One of the most famous roads in the United States, Route 66 has been attracting travelers for years. The historic highway travels all the way from Chicago to Los Angeles, including a section that passes through the heart of West Hollywood, right along Santa Monica Boulevard. Serving as one of WeHo’s main drags, this stretch offers endless entertainment, marvels of urban design, and mouth-watering restaurants. So, no matter what type of adventurer you are, the importance of a trip down Santa Monica Boulevard can’t be overstated!
If you’re looking to grab the best bites on the boulevard, we’ve got you covered. Hamburger Mary’s serves up a true West Hollywood breakfast, though they’re best known for their drag queen brunches and drag bingo. And if that sounds like your kind of outing the Abbey, located just off the boulevard at North Robertson, is another extremely popular spot for a late breakfast and a morning of entertainment in drag.
For lunch, consider stopping by Kashtan, a Russian deli at the city’s east end. Choosing a dinner destination from the street’s many offerings may be tough, but a few suggestions include Laurel Hardware (housed in an old hardware store, it has built its culinary reputation on a farm-to-fork mentality), Barbette (a French-inspired bistro and the new kid on the block), or Guisados (home to the best tacos in the city).
After dinner, you’ll most definitely want some dessert, and that’s where Salt + Straw comes in, as the old-school ice cream parlor offers deliciously unique flavors like Salted Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Almond Brittle With Salted Ganache. And to finish off this full-course foodie rabbit hole, head over to Barney’s Beanery — a classic Hollywood institution — for a late-night treat!
The Outdoorsy Type
Heading to California simply to escape the dread of winter is as good an excuse as any. But regardless of the season, you’re going to want to take advantage of the Golden State’s favorable weather, and there’s no better way to do so than spending some time touring nearby green spaces or exploring the area by foot. Walking the boulevard is definitely recommended, as it’ll let you see the city at your own pace while enjoying the fresh air, but if you’re looking to get around a little quicker, the folks over at Bikes & Hikes LA would love to set you up on two wheels. (You can also book hiking tours to Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park through them!) Cycling around town will give you a chance to travel from one end of the boulevard to the other in no time, and to do so while working up a thirst (which you can quench at one of the numerous watering holes like kitchen 24, Norah, and the Surly Goat). There are also a couple parks to check out in town, such as Plummer Park (great for tennis) and West Hollywood Park, where you can swim, play basketball, or just relax and people watch.
One of the best things about traveling is the distance you can put between you and your routine. This may mean skydiving or snorkeling, but for some, it’s as simple as staying out past bedtime and maybe even pulling an all-nighter or two. For those who find themselves on Santa Monica Boulevard — especially toward the west end of WeHo — after the sun goes down, staying awake shouldn’t be hard. Here, late-night entertainment comes in all forms —everything from rock shows to dance parties, night clubs, and festivals. Some popular places we recommend checking out include Rage, PUMP, Flaming Saddles, the Abbey, and the Troubadour. You can sleep when you’re home, right?
From top to bottom, West Hollywood has placed a major emphasis on art, and much of that effort can be enjoyed without straying too far from Santa Monica Boulevard. The city follows Los Angeles’s latest move toward an artsier future, mandating that one percent of new development costs are to be set aside for public art project! There are a ton of smaller galleries on east end of the strip, like New Image Art and Apollo Fine Arts. Bigger draws that land a few steps from the boulevard include MOË Japanese Functional Art, and the “The West Hollywood Library Murals” as well.
West Hollywood has built its name on being a diverse city where everyone is accepted, as illustrated by the rainbow sidewalks and lively clubs in the city’s LGBTQ district. And whether you’re part of that community or just consider yourself an ally, you’ll want to check out the sites, bars, and festivals that Santa Monica Boulevard boasts. One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival lasts for 40 days and includes one of the biggest events of the year, LA Pride. There are also a ton of gay bars along the strip where all are welcome to have a good time. Some favorites are Flaming Saddles, Rage, and the Abbey, but there are plenty of others — just walk down the street and you’ll see where the parties are happening.
Santa Monica Boulevard, Route 66, California Route 2 — it doesn’t matter how you refer to this thoroughfare. What matters is what you do there. Let us know your favorite place in the comments below!