West Los Angeles
West Los Angeles is an area of the city of Los Angeles within the larger area of the West Side of Los Angeles County. The area includes the neighborhoods of Bel-Air, Brentwood, Century City, Cheviot Hills, Mar Vista, Palms, Sawtelle, West LA, and Westwood (the neighborhood around the University of California, Los Angeles).
West Los Angeles is made up of a set of very distinct neighborhoods, ranging from wealthy suburbs to prominent business centers to communities where you'll find a mix of ethnicities that would make the United Nations proud.
Perhaps the most prominent West L.A. community is Westwood, an area somewhere between a neighborhood and a city that surrounds the main campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Most of the area's businesses cater to the college population, with a number of used and new bookstores, art movie theaters, inexpensive restaurants and coffee houses. While the main village of Westwood had its heyday from the 1960s throughout most of the 1980s, it is picking up in popularity again as a trendy hangout for local teens and students of UCLA. Despite an increasing number of homeless people, Westwood is still known as one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, albeit with some of the worst traffic. South of Westwood are the densely populated and highly diverse neighborhoods of Sawtelle, Mar Vista, and Palms, where you'll find many established ethnic and minority communities with plenty of local shops and restaurants catering to these local populations.
The other prominent economic center in West L.A. is Century City, a small but dense collection of highrises adjacent to Beverly Hills that was built around the headquarters of 20th Century Fox. To the south of Century City is the affluent neighborhood of Cheviot Hills, with lots of parks and large suburban homes. On the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains to the north of Westwood are the fashionable and famous neighborhoods of Bel-Air and Brentwood, both of which are full of mansions overlooking the city, some of which have been the home of celebrities.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, West L.A. enjoys a cooler climate than the rest of Los Angeles. During the summer, temperatures can be as much as 10-15 degrees cooler in West L.A. than locations further inland, in large part due to the constant sea breezes in the area. Fog is a common occurrence, especially in the months of May and June.
Interstate 405 passes through West Los Angeles just south of the Sepulveda Pass. The area is noted for high levels of congestion, especially during rush hour.
By public transit
On the west side, local transit is provided by three main carriers.
- Metro is the major operator of bus and rail services in Los Angeles County. The Metro Rail Expo Line roughly parallels I-10 through West L.A. and tends to be the fastest transit service to the area from Downtown L.A., stopping in the Palms and Sawtelle neighborhoods on its way between Culver City and Santa Monica, with bus connections to other Westside neighborhoods available at each station. Frequent Metro bus routes that pass through the area include the 2 (Sunset Blvd), 4/Rapid 704 (Santa Monica Blvd), 20/Rapid 720 (Wilshire Blvd), and the 33/Rapid 733 (Venice Blvd), with the Rapid lines stopping only at major intersections. Additionally, the 28/Rapid 728 connect Century City to Downtown L.A. via Olympic Blvd, while the Rapid 734 (weekdays only)/234 (weekends only) link the Expo Line Sepulveda station, Westwood, UCLA, the Getty Center entrance, and the San Fernando Valley via Sepulveda and Westwood Blvds. Metro fare is $1.75.
- Big Blue Bus primarily serves Santa Monica and UCLA/Westwood (and the major streets between), but also has a network of routes that serves just about every neighborhood in the area, as well as routes that head out to Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Venice, and an express route (#10) along I-10 to Downtown L.A. Additionally, the #3 bus reaches the LAX Airport Transit Center, making it a handy way for air travelers to reach the Westside cheaply. The standard fare on all buses (except #10) is $1.25.
- Culver City Bus primarily serves Culver City, but also runs buses to UCLA/Westwood (#6), Century City (#3), and LAX (#6), thus also serving as a primary carrier of tourists from LAX to the UCLA area. The base fare is $1.
- 1 Fox Plaza (Olympic Blvd and Avenue of the Stars). In the middle of Century City is this otherwise nondescript postmodern skyscraper that's notable for being the headquarters of 20th Century Fox and will be instantly recognizable to Die Hard fans as the fictional Nakatomi Plaza.
- 2 Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd (in the Occidental Petroleum Building on the corner of Westwood Blvd), ☏ . Tu-F 11AM-8PM, Sa-Su 11AM-5PM, M closed. A UCLA-affiliated institution which houses changing exhibitions of contemporary, modern, and classical art, with a particular focus on Los Angeles-based work. The basis of the museum's collection is a set of significant European works collected by the institution's founder, Armand Hammer. The museum also holds many free public programs, including lunchtime "Art Talks" every Wednesday at 12:30PM. Free.
- 3 Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W Pico Blvd, ☏ . Su-F 10AM-5PM (closes at 3:30PM F in winter), Th 10AM-9:30PM; last ticket sold an hour and a half before closing. Focusing on the history of the Holocaust, this museum contains many interactive exhibits designed to challenge visitors to assess their own levels of tolerance. Many of the exhibits are meant to engage kids (about 10 and older), and you may find your kids asking you about things such as racial and economic tensions. A highlight of the museum is live testimonies by Holocaust survivors who serve as museum volunteers. Adults $15:50, seniors $12.50, students/youth (ages 5-18) $11.50.
- 4 Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd (off of I-405), ☏ . Tu-F noon-5PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. In the hills above Sepulveda Pass is this expansive contemporary facility devoted to Jewish heritage. Among its libraries, classrooms, conference rooms and gardens is a museum with a permanent collection of historical artifacts, artwork, and interactive exhibits on Jewish history and culture, with an emphasis on the Jewish-American experience. A highlight of the museum is a large children's area modeled after Noah's Ark, with animal puppets and figurines that kids can play with. $12 adults, $9 seniors/students/teens, $7 children, children under age 2 free.
- 5 Westwood Village Memorial Park, 1218 Glendon Ave, ☏ . 8AM-Dusk. See the final resting places of some of Hollywood's most famous celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Natalie Wood, Jack Lemmon, and Don Knotts, in a compact 2 acre cemetery.
6 Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Dr (off of I-405; drive or take Metro Bus 734 (weekdays) or 234 (weekends), then ride the tram from the parking garage), ☏ . Tu-Su 10AM-5:30PM (Sa till 9PM), closed Mondays. Free; parking $15.
One of two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Center is unquestionably one of the finest museums in the nation, with a collection of European art from the Middle Ages to the modern era set against a backdrop of dramatic architecture and tranquil gardens. Perched atop the Santa Monica Mountains and accessible only via tram from the bottom of the hill, the museum offers spectacular views of the L.A. basin and the Pacific Ocean.
The focal point of the expansive museum campus is a central courtyard ringed by several buildings which display most of the museum's holdings, linked by bridges and terraces which offer superb views of the museum campus and the surrounding landscape. The courtyard level hosts the Getty's permanent collection of European sculpture and decorative arts, as well as some changing exhibits, while the upper level displays the museum's European paintings. Outside is a large garden centered around a reflecting pool with a flowering maze set within the pool, surrounded by specialty gardens and expansive lawns that make an excellent place for a picnic.
The other museum location, the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, is about 11 miles to the west via Sunset Blvd and covers the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria; you can visit both in the same day (Wednesday through Sunday) and pay the parking fee only once (save your ticket stub), but don't expect to have any time left over for other activities.
University of California Los Angeles
Spread out over 400 acres on the northern end of Westwood, UCLA is the largest branch of the University of California system by student population and is a major center of activity. The campus is a massive complex of academic facilities, residence halls, museums, gardens and pathways which make for a pleasant stroll. The original center of campus is 7 Dickson Court, a grassy quad framed by the beautiful red brick Italianate structures of Royce Hall and Powell Library, with a fountain on the west side overlooking the rest of campus. From here a long stairway, the Janss Steps, leads west to the focal point of campus life: 8 Bruin Plaza, where you'll find the student union, the bookstore, and the student rec center, as well as a statue of Bruin Bear, the university's mascot.
- 9 Fowler Museum, 308 Charles E Young Dr N (just north of the Janss Steps), ☏ . W noon-8PM, Th-Su noon-5PM. A cultural museum that hosts changing and permanent exhibitions featuring art and archaeological artifacts, with a particular focus on non-Western cultures. A number of striking artifacts from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas are on regular view, including tribal masks, religious figurines, headdresses, and a Chinese hand puppet. Free.
- 10 Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden. In the middle of the arts and social sciences section of campus, this noted sculpture garden showcases dozens of modern and contemporary sculptures from masters such as Calder, Matisse, and Rodin. Free.
- 11 Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, 100 Stein Plaza Driveway, ☏ . M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa-Su 8AM-4PM. Created as an experimental garden of rare and exotic plants for the university's botany program, this garden makes for a tranquil retreat from the urban landscape, with many tropical and subtropical plants as well as a stream running through the middle of the garden. Free.
- 1 Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave, ☏ . A UCLA-owned theater company that is noted for their original productions hosted in an intimate space in a historic Westwood building.
- 2 Regency Bruin Theater, 948 Broxton Ave, ☏ . Like its big brother, the Fox Theater across the street, this is a fully modern cinema that still has the ambiance and style of an earlier era. The art-deco marquee, canopy, and box office are little changed from when it opened in 1937. General admission $11.75.
- 3 Regency Village Theater (Fox Theater), 961 Broxton Ave, ☏ . The art-deco Fox Village Theater (now operated by Regency) is a throwback to "Old Hollywood" that has survived into the multi-plex era, and is often the site of red-carpet premiers. Though the decor reflects its historic roots, the seating, projection, and sound are excellent and have kept upgraded to meet and exceed modern quality standards. General admission $11.75.
- 4 Rancho Park Golf Course, 10460 W Pico Blvd, ☏ . Rancho Park Golf Course is a municipal course with discounts for LA residents, but is open to the public. Tee times are in high demand and are subject to availability, so make reservations well in advance if planning a round. Green fees: $38-48 (discounts available), cart: $16-24.
- 1 Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th St (San Vicente and 26th). A small shopping on the border of Brentwood and Santa Monica. The motif may be rural, but the shopping is less 'shabby', more 'chic'. Features boutique shops and the Farmshop market/restaurant.
- 2 Giant Robot, 2015 Sawtelle Blvd, ☏ . M-Sa 11:30AM-8PM, Su noon-7PM. Featuring Japanese pop-culture toys and merchandise.
- 3 Mitsuwa Marketplace, 3760 S Centinela Ave (at Venice Blvd). A Japanese supermarket with several locations in the US, boasting a collection of Japanese food shops in its food court such as Santouka Ramen, Tendon Hannosuke tempura, Sanuki Sandou Udon, Misasa, and Daikichi Sushi.
- 4 Nijiya Market, 2130 Sawtelle Blvd, ☏ . 9AM-11:30PM. A Japanese market located in the 'Little Osaka' neighborhood. Can be a slightly pricier option, but the selection and variety are good. Their produce department is a good place to start when looking for harder-to-find fruits and ingredients.
- 5 Westfield Century City (Century City Mall), 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su noon-7PM. An upscale shopping center in the Century City neighborhood, featuring an AMC 14 Cineplex, Bloomingdales, Gelson's Market, and Macy's. Underground parking garage.
- 6 Westwood Village (Westwood Blvd and Weyburn Ave). A pedestrian friendly shopping district adjacent to UCLA. Features American Apparel, Bel Air Camera, Buffalo Exchange thrift store, Target, Trader Joe's market, Urban Outfitters, Whole Foods, and a selection of smaller shops and services.
- 7 The Time Travel Store, 12515 Venice Blvd, ☏ , [email protected]. Th-Su noon-6PM. Apparel, supplies, and sundries for the discriminating time traveler. You got your canned Mammoth Chunks, your robot repair parts, and the ever-popular Viking Odorant. (All proceeds from sales go towards the shop's real reason for being: the 826LA writing workshop program for school-age students.) There's another location in Echo Park.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Mid-range||$10 - $25|
West LA has a wide variety of food types and pricing. Westwood Boulevard features numerous restaurants of Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani cuisine, while Sawtelle Boulevard features many Japanese restaurants. There are a number of Indian and Pakistani restaurants along Venice Boulevard in Palms, mostly offering North Indian cuisine. Westwood Boulevard between Pico and Wilshire is filled with Persian restaurants, serving the largest Iranian population outside of Iran (which is concentrated in Westwood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica). There is a large cluster of Jewish delicatessens and restaurants on Pico Boulevard south of Beverly Hills, with both Ashkenazic and Middle Eastern Jewish cuisines represented. There is a small cluster of (mostly) Japanese restaurants colloquially known as Little Osaka on Sawtelle Blvd (just west of 405) bounded by Santa Monica Blvd to the north and Olympic Blvd to the south.
- 1 Apple Pan, 10801 W Pico Blvd (east of Westwood Blvd). Fabulous burgers and pies since 1947.
- 2 India's Oven, 11645 Wilshire Blvd (2nd Floor), ☏ .
- 3 Marty's Hamburger Stand, 10558 W Pico Blvd (on the corner of Prosser and Pico Blvd), ☏ . Known for its chili and the Combo, which is a hot dog and hamburger all in the form of a hamburger.
- 4 Saffron and Rose Ice Cream, 1387 Westwood Blvd, ☏ . 11AM-9PM. Persian-style ice cream (similar in consistency and flavour to Italian gelato) in unusual flavours, such as date, rosewater, redcurrant, pistachio and cucumber(!). They have half-pints, pints and quarts to take home, but ask the owner for help because the labels are in Farsi only.
- Tuk Tuk, 1638 Sawtelle Blvd (near Robertson, on the border between Beverlywood and Beverly Hills), ☏ . Thai food.
- 5 Versailles, 10319 Venice Blvd, ☏ . Cuban food.
- 6 Pizza Station, 8965 W Pico Blvd, ☏ . 11AM-7:30PM daily. Low.
- 7 Juquila, 11619 Santa Monica Blvd. Little hole in the wall Mexican joint specializing in Oaxacan food like mole, tlayudas, nopal, etc. Great pozole and menudo on weekends.
- 8 Bollywood Bites, 1051 Gayley Ave, ☏ , [email protected]. 11:30AM-2:30PM and 5PM-10PM daily.
- 9 Habayit (Kosher), 11921 W Pico Blvd, ☏ . The only kosher restaurant on the Westside. Serving delicious, homemade American-Israeli cuisine for to-go or delivery. $10.
- 10 Hara Sushi, 12222 Wilshire Blvd #101, ☏ . Semi-hidden sushi gem not far from the Santa Monica border. Despite its unobtrusive street presence, the small dining area often has a line during peak hours, but the wait is well worth it.
- 11 Native Foods, 1114 Gayley Ave. Innovative variety of vegan foods, featuring salads, veggie burgers, rice and noodle bowls, pizzas, and desserts. Uses an original recipes for tempeh and seitan. Indoor & outdoor seating. Accept credit cards. Open daily.
- 12 Sunnin, 1776 Westwood Blvd (just north of Santa Monica Blvd, next to Sherwin Williams Paints). 11AM-9PM. Lebanese restaurant Sunnin moved into a much bigger facility across the street from its previous location and prices increased as well as the floor space. It's not the dirt cheap bargain it once was, but the food is still moderately priced and excellent. Try the Kefta Kebab wrap and the Kebbeh Bil Saynieh. Sit at the counter and watch Toni, the owner, run her kitchen like a drill sergeant!
- 13 Shamshiri, 1712 Westwood Blvd, ☏ . 11AM-10PM. Excellent Persian food at giant portions - you'll be buying dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. Try the Tachin (chicken, basmati rice and redcurrant casserole), Bademjan (lamb shank and aubergine (eggplant) stew) or Shirin Polo (roast chicken on top of rice pilaf with almonds and orange zest).
- 14 Sushi House Unico (Shu Restaurant), 2932 1/2 Beverly Glen Circle (at Beverly Glen), ☏ . Right off Beverly Glen Blvd, tucked away in a small, though fashionable strip mall in the canyons of Bel Air, is Sushi House Unico (shu), a restaurant that boasts an eclectic menu best described as a fusion of Japanese, Latin and Italian flavors and cuisines. The space is contemporary and refined, but not too overbearing. Shu's owner, Giacomino Drago, is also the familiar restaurateur and chef of several restaurants including Il Pastaio and Piccolo Paradiso in Beverly Hills. Signature dishes included halibut carpaccio with sun-dried tomato, Kobe Beef sashimi and albacore sashimi with shaved truffles.
- 15 Taiko, 11677 San Vicente Blvd, ☏ . Taiko is a casual little Japanese restaurant located in the Brentwood Gardens. The service is very friendly, and the unique variety of dishes will satisfy anyone's tastes. The Nabeyaki udon is not to be missed.
- 16 Darya, 12130 Santa Monica Blvd. Quality Persian food.
- 17 Napa Valley Grille, 1100 Glendon Ave.
- 18 Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air, 701 Stone Canyon Rd, ☏ . Daily 7AM-10PM. Afternoon tea seatings M-F 3PM-4PM, Sa 3:30PM-4PM. Ideal for celebrations, special occasions or anything even remotely romantic, Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air is the archetype of elegant dining, replete with innovative, 'French-California' or continental style cuisine. There are two beautiful dining areas; a more formal dining room or outside in the relaxed bougainvillea-draped Terrace. The roast rack of lamb is considered a favored main course. Teatime at the Bel Air Hotel is a nice relaxing time and a great way to break up a day.
- 19 Vibrato, 2930 Beverly Glen Circle (at Beverly Glen), ☏ . Dynamic fusion of steakhouse and jazz club from music legend Herb Alpert makes for a night of great cuisine and musical entertainment. The expansive supper club-like dining room is intimate and bold in design and color with beautiful paintings adorning the walls. The menu is impressive, with an array of modern American fare. The bar draws an eclectic gathering of jazz lovers, socialites and trendy nighthawks. This is Bel-Air after all. Situated almost out of sight in a classy strip mall at the top of Beverly Glen, Vibratto retains a certain, "in-the-know" status. But it's well worth the discovery.
- 20 Amandine Cafe, 12225 Wilshire Blvd, ☏ . European-style bakery and cafe specializing in French pastries and tartes.
- 21 Brian's Shave Ice, 11301 W Olympic Blvd, ☏ . Hawaiian shave-ice with an embarrassment of different flavors, fillings, and combinations.
- 22 Diddy Riese, 926 Broxton Ave, ☏ . Legendary among denizens of Los Angeles as one of, if not the best desserts you will find anywhere. Just $0.30 per cookie, or $1.50 for an ice cream sandwich. Expect to wait in long lines during peak hours, but their cookies are not to be missed. Be warned that you should eat quickly, as the cookies will not taste as good overnight, or even a few hours after purchase.
- 1 Barney's Beanery, 1037 Broxton Ave. A sports bar with 40 beers on draft and 160 bottled beers that has had locations in Los Angeles since 1920.
- 2 Mom's, 12238 Santa Monica Blvd, ☏ . Trendy bar that maintains a dive bar atmosphere. Happy hour is lively-to-loud with prices that are budget-friendly. They may be a line on peak nights, so visitors are advised to plan accordingly
- 1 The Carlyle Inn, 1119 S Robertson Blvd, ☏ , toll-free: . Suite accommodations.
- 2 Hotel Palomar, 10740 Wilshire Blvd, ☏ , fax: . 4-star luxury boutique hotel.
- 3 Sky Hotel, 2352 Westwood Blvd, ☏ .
- 4 Holiday Inn Express West LA, 11250 Santa Monica Blvd, toll-free: .
- 5 Hotel Bel-Air, 701 Stone Canyon Rd, ☏ . This picturesque, five-star hotel is a popular destination for weddings, and a playground for the affluent.
- 6 W Los Angeles - West Beverly Hills, 930 Hilgard Ave, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon.
- Santa Monica. Best known for its famous pier, Santa Monica is a must-see destination for most tourists, and home to many restaurants and bars frequented by locals.
- Culver City. A neighboring city and the home of Sony Studios that has been undergoing a rebirth and now has an increasing number of food, shopping and entertainment options.
- Beverly Hills. Home of 90210, fabled shopping, and the upper crust of Hollywood's elite.
- Wilshire. Home to Koreatown, LA's museum district, and the famous La Brea Tar Pits.
- Sherman Oaks. Located among the hills between the coast and the San Fernando Valley, Sherman Oaks is a mainly-residential neighborhood that offers numerous food, shopping, nightlife, and lodging options.
|Routes through West Los Angeles|
|END ← Santa Monica ←||W E||→ Wilshire → Downtown L.A.|
|North Valley ← Sherman Oaks ←||N S||→ Culver City → Long Beach|
|END ← Santa Monica ←||W E||→ Beverly Hills → Northwest L.A.|
|END ← Santa Monica ←||W E||→ Beverly Hills → Downtown L.A.|
|END ← Santa Monica ←||W E||→ Culver City → Downtown L.A.|