Thursday,  December 12, 2019  10:03 am

West Hollywood: what it's like in the heart of L.A


West Hollywood: what it's like in the heart of L.A
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch: christine@paxglobalmedia.com.

If you’ve planned a trip to West Hollywood and have big dreams of standing under the famous Hollywood Sign in Hollywood Hills, think again—that’s Hollywood, not West Hollywood.

Composed of 1.9 square miles (that’s 4.9 square kilometres, Canadians), West Hollywood is an eclectic hub that’s smack in the heart of L.A. Three eclectic neighbourhoods—The Sunset Strip, Santa Monica Boulevard, and West Hollywood Design District—make up what the locals, and Jeff Morris, chief marketing officer, West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board, calls “the WeHo vibe”.

5b100f5a8560c563180948.jpgLooking for West Hollywood? Keep driving!

During a small gathering at The Chase Fish & Oyster, representatives from West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board and Reach Global chatted with trade media, and provided news and updates on the destination.

“West Hollywood is an amazing destination, and it’s both the literal and figurative heart of L.A.,” said Morris. “Not only is it in the centre of Los Angeles, (you can get to the beach and downtown, and Universal Studios theme park quickly), but it’s really where trends happen. We have the coolest restaurants, the vibiest night clubs, and the best shopping. It’s a place where people come to get their start in the design world, and it’s really just what people think about when they think about Los Angeles.”

The WeHo way

One of the best parts about West Hollywood is its accessibility. Approximately 30 minutes from LAX, West Hollywood has a Walk Score of 89, which means you’re never too far from a trendy bar, café, restaurant, or boutique from the time you leave your hotel.

As a very concentrated destination, visitors to West Hollywood will quickly get a feel for each of the three neighbourhoods, all famous in their own right.

The Sunset Strip is known for its clubs, including the Whisky A Go Go and The Viper Room, once owned by Johnny Depp, and the scene of actor River Phoenix’s untimely death.

“Those clubs along the Sunset Strip are very iconic, especially for people who are interested in the rock and roll scene,” Morris said. “If you’re interested in the history of rock and roll, you have to go to the Sunset Strip.”

The-Sunset-Strip-PC-Ryan-Forbes-2.jpgThe sunset Strip at night.

Down in the Design District, Melrose Avenue is a must-do for any visitors who are looking to keep up with the latest fashion trends, and where you’ll find both luxury boutiques and flagship stores.

Santa Monica Blvd, also called “Boys Town”, is home to some of the most famous gay bars. West Hollywood is proudly LGBTQ+ friendly, and has one of the most prominent gay villages in the U.S.

“Because of that, it has an energy and vitality that you feel when you walk down the street, and it’s like no place else you’ll experience,” Morris said.

West Hollywood's hotels

Many luxurious, high-end hotels also exist on the Sunset Strip, including the Kimpton La Peer Hotel which just opened in January 2018, and features 105 rooms for a more intimate, local experience.

A Marriot EDITION hotel is also slated to open towards the end of this year, featuring 190 rooms and located on the corner of Doheny Drive and Sunset Blvd, tucked in with the Sunset Strip’s best night clubs and entertainment.

Another hotel, the Pendry, is currently under construction, and it will be built at the site of the Sunset Strip’s old House of Blues. The projected date of completion for this high-end offering is 2020.

la-peer-backyard-pool-oasis-seating-lounge-chairs-sundeck-patio-edf3702d.jpgKimpton La Peer Hotel, West Hollywood

Holding its own

Despite common misconceptions, West Hollywood is very different from Hollywood--they're two completely different cities.

“A lot of people come to L.A with this dream of fulfilling looking like a celebrity,” said Anne Van Gorp, director, communications, West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board. “There are a lot of up-and-coming health and wellness trends (like a vampire facial), and because it’s such a walkable city, there’s so much to do. Air capacity from Canada to California increased by 10.3 per cent over last year. There’s also an increase of 5.5 per cent of Canadian visitation to Los Angeles as a whole.”

With more lift into L.A., an analogous lifestyle, and the allure of warmer weather as winter approaches, West Hollywood is an affordable and accessible destination for Canadians who don’t necessarily want to head to Florida. There are currently more than 200 flights out of all five gateways per week from Toronto to Los Angeles.

For more info on West Hollywood, click here!

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