Starbucks, to bakeries, to boutique beauty lines. There is also a Whole Foods market and newstand on the north side of the street. San Vicente Blvd is populated by several Italian resturaunts, an American grill, and casual eats such as Noah's Bagles, Soup Plantation and Jamba Juice.
San Vicente Blvd is a 4 lane road, (2 in each direction) with a grass center divide median. Planted on this center divide are large sculpted coral trees (official tree of Los Angeles) that run the length of San Vicente Blvd from Barrington all the way to the ocean and Santa Monica. During good weather it is not unusual to see dozens of local residents utilizing this strip to excercise by stretching, walking and running.
ESTATES OF BRENTWOOD
LIke Beverly Hills and Bel Air, Brentwood is the premier location for many multi-million dollar homes that are owned by major celebrities and world renown business people. There are two main residential areas of Brentwood that feature these homes. These areas are between San Vicente Blvd. and Sunset Blvd, and, between Sunset Blvd and Mulholland Drive. When driving westbound on Sunset Blvd. from Bel Air and the 405, you can access either one of these neighborhoods by turning eiither right or left on the following streets: Kenter, Bundy, Sawtelle. By turning right off of Sunset you will head into the hills where you will find huge estates with beautiful views of West Los Angeles. By turning left you will travel down very winding and narrow streets housing cute boutique type bungalows, many of which have architecture that can bring you to an east coast feel. By turning left you will ultimately terminate at San Vicente Blvd. You may access these same streets by traveling west on San Vicente Blvd. away from Bundy Drive.
One of the biggest roads that climbs deep into the Santa Monica mountains of Brentwood is Mandeville Canyon Road. On the right hand side off of Sunset about a mile past Bundy, Mandeville extends miles into the Santa Monica Mountains with huge sprawling estates. Home to major celebrities, many of these homes have been converted into ranches capable of housing horses and other wild animals. Follow any of the offshoots of Mandeville and you will find yourself in extravagant neighborhoods nestled high above Los Angeles with views of all of West LA and the ocean.
The OJ Simpson Drama
Although Brentwood has always been known as a quaint, charming westside inlet between the ocean and Beverly Hills to LA locals, the neighborhood received International noteriety with the O.J. Simpson case of 1994. It was the Brentwood area where he was accused of murdering his ex wife Nicole Brown SImpson and dumping evidence at his then Brentwood mansion. The wild police chase that was seen by thousands exited off of the 405 on to Sunset and proceeded past Sunset and Barrington to his home on Rockingham. Today the home where NIcole Brown and Ron Goldman's bodies were discovered is still standing, although with a different address. Visitors can take Gorham off of San Vicente and where it terminates at Bundy Drive on the south end of Bundy still stands the original condo complex.
BelAir is located to the east of the 405 freeway along Sunset Blvd. and extends all the way to the Beverly Hills border. There are two main entrances to Bel Air off of Sunset Blvd. They are Bellagio Road and Bel Air Road. Both entrances have grand facades. Upon entering Bel Air the roads become narrow and winding as they climb into the hills. On Bellagio Road, there are quaint trees and shrubs pruned to mimic lollypops. Many of the homes have elaborate front entrances and fort like gate entrances. As you climb higher into the hills you'll notice many of the homes are perched off the side of steep mountain sides affording either spectacular canyon views or views of West Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. Many famous celebrities live in this part of LA including Elizabeth Taylor and the Hilton family.
Hotels of Brentwood/Bel Air
Visitors looking to stay on the westside in either Brentwood or Bel Air will find limited hotel accommodations. With the closing down of the Bel-AIr hotel for rennovations in late 2009, the three main hotels in the area are the Hotel Angeleno, Luxe Hotel-Bel-Air and the Brentwood Motor Lounge. The Westwood area of Los Angeles is adjacent to Brentwood/Bel-Air and offers a variety of hotel choices as well.
GETTING TO BRENTWOOD/BELAIR:
From Hollywood: Take Sunset Blvd west about 7 miles, after crossing Beverly Glenn you are in Bel AIr, after crossing 405 you will be in Brentwood.
FROM LAX: Take the 405 North, exit Sunset Blvd. To Brentwood make a left, to Bel Air make a right.
From Beverly Hills: Take Sunset Blvd all the way west. Sunset passes through both Bel Air and Brentwood.
From Santa Monica: Take Ocean Ave or Lincoln Blvd to San Vicente. Make a right on San Vicente.
From the San Fernando Valley: Take 405 South to Sunset. Make a right on to Sunset to go to Brentwood, make a left to proceed into Bel Air.