Location: Beverly Hills, on the west side of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, between Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards. See below for directions.
- How Long: Allow an hour for people-watching and window-shopping, more if you plan to dine or buy something.
- Best Time to Visit: Rodeo Drive is at its best during the evening near Christmas, when lights and flowers decorate the streets and the stores get more gussied up than their best-dressed patrons. The rest of the year, it's less crowded weekdays. Avoid Sunday when many shops are closed and all you'll find are a few tourists peering into darkened windows. Every Father's Day, Rodeo Drive closes for a vintage car show (free and open to public).
Rodeo Drive Review
Pronounce it roh-DAY-oh, there aren't any cowboys here. The Rodeo Drive legend is much bigger than the street itself and visitors often marvel at how small the shopping area is. The street stretches from Sunset to Wilshire, but the Holy Grail of Shopping section of Rodeo Drive is only three blocks long.
We rate Rodeo Drive 4 stars out of 5. It doesn't cost anything to window-shop, parking is free and the spectacle is fun to watch.
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"Doing" Rodeo Drive
The most popular Rodeo Drive activities are window-shopping and people-watching, both less damaging to the pocketbook than its intended activity: shopping. While the shops are expensive, don't worry about looking out of place. Tourists abound, clad in off-the-rack fashions, gawking just like you might be.
Via Rodeo, a European-styled shopping complex that resembles a movie set, sits at Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard. It's the best place for an "I was there" photo, just below Via Rodeo sign.
The rest of the street is understated, with single-story, plain shop fronts. A walk will take you past designer clothing shops by Armani, Gucci and Coco Chanel; jewelers Cartier, Tiffany and Harry Winston; and exclusive couturiers where you need an appointment just to get in the door.
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright made his mark here, designing the Anderton Court Shops (333 N. Rodeo Drive). The building has changed from Wright's original design, but its triangular tower and spiral ramp are identifiably Wright. While we're talking architecture, contemporary architect Richard Meier (who designed the Getty Center) created the Paley Center for Media at 465 N. Beverly Drive.
If your stroll leaves you wanting to see more of Beverly Hills, meet the Beverly Hills Trolley at Rodeo Drive and Payton for a 40-minute tour (hourly Tuesday through Saturday in July and August and Thanksgiving1 through Christmas Eve, Saturdays only the rest of the year). A small fee is charged. This tour is more fun and informative than the sometimes-schlocky tours that leave from Hollywood Boulevard and less expensive, too.
Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel
The large hotel at Rodeo Drive and Wilshire is the place where Julia Roberts and Richard Gere found love in the 1991 film, Pretty Woman. The Lobby Bar looks out into Rodeo Drive and serves wine by the glass and an afternoon tea some say is best outside London.
Just around the corner from Rodeo on Wilshire, you'll find department stores such as I. Magnin, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nieman Marcus. On the streets parallel to Rodeo, you'll find the same kind of shops that are in any upscale shopping area, a good place to make a purchase and tell your friends at home: "I bought it in Beverly Hills."
Where Is Rodeo Drive Located?
Rodeo Drive is located between Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards in Beverly Hills. From I-405, take the Wilshire or Santa Monica Boulevard exit east. Rodeo Drive intersects either street, just past where they cross.
From Hollywood, follow Sunset Boulevard west and turn left onto Wilshire just after you pass the Beverly Hills Hotel. Continue past Santa Monica Boulevard to the shopping area.
Several area garages offer free parking:
Via Rodeo: On Dayton Way, north of its intersection with Rodeo Drive. Valet parking, but no parking charge. Take the driveway leading down into the underground garage. While it looks more like a hotel entrance than a parking garage, this is a valet-only parking lot. Be sure to stow your receipt safely; you'll need it to retrieve your vehicle even if there's no charge.
Municipal Parking Garages: West of Rodeo on Brighton Way. Underground, do-it-yourself parking. Two more city parking structures can be found on Santa Monica Boulevard.
1 Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.