Latest posts by Ilene Wendy Silk (see all)
- About Hollywood - July 10, 2014
- About Malibu California - July 10, 2014
- How To Fall (and Stay) In Love with Los Angeles – Volume 2 - November 27, 2013
WHERE is West Hollywood?
West Hollywood extends for a maximum distance of about 3 miles east to west and 1.25 miles to the north and south. It is surrounded on the north by the Hollywood Hills, on the east by the community of Hollywood, on the south by the Beverly-Wilshire district, and on the west by the City of Beverly Hills. West Hollywood is midway between Downtown Los Angeles and the beach (perfectly situated if you’re both a city and beach lover!). And we’ve all heard that there are only three things that matter in real estate: “location, location, location!”
WHAT characterizes West Hollywood?
WeHo is an eclectic and diverse city that was incorporated as a city in 1984. Figure this math: 34,399 people living within 1.9 square miles = one small, densely populated, very popular city! Its diversity is the probably the most appealing aspect of the city and may be WeHo’s single most significant characteristic. I’ve lived in West Hollywood for 18 years and love it as much today as I did when I first moved here. I left the great city of Philadelphia, mostly because the enclaves of neighborhoods were extremely homogeneous and proud of their insular nature. I always sought a rainbow social life that was inclusive and colorful, young and old, as well as culturally and politically attuned. For me, West Hollywood was that perfect fit.
To some of us, a cutting edge atmosphere is exciting. West Hollywood’s energies toward cutting trends have always been balanced by its commitment to classic glamour. Note its iconic edifices still pulling focus when you amble throughout WeHo. Sunset Boulevard’s section of European-style cafes amidst designer boutiques feel timeless while everything food-and-shop-related on Melrose Ave. feels counter to that. Again, to live in WeHo probably means you’re just as comfortable traversing either area.
West Hollywood is home to fabulous (and I say that in three very long-winded syllables: faaa-byou-luss!) hotels. The Chateau Marmont, high up on Sunset Boulevard is the quintessential
resting spot of the coolest-ever, including the happening-now and glories-past Hollywood stars. The boulevard also boasts the Art-Deco landmark building known currently as Sunset Tower which often plays host to Jennifer Aniston, David Bechham or J-Lo. Newer trendier places, The Andaz, the Mondrian, the London or Sunset Marquis are less predictable in terms of crowd and celebrity but all ooze some industry “cool.” When I brunch at any of the above, if nothing else, my eyes take in the hippest fashion, newest attitudes, and best tech devices! Of all of the areas in Los Angeles, I get the largest percentage of “hot off the press” sightings of things and people in West Hollywood!
West Hollywood’s Hills may dominate many of your ideas of the views of WeHo. As a resident, we admire the changed skyline provided by the architectural masterpiece, the Pacific Design Center sometimes referred to as The Blue Whale. Visit the public spaces there and shop the design stores and galleries nearby on Melrose Ave., Beverly Blvd. or Robertson Blvd. These mostly modern stores for home décor are like perusing contemporary art museums. They serve as much for inspiration as they do for purchases by your Interior Designers.
Across from the Pacific Design Center is the home of the brand new West Hollywood Library, adjacent to recently renovated West Hollywood Park. Both make good stops as a tourist or resident. Once on that west side of San Vicente Blvd. heading toward Robertson and Doheny or north to WeHo’s western stretch of Santa Monica Blvd, you will find the area that is home to a large thriving gay community. Restaurants, bars, music lounges and stores of all kinds abound on both Robertson and the S.M. Blvd. It’s fair to say that whether you’re a tourist or you live here, it’s a must to spend part of an afternoon or evening at The Abbey, the legendary West Hollywood gay bar. Once there, you will know (if you don’t) whether you’re gay or not, bi-curious or not, open-minded or not. Ultimately you’ll feel that it’s simply fun and has nothing to do with being gay or straight. The Abbey serves more than great Martinis; it provides enlightenment about people and living.
Onto the very happening music scene! Music venues such as the House of Blues, Whisky a Go Go, The Troubadour, The Roxy Theatre and Viper Room have something going on every night of the week and support the eclectic tastes of Los Angeles residents. And once you’re feeling invigorated by the music scene, head onto the endless arrays of bars and nightclubs peppered throughout WeHo, on (mostly) Sunset, Santa Monica or Melrose, but not exclusively. The list is so long and ever-changing that I’d do a few google or yelp searches prior to heading out to be updated.
When a city is densely populated, the options for living are extensive. From high-rise living, to duplex life, to mid-rise condos, there are practically endless opportunities for finding what you’re looking for. Old style (the average age of homes in West Hollywood is 40) and ultra modern to suit the tastes of many art-oriented residents, there is no shortage of real estate. Houses abound on the slightly sloping streets of West Hollywood and as you move higher onto the steeper streets of the city, in the hills, prices and views go up higher.
WHO is in West Hollywood?
The stereotyped way for viewing West Hollywood has been related to its support of a thriving
LGBT community and has also been associated with the goings on of young Hollywood. From my point of view, the larger point is missed when looking at WeHo’s diversity. The greater theme that applies to a truly mixed community, since I am neither gay nor “young Hollywood,” is that by its very nature, there is an underlying theme of acceptance. Oh sure, individuals have unique personalities and some will invariably be snarky and others may judge those who are different, but by and large, in West Hollywood, the consensus is “I’m okay, you’re okay!” And there is a wide range of differences in people – corporate climbers (high income, high expenses), “makin’ it” singles (as in upper scale income), and foreign-born urbanites (multi-age immigrants with diverse languages and skills) – just to name a few. Here is one recent statistic that may be telling; 53% of the population is single while 27% is married, 13.6% opposite sex marriage. 7% include homes with kids. Another is that 13.6% are Russian speaking. Approximately one third of West Hollywood’s population identifies as LGBT). Did I say diverse?!
(** Disclaimer – as with all of our “About” sections, it is nearly impossible to limit these lists to 5. West Hollywood is the hardest to limit by far. We will have links to more extensive lists of restaurants and shops! Coming soon.)
DINE AT THE TOP (dollar):
DINE IN THE MID (range):
Fig & Olive
DINE ON A BUDGET:
Pink’s Hot Dogs (had to, it’s an institution)
DRINK RESPONSIBLY AT:
and of course. . .
All along Sunset Strip
SHOP TIL YOU DROP:
(Divided by shopping areas not individual stores)
Melrose Ave. (east of Fairax – hipster) and Melrose Ave. (west of Crescent Heights – high end)
The Grove (unofficially West Hollywood)
W. Third St. (between La Cienega and Fairfax)
LIVE (and thrive) HERE:
Single Family Residences:
A one-bedroom apartment averages:
As I’ve ventured forth, it was often said to me after I shared with friends some outrageous story rife with coincidences and lucky stars, “Only Ilene!” It made me feel unique and inspired me to experience more of the same. In the same way, I often hear “Only in LA,” or more specifically “Only in West Hollywood!” West Hollywood is a standout city overflowing with culture and creativity, the refined and the radical, the outrageous and the elegant. Visit or live here and feel a part of it. I do!