Beverly Hills has it all: hillside mansions, high-end shopping, five-star spas, Celebrity Chefs and Michelin restaurants. It is easy to understand why this is the playground for the rich and famous. Be sure to spend some time in this little city while visiting Los Angeles. It may surprise you to find Beverly Hills is more Hollywood than Hollywood is.
Start early, grab a coffee and pastry on the go. Stop for a photo of one of the nine city limit signs and continue on to Greystone Mansion; enjoy your pastry while wandering the grounds. The mansion has been used in many films: Indecent Proposal, Town and Country, X-Men, What Women Want, The Bodyguard, The Witches of Eastwick, The Big Lebowski, All of Me, Ghostbusters II, Death Becomes Her, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Air Force One, Nixon, Batman & Robin…
The Beverly Hills Hotel was built in 1912 in a field of Lima beans. It was frequented by wealthy polo players who practiced nearby. Hollywood society discovered the area and began building homes. This hotel is the cornerstone of all things Beverly Hills. Walk the red carpet into the lobby and have a seat taking it all in. Stop by the Polo Lounge for a cocktail and ease drop on the conversations around you. Have lunch at the Cabana Cafe or go downstairs and have a treat at the soda fountain. The Robinson Estate is behind the Beverly Hills Hotel. This was the first home built in the area and the only one open to public tours by appointment. The homes gardens are beautiful and the area is often used for filming. Virginia Robinson made her fortune from the Robinson May Department Stores, she is the ‘First Lady of Beverly Hills” and was known for her bridge parties. Call (310) 276-5367 to make a reservation.
This is a good starting place to wander the hills in search of stars homes. You have several options: take an organized tour and hear commentary, purchase a star map on a corner, take the time to create a custom tour or just wander the area. Most of the homes are gated with high privacy walls, you will not see much. I suggest mapping out a few places you want to locate then wander around. Be sure to look through the canyons to the other side to see the backs of the mansions. Use Seeing Stars to create your route. The streets get narrow and wind, I went around a corner and almost ran over Whoopi Goldberg so be careful! You will likely end in Bel Air. Consider crossing Sunset Blvd and checking out UCLA, Sorority Row and Westwood Village before heading back toward Beverly Hills.
Taking Wilshire back to Beverly Hills you will pass the Beverly Hilton Hotel. This is the home of the Golden Globe awards and many red-carpet events. Continue on to the Electric Fountain; you will recognize it from the movie Clueless and the Go-Go’s Our Lips Are Sealed video. It is worth the couple blocks into the neighborhood to see the Witches House. This home was originally the dressing rooms on a Culver City movie lot. The Spadena family purchased the home and moved it in 1934. Next up is the whimsical Gaudi Inspired O’Neill House. Both homes are fun photo opportunities.
Stop at the Sprinkles ATM for a Red Velvet Cupcake before moving on to Beverly Gardens Park. This park includes an 11-block path you will often see people jogging down on popular TV shows. Stop for your photo opportunity at the Beverly Hills Sign and Lily Pond. Beverly Hills has over 60 pieces of public art, several are located here including the Hymn of Life Tulips. Head over to The Paley Center for Media to completely immerse yourself in all things TV. The center has archives of your favorite shows to view or watch a free screening on the big screen. Check their website for what’s playing. Stop in Edelweiss Chocolates for a handmade sweet treat before heading over to Rodeo Drive.
Did you know that Louis Vuitton has a private deck where VIP’s can relax with a glass of champagne? And that many of these boutiques have private shopping lounges? Champagne wishes and caviar dreams [sigh]. If you are feeling brave, park the car and window shop this three-block area of Giorgio Beverly Hills, Chanel, Prada, Valentino, Cartier, Hermes, etc. Don’t miss Bijan’s $1.6 million Rolls Royce outside the storefront. Take notice of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture at the Anderton Court Shops. Search the Walk of Style plaques in the sidewalk for your favorite designer or model. Pass Robert Graham’s Torso Sculpture on your way to Two Rodeo and walk the pedestrian shops.
Cross Wilshire Blvd and you are in front of the Beverly Wilshire for your ‘Pretty Women’ moment. You are now on Department Store Row. If you find the cost of everything horrifying and are done with shopping, move on to Thomas Keller’s Bouchon for a quick latte fix and afternoon pastry. Walk over to Beverly Canon Gardens and take in the atmosphere and relax; be sure to check their summer concert schedule.
There are many food options in Beverly Hills. Grill on the Alley is a great spot to people watch with a high likelihood of spotting a celebrity. Head to the rooftop of Above 60 for a cocktail with a view. In the mood to splurge? Choose from Wolfgang Puk’s Spago or Cut, Curtis Stone’s Maude, Geoffrey’s Zakarian’s Georgie, Michelle Lisi’s Nerano. If you are a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fan, Lisa Vanderpump’s Villa Blanca is also in the area.
Visit the Beverly Hills Office of Tourism at #LoveBevHills for a calendar of events and planning guide
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