West Hollywood

West Hollywood

West Hollywood is an area west of Downtown Los Angeles bordered on the north by the Hollywood Hills, on the east by Hollywood, on the south by the Fairfax District, and on the west by the city of Beverly Hills.  West Hollywood benefits from a very dense, compact urban form with small lots, a mix of land uses, and a walkable street grid. According to Walkscore, a website that ranks cities based on walkability, West Hollywood is the most walkable city in California with a Walkscore of 89.

Most historical writings about West Hollywood began in the mid 1500's with European colonization when the Portuguese explorer João Rodrigues Cabrilho arrived offshore and claimed the already inhabited region for Spain. Around 5,000 of the indigenous inhabitants from the Tongva Indian tribe canoed out to greet Juan Cabrillo. The Tongva tribe was a nation of hunter-gatherers known for their reverence of dance and courage  By 1780, what became the "Sunset Strip" was the major connecting road for El Pueblo de Los Angeles, and all ranches westward to the Pacific Ocean. This land passed through the hands of various owners during the next one hundred years, and it was called names such as "La Brea" and "Plummer" that are listed in historical records.  Most of this area was part of the Rancho La Brea, and eventually it came to be owned by the Henry Hancock family.  During the final years of the nineteenth century, the first large land development in what would later become West Hollywood—the town of "Sherman"—was established by Moses Sherman and his partners of the Los Angeles and Pacific Railway, an interurban railroad line which later became part of the Pacific Electric Railway system.

For many years, the area that is now the city of West Hollywood was an unincorporated area in the midst of Los Angeles. Because gambling was illegal in the city of Los Angeles, but still legal in Los Angeles County, the 1920's saw the proliferation of many casinos, night clubs, etc., along Sunset Boulevard (which starts in downtown Los Angeles).  Also in the 1920's, the world discovered Hollywood, and the glittery nightclubs just beyond its western border became the place for celebrities to be seen, the Sunset Strip. The 1920's and 1930's also brought the construction of several movie studios and many architecturally distinct apartment houses and hotels catering to the free spending stars. As the Golden Age of Hollywood began to fade so did the allure of West Hollywood.  Then, in the late 1960's, young rockers rediscovered West Hollywood and its new nightclubs, including the now famous Whisky-A-Go-Go and the Troubadour. This led to the establishment of West Hollywood as home to a thriving music publishing industry. Within a few years, commercial revitalization, including all around enhancement of West Hollywood, was apparent.  The city was officially incorporated on November 29, 1984.

Today, West Hollywood is a thriving area with a varied population of singles, young families and seniors.  While one of the hottest spots in Los Angeles for nightlife and dining, it is also home to many pockets of residential areas.  The residents enjoy shopping in places such as Sunset Plaza which offers everything from dry cleaning services to dental, medical and optical clinics to jewelry stores and kids clothing boutiques.  High-end steakhouse BLT Steak LA is there as well as the famous Le Petit Four French eatery.  Just down Fairfax is the Original Farmers Market and The Grove.  In addition to the Whiskey and the Troubadour, West Hollywood nightlife includes such iconic clubs as the Viper Room, the Rainbow Bar and Grill and the Roxy Theater.  A more elegant bar scene can be found at Sky Bar at the Mondrian Hotel,  Bar 1200 at the Sunset Marquis and The Tower Bar at Sunset Tower Hotel.

The official guide to West Hollywood here offers a wealth of information about this vibrant, exciting city.