30 Things to Love About 30-Year-Old West Hollywood

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A little less than a week ago, one of L.A.’s most beloved cities had a big birthday: West Hollywood turned 30! While small, the city is a rainbow, space-invader shaped corridor with a big presence and a lengthy history. The city came to be as a result of LGBT activists, seniors, and local renters banding together to create a forward-thinking place to live.

Locals know West Hollywood for being a flashy thoroughfare between Hollywood proper and Beverly Hills, but it is known nationally as a walkable hotspot, a celebrity sightseeing zone, and a safe place for LGBTQ persons. It’s a lot more, too. To celebrate what makes the centrally-located neighborhood great, here are 30 things we like–plus one “to grow on”:

  1. The Pacific Design Center
  2. …and the MOCA outpost within it
  3. The historical Formosa Cafe
  4. All the Russian bodegas and small storefronts between Fairfax and La Brea avenues on Santa Monica Boulevard
  5. Rainbow crosswalks
  6. Jesus
  7. The sculptures installed in the Santa Monica Boulevard median (and all the public art, really)
  8. The West Hollywood Library
  9. Dreamgirls Revue at Rage, the best drag show in Los Angeles
  10. The WeHo Pickup
  11. The Sunset Strip, a Los Angeles classic
  12. Book Soup
  13. Irv’s Burgers
  14. The residential architecture found between La Cienega and San Vicente, Santa Monica and Beverly boulevards. It’s a brilliant mixture of contemporary, classic, and WTF
  15. The very versatile Plummer Park
  16. Halloween in West Hollywood (but not the congestion it causes)
  17. The Sunset Tower—and the view from every hotel on Sunset
  18. Fabulous French food at Zinque
  19. Not fabulous French food—but the amazing ambiance—at French Market Place
  20. Hamburger Mary’s on a Sunday morning
  21. The hysteria that is the Whole Foods parking lot at Fairfax Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard (you secretly love it too, right?)
  22. The Troubadour
  23. The billboards, from the Jessica Simpson billboard that was once at the intersection of Santa Monica and La Cienega boulevards to those new crazy slingshot posts on Sunset and the rich history of head-turning billboards from years past
  24. The Matthew Shepard Human Rights Triangle, a too often overlooked gay rights memorial
  25. The rough, tumble, and consistently good New Image Art
  26. DBA…if you can get in.
  27. The original Foodlab
  28. Neighborhood folk oddity Asthma Vapineze
  29. ONE Gallery from ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives—and the work that they do to preserve West Hollywood’s queer history
  30. Sound and space group SASSAS (and their rare and wonderful happenings at King’s Road Park Pavillion)
  31. The 4, a very important LA bus

Kyle Fitzpatrick is a writer, an infrequent performer, and a lover of dogs, art, shorts, champagne, and L.A. You can find his musings Fridays on CityThink. For more, check out his locally focused art, design, and culture website, Los Angeles, I’m Yours, or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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