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How to Explore West Hollywood
By:Lea WhiteFeather

If you are in West Hollywood on a pre-planned trip, perhaps your visit is geared towards seeing the sites where classic rock bands had their humble beginnings. Maybe you have come for the equally famous annual Gay Pride Festival and Parade, if not the Halloween Street Party on Santa Monica Boulevard, which is one of the largest in the United States. Whether or not you have an agenda when you set foot in "WeHo," there are a variety of activities to add to your itinerary even on the spur of the moment. The town technically may be relatively young, as it officially became Los Angeles County's eighty-fourth city only in 1984, yet there is a rich history here. After all, for a small 1.9 square miles, this is where the legendary Sunset Strip is located, where the Vanity Fair Oscar Party is held yearly at Morton's and where "The Doors" frontman Jim Morrison caroused up and down the streets in the sixties. These guidelines will help you explore this fascinating destination.

Book yourself into the same accommodations favored by the posh, or simply stay at one of the many motels in the area. You can always head over to the grander hotels for a drink at the bar or a stroll along the grounds. The Alta Cienega Motel is modest, but conveniently located within walking distance to the Sunset Strip. The Chateau Marmont, on the other hand, is pricier but it is also where many iconic film, television and music figures have chosen to stay throughout the years.

Take your pick between classic burger joints and watering holes that have been around for decades, or freshly opened restaurants already flooded with new patrons. Come mealtime, you can give your taste buds what they are salivating for because West Hollywood is home to a diversity of gastronomical delights. Barney's Beanery on Santa Monica Boulevard was a known favorite of patrons Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin. For a snack both the trendy and the healthy clamor for, perhaps you'd like to try Pinkberry's real--not powdery--yogurt. Due to the shop's popularity, you shouldn't have any trouble finding one during your stay in Los Angeles, but the first one ever opened is located in a quiet neighborhood on Huntley Drive, just off of Santa Monica Boulevard.

Stop by the music venues where history was made and possibly continues to be with each performance. Some popular choices are the Whisky a Go-Go, Doug Weston's Troubadour, the Viper Room and the House of Blues. For an entertainment alternative, try The Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard. This is where such comedic legends as Robin Williams, Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy began their careers. It also used to be Ciro's, a nightclub popular with the stars of Old Hollywood.

Satiate your mind and curiosity by browsing through the wealth of information at such havens for the open-minded as the Bodhi Tree Bookstore on Melrose Avenue or Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard. If your tastes tend towards the kinky, Larry Flynt's Hustler Hollywood store is also located on Sunset Boulevard for the 18-and-above crowd. A West Hollywood landmark difficult to miss due to its large size is the Pacific Design Center, where you can find furniture and other items for your interior decorating needs. Just look for the hulking blue and green structures on the corner of Melrose Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard.

Shop--or simply stargaze--on Robertson Boulevard, where celebrities pepper the stores filled with the apparel and accessories that adorn the "in" crowd on television and in magazines. Get ready to maneuver around the paparazzi as you make the rounds from one shop to the next; where the stars are, you can be sure the cameras to capture their every move will be as well. If you're looking for a quieter--yet nevertheless hot--spot to pick up a few chic purchases, Melrose Place, which the TV show was named after, is in the vicinity as well.

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