Los Angeles Scenic Drives II
Part II-b: Experiencing Los Angeles at night
Exploring Beverly Hills, Westwood Village, & Santa Monica
Start your Los Angeles scenic night drive with Hollywood and the Sunset Strip, described in Part II-a, and then return here.
In this section, you'll continue through Beverly Hills and Westwood Village to the Santa Monica shoreline. You end with the lights of Southern California magically twinkling on the ocean before you.
Your drive ends with
When last seen, you were heading eastbound on Sunset Boulevard in the Sunset Strip area, just east of the Beverly Hills city limit.
When you reach La Cienega Boulevard, turn right. This is the first major intersection.
(La Cienega was apparently named for an early ranch in the area, which used a misspelling of the Spanish word "cienaga" meaning swamp.)
Drive southbound on La Cienega.
At Wilshireturn rightand travel through the Beverly Hills town center.
Though quiet at night, you can still sniff money in the air.
Although top celebrities are more likely to live in places like Bel-Air, Malibu, and the Hollywood Hills these days, new money has taken their place in Beverly Hills, and Beverly Hillswell, remains Beverly Hills.
Serious celebrity groupies will want to check out the comings and goings at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on the south side of Wilshire, where it meets Rodeo Drive.
The Beverly Wilshire was the venue of choice in the movie "Pretty Woman" staring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. This hotel attracts a high profile jet set clientele.
You may spot top celebrities here, but as always we ask that you maintain "California cool" and leave these people alone.
Rodeo Drivedirectly off Wilshire to your rightis worth a short walk day or night. Gucci gulch has become its apt nickname. Perhaps only Worth Avenue in Palm Beach matches this "luxe" environment, and that is true for only part of the year.
This area of Beverly Hills draws wealthy shoppers from throughout southern California and the world. Rodeo Drive was named after the original Spanish land grant that included what is now Beverly Hills.
If you return for a day visit, also walk along several of the small lanes that lead off of Rodeo.
Continue westbound on Wilshire, past its junction with Santa Monica Boulevard.
Coming up on the left, you'll notice the high rises of Century City.
United States presidents and foreign leaders stay at the Century Plaza when they visit Los Angeles. (The Secret Service goes gaga over the security advantages of the helicopter pad on the roof.)
Gelson's, the truly gourmet super market in the mall, offers excellent star sighting opportunities during the day and evening. Even if you don't see anyone, the food looks greatreally great.
When you reach the high rises of Westwood Village, turn right on Westwood Boulevard, if you're not running out of time.
Because its formally garden-like campus became packed with new buildings during the baby boom era, UCLA is not nearly as pleasant as it used to be. However, there still are nice sections, such as around Royce Hall, which are much used in films.
UCLA has an office that recruits movies to be filmed on campus, but strangely the "Hunchback of UCLA" was filmed at crosstown rival USC—what an insult! Even in film locales, the "Bruins" and "Trojans" vigorously compete. These campuses host two of the three leading film schools in the country.
Westwood Boulevardboth north and south of Wilshirehas turned into one of the leading entertainment centers of Los Angeles.
Go back to Wilshire Boulevard and turn right.
Just past the cemetery, you'll enter Brentwood Village. a largely residential area of upwardly mobile celebrities and professionals.
Brentwood's most infamous resident ever was O.J. Simpson. This former football player and actor stared in the two most publicized murder trials in history.
O.J. now lives in Miami. His former home at 360 Rockingham has been torn downone way to deal with all the gawkers who made this neighborhood miserable.
Santa Monica Beach
Continue on Wilshire through Santa Monica to the end of Wilshire. This is its junction with Ocean Avenue.
Santa Monica Pier
You can continue on to the Santa Monica Pier just below the park, which also has great views. It also has been used in almost countless films and television shows, including Ruthless People and numerous episodes of Baywatch.
The junction of Santa Monica Boulevard and Ocean Avenue used to be the western end of U.S. Highway 66.
Or, walk along the park, and then take the walkway to the pier.
Pacific Coast Highway
You can also drive along the Southern California coastlinean exhilarating portion not obstructed by buildings.
From Wilshire, turn right onto Ocean Avenue. Go one block. Turn left onto California Incline, which leads down the steep cliff to Pacific Coast Highway.
Turn right onto Pacific Coast Highway, which is also California's famous Highway One.
This is part of BidonTravel's scenic drive to Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains, in LA scenic drives I.
The views are even better on the way back.
Santa Monica offers a variety of fun streets to explore, if you haven't run out of time by now.
Main Street has numerous cafes and clubs aimed toward a younger crowd. This street runs east toward Venice. Avoid entering Venice itself at night, as it is simply not safe.
Enjoy the rest of your time in Los Angeles!