Los Angeles: Beverly Hills & W. Hollywood
Beverly Hills, with its grand gated homes, tall palm trees, and expensive boutiques, epitomizes Hollywood glamour. Just to the north lies much funkier (and very gay) West Hollywood, a.k.a. WeHo.
EAT Sprinkles Cupcakes
9635 Little Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310/274-8765, sprinklescupcakes.com
Each day's flavor choices are different. Favorites include the red velvet with cream cheese icing and the lemon with coconut icing. $3.25 each, $36 for a dozen.
EAT Urth Caffé
267 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, 310/205-9311, store.yahoo.com/urthcaffe
Organic coffees and teas are the specialty, but there's also a selection of wholesome salads, soups, sandwiches, and more creative healthy fare, like veggie lasagna and tofu and vegetable nori wraps. Kirsten Dunst and Cameron Diaz are regulars.
SPLURGE The Ivy
113 N. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310/274-8303
Enjoy comfort food, such as meatloaf or crab cakes, next to Hollywood's elite. English floral decor and comfy pillows make for a shabby-chic atmosphere, and lunch on the patio, though hectic, is charming and glamorous at the same time. The sweet little garden café has been the scene of many a paparazzi showdown. Signature drinks include the Ivy Gimlet and champagne with raspberries.
DRINK Barney's Beanery
8447 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hollywood, 323/654-2287, barneysbeanery.com
One of the L.A.'s oldest restaurants, Barney's is beloved for its unpretentious atmosphere. Beers, beans (the chili combos are famous), and ball games are specialties.
DRINK Fiesta Cantina
8865 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hollywood, 310/652-8865
Known for two-for-one margarita happy-hour specials, 4 p.m.--8 p.m. daily. The fish tacos are a WeHo favorite. Entrées range from $4.50 for burritos to $10 for fajitas. The jukebox is always rocking with guilty pleasures--classic Madonna, Elton John, and Bon Jovi--and the friendly bartenders like to sing along, often without their shirts.
SHOP Out of the Closet
99 N. La Cienega Blvd., Suite 200, Beverly Hills, 310/657-9353, aidshealth.org
Finding a great deal at this treasure-filled thrift store is easy, as secondhand clothes, housewares, and more go for scandal-ously low prices. All proceeds benefit the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The window displays are dazzling, with decorations rivaling those at famous department stores.
7428 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323/653-3028
Melrose's best supplier of secondhand clothes and accessories for men and women. The shop stocks vintage garb (up to the 1980s), as well as current designers like Seven Jeans and Juicy Couture.
115 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310/859-2652, shopkitson.com
Designer duds for men and women, as well as funky gifts and trinkets for any credit-card limit. Even if you can't afford the rich-kid price tags (the Hilton sisters are regulars), there's fun to be had simply browsing.
PLAY The Groundlings Theatre
7307 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323/934-4747, groundlings.com
Hilarious improv and written sketch shows nightly. There's never a dull moment on this legendary stage, where the biggest funny names in Hollywood made their debuts. Walls are lined with photos of geniuses past, like Will Ferrell. Reservations recommended, especially for weekend shows, which can sell out three weeks in advance. From $10.
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr., 310/440-7300, getty.edu
The Getty Center Los Angeles, one of the most impressive private art collections in the world, charges no admission. There are thousands of works in all, including Van Gogh's Irises. The museum is high in the Santa Monica Mountains; visitors park at the base and take the tram up. Closed Mon. Self-guided audio tour $3. $7 parking fee. (Note: Reservations to park are no longer required.) To get there: Take the Getty Center Drive exit from the San Diego freeway (I-405) near the intersection of the Santa Monica freeway (I-10), and follow the signs. A second site, the Getty Villa in Malibu, opened in January 2006 (17985 Pacific Coast Hwy., Pacific Palisades).
Enter off N. Fuller Ave., Mulholland Dr., or N. Vista St. from Hollywood Blvd., runyon-canyon.com
A 130-acre park where hikers enjoy breathtaking views of the city. The chances of spotting coyotes, snakes, deer, and the odd celebrity walking a dog are high, and there are trails for hikers of all levels.
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