- Location: Sunset Boulevard between Crescent Heights on the east and Doheny Drive on the west
- How Long: Depends on what you do. An hour is enough to walk around and gawk, but plan for longer if you shop, eat or stay for entertainment
- Best Time to Visit: Almost deserted on Sunday afternoon, a good time to go if you want to stop and take pictures. It's busier mid-day during the week and busiest on weekend nights
An unincorporated part of Los Angeles County until 1985 when the city of West Hollywood was established, Sunset Strip got its name from Los Angeles County workers who called it "that strip." The first buildings went up along Sunset Strip in 1924. Under less strict laws than the adjoining cities of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, Sunset Strip soon became a center for nightlife and gained the reputation it still enjoys today.
Because we hate staring at a boring office building on the site of a long-ago-demolished, swinging apartment complex or sumptuous mansion and we bet you won't like it, either, this Sunset Strip guide focuses only on places still standing. If you like stories of the Sunset Strip and Hollywood of yesteryear, read The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book by William Gordon.
Sights on Sunset StripThe numbers in parentheses are addresses. All are on W. Sunset Boulevard. Even numbers are on the south side, odds on the north. Going west, that's even on the left, odd on the right.
Rocky and Bullwinkle Statue (8200): Look for writer's autographs in the courtyard.
Chateau Marmont (8221): It sits so far up the hill above the street that you may not notice the site of comedian John Belushi's death from a heroin overdose unless you're looking for it. Parking is just off the street.
Sunset Tower Hotel (8358): A fine example of art deco design. The swimming pool was featured in films The Player, The Italian Job and Get Shorty. On the facade, look for zeppelins and airplanes alongside Adam and Eve.
Andaz West Hollywood (8401): Once called "Riot House" because of the wild behavior of rock-and-rollers staying here while performing at nearby clubs. Films This is Spinal Tap, and Almost Famous were made here. It has long since shed its rebellious image and is one of the most stylish hotels in the area, with fantastic views.
The Comedy Store (8433): This place has featured many stand-up comedians, whose names are scrawled on its walls like autographs in a high school yearbook. Many Comedy Store alumni still use the venue to try out new material, so you never know who will show up unannounced.
Mondrian Hotel (8440): Their Sky Bar has terrific views of the Los Angeles basin, but is open mostly for hotel guests. Michael J. Fox's character in the film Doc Hollywood stayed in room 1110 here. The entrance to this place is so understated that you might miss it if you don't pay attention.
77 Sunset Strip: (8524) In the television show 77 Sunset Strip (1958-1964) Edd "Kookie" Burns parked cars at Dino's Lodge (owned by Dean Martin) next door. Today, a plaque marks the spot.
Shopping and Dining Plaza (8600-8700): This area has lots of boutiques sidewalk cafes, a great place to sit and watch for celebrities.
The Viper Room (8852): Promising actor River Phoenix met his death here in 1993, from a drug overdose. Actor Johnny Depp was once part owner, but sold his interest in 2004, citing distress over people gawking at the spot where his friend died.
The Whisky A GoGo (8901): Popular since the 1960s, when The Doors got their start here, as did the Who, the Kinks, the Byrds, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix.
Hustler Hollywood (8920): Run by Larry Flynt's daughter Teresa, it's reputed to be the largest erotica store in the United States. And from what we hear, it's surprisingly chic.
The Roxy (9009): This popular rock club has a great sound system and dance area.
Rainbow Bar & Grill (9015): It may not look like much, but back when it was called Villa Nova, actress Marilyn Monroe went on her first (blind) date with baseball star Joe DiMaggio here, and director Vincent Minnelli chose it as the spot to propose to Judy Garland.
Sunset Strip ReviewWe rate Sunset Strip 3 stars out of 5 for tourists. Other than the music and comedy clubs and a couple of blocks of nice sidewalk cafes, there's little reason to visit, unless you just want to say you've seen it.
Poll: What do you think of the Sunset Strip as a tourist destination?
- Awesome! It's a must-see sight that I recommend to everyone
- Great I really liked it, and I think you will, too
- Good Go if you have time, but it's not a big deal if you miss it
- OK Some people find it interesting, but I didn't
- So-So More fun than a night in jail, but you might enjoy a good nap more
- Yuck! Just say no to this flea-bitten hole of a tourist trap