Because West Hollywood’s hallowed boulevards are so iconic — in music videos, on the silver screen, and (now more than ever) on mobile devices — we know that more than a few visitors to the oft-referenced streets are looking for a red carpet-worthy experience. After all, this is the beloved and unique 1.9-square-mile setting that we see so often portrayed in movies and TV shows as the epitome of American ideals.
To make the most of your time in WeHo, check out these famous locales, which have hosted a variety of projects including “Inception,” “Fame,” “The Green Hornet,” “Oceans 13,” “Entourage,” “Melrose Place,” “90210,” “Southland,” “LA Ink,” “The Hills,” “American Idol,” “The Bachelor,” and “Top Chef.”
Movies and TV
No film has put WeHo on the map quite like Billy Wilder’s 1950 noir hit, “Sunset Boulevard,” a Hollywood classic that quickly immortalized the now-famous thoroughfare. Depicting the relationship between an aging film star and a struggling writer, “Sunset Boulevard” may seem outdated with its black-and-white shots, but its underlying themes speak true to the triumphs and tribulations of the industry, even 70 years later.
Although much of the flick was filmed on sets and studio lots, this noir did its part to launch the Strip to superstardom. And while a visit to the boulevard under the Southern California sun might evoke feelings of possibility, a stroll after dark may just awaken some of the darker sentiments expressed in the movie.
Much like “Westworld,” WeHo allows visitors to play out their wildest fantasies — the only difference being that WeHo has consequences and lacks robots (we think). Beyond the phantasmagoric similarities between these real and make-believe worlds, “Westworld” crews have featured a few locations in West Hollywood on screen.
The most recognizable can be found in Season 1, Episode 6, when Maeve is guided around the Delos headquarters. The futuristic-looking escalators can be found in WeHo’s Pacific Design Center, a 1.6-million square-foot complex open to the public and intriguing for anyone interested in design. And, if you stick with the series long enough to catch the Season 1 finale, you’ll spot the vibrant primary-colored glass walls of the design center in the background.
“Dinner for Schmucks”
While the 2010 comedy “Dinner for Schmucks” may not have been a Hollywood blockbuster, it did tickle audiences across the country and feature a few recognizable shots from WeHo. When protagonist Tim Conrad, a financial analyst based in LA, is tasked with bringing a remarkable guest to a business dinner in order to make a favorable impression, he settles on amateur (and eccentric) taxidermist Barry Speck, played by Steve Carrell. The rest, as they say, is (comedic) history.
Shots from the movie — specifically of the exterior of Tim’s high-rise apartment building — were filmed at the iconic Sunset Tower Hotel on the Sunset Strip. So, despite the haphazard fallout from his antics, Tim remains in good standing and in good company, as the beautiful art-deco building was famously used to house stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, and Clark Gable back in the day.
The streets of WeHo have played host to many a famous bunch, but none so frequently as Eric, Turtle, Johnny, and — of course — Vince, of the HBO series “Entourage,” which aired from 2004 to 2011. The Hollywood bros paid more than a couple visits to Urth Caffé, a modest, green-and-white building situated on the corner of Melrose and Westmount Drive.
In addition to their beloved breakfast haunt, the guys wined and dined at Carney’s Sunset Boulevard — a classic diner-style restaurant squeezed into a vintage railcar — and Little Next Door, an elevated and romantic brasserie serving French plates. Die-hard fans looking to support the show past its series finale should also pay a visit to Fat Sal’s (admittedly located in Westwood) to catch a glimpse of Jerry Ferrara (Turtle) off the big screen, who is one of the owners?.
Additionally, keen movie and television buffs will notice WeHo hotspots in scenes from their favorite works. The long-running California-centric teen drama “90210” filmed at the London West Hollywood Hotel on North San Vicente Boulevard. Diane Keaton and Woody Allen’s fateful last meeting in the 1977 indie hit “Annie Hall” was recorded at the Source (now Cabo Cantina) on Sunset Boulevard. 2010’s “the Kids are Alright” features street scenes from around the famed neighborhood. “The Doors” (Oliver Stone’s 1991 homage to the rock group) features WeHo’s famous music venue Whisky a Go Go. And fans of Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” will also see WeHo “easter eggs” throughout the film.
Spots for the Stars
The Directors Guild of America
Though it isn’t the site of any particularly exciting film project, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) is an interesting structure in and of itself — any movie buff will want to pay homage to the legacy encapsulated within this building’s walls. The holy grail of the industry, the DGA is responsible for “representing the interests of film and television directors in the United States motion picture industry and abroad.”
With over 16,000 members and a history that stretches back to 1936, the DGA sits squarely on Sunset Boulevard to remind visitors and residents of the district’s past, present, and future within the film and television industry. Members of the DGA can also attend film screenings, where directors participate in a post-movie Q&As with another director of their choosing. To attend, you’ll have to join the Guild or be the lucky guest of a member, but with such a diverse community within WeHo’s bounds, it shouldn’t be too hard to befriend someone on the inside!
Take a walk past Craig’s on any given evening, and you’ll see a queue of paparazzi and reality show crews waiting outside. Long heralded as a celebrity favorite (or, George Clooney’s at least), Craig’s is common ground for famous folks from all walks of life. This past spring, the iconic locale hosted an evening of fun — and cattiness — when the real housewives of both Beverly Hills and Orange County convened for what we can only imagine was a raucous time. We’re unsure if any hands were thrown, but if you tune into Bravo in the coming months, you’ll get the lowdown on the situation yourself. In any case, pay a visit to Craig’s if you’re in the neighborhood (though you’ll likely have to make a reservation a few weeks, if not months, in advance) and see if you spot any cameras — you may just end up in the background of an episode of Real Housewives!
Though we mentioned above that Urth was a popular hangout for Vincent Chase and his “Entourage” gang, this beloved institution on the corner of Melrose and Westmount is also thespot for real celebrity sightings (sorry, Vince!).
Serving a variety of wholesome meals, drinks, and pastries, Urth is a popular watering hole for the rich and famous when they’re looking for a morning snack or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. If you do visit, we recommend ordering the Prosciutto Panini or Caravan Kale Salad, the Divine Spice Chai Boba Tea to wash it down, and the Three-Layer Cheesecake if you’re in the mood for dessert — and always keep an eye out for shade-donning celebs on the patio.
Keeping up With the Kardashians
Often referred to as California’s First Family, the Kardashians have more of a monopoly on Calabasas than they do Los Angeles proper, but that’s not to say that the famous crew hasn’t been spotted out and about in the West Hollywood area. Their beloved store, DASH, which closed this spring after 11 years of operation, used to stand on Melrose Avenue. As a result, plenty of the KUWTK screen time takes place at locales in and around WeHo’s Design District, including the popular café chain Alfred Coffee and the upscale clothing store Opening Ceremony.
In addition, the second youngest Kar-Jenner, Kendall, recently purchased a home in the neighborhood and rents an additional property there, so it’s safe to say that the Kardashian’s presence in WeHo is only increasing. As you walk (or Uber) through the city’s trendy streets, keep an eye out for the famous family — though you’ll probably spot more than a few lookalikes!
In 2013, fresh off of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” fame, Lisa Vanderpump scored her own eponymous spin-off. The show documents the reality star’s business and (dramatic) personal ventures that take place largely around the West Hollywood area.
Enthusiasts of the show might notice settings from the series like the Surly Goat, PUMP (a Vanderpump project), the Andaz West Hollywood, Dry Bar, Electric Owl, SUR Restaurant (Vanderpump owned, which stands for Sexy Unique Restaurant — cue eye roll), and MedMen. And with 120 episodes and counting, don’t be surprised if you encounter Vanderpump film crews patrolling the streets of WeHo.
And if you’re similarly interested in WeHo’s music and comedy scene, check out our other guides!