Los Angeles is a city of neighborhoods and districts, and it has a lot of them. Part of what makes the city so special is the distinctions between each of its many areas, emulating and reflecting its diverse and multicultural population.
The “city of angels” is divided into over 80 separate districts and neighborhoods and no two are the same. From quirky Venice Beach to the recently regenerated Downtown district, there truly is somewhere and something for everyone in the home of Hollywood, celebrity and sun-soaked living.
Arguably one of the most famous gay neighborhoods in the world, West Hollywood is the primary destination for the gay community and culture in Los Angeles. With over 40% of WeHo’s population identifying as LGBT+, the area has a strong and enigmatic gay population that is noticeable whilst strolling down any of its iconic boulevards.
The neighborhood boasts one of the world’s most concentrated and promising gay nightlife scenes with 25 gay bars and clubs catering to a variety of interests and tastes. Santa Monica Boulevard is the epicenter of West Hollywood after nightfall when the street comes alive with gay locals and tourists alike keen to experience a taste of West Hollywood party culture. The best gay bars in West Hollywood have earned themselves global reputations as bastions of hedonism and enjoyment, including Mickey’s, Flaming Saddles and The Abbey.
The area is also a hub of design, art and fashion, with the streets of West Hollywood claiming host to flagship stores from some of the biggest names in fashion. In addition, travelers can explore the iconic Museum of Contemporary Art, a staple in the Los Angeles gallery scene and also an internationally recognised institution of creativity and design.
Many of the local businesses in the West Hollywood area are gay owned and focused, including a range of coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and boutiques, and as such, gay travelers can feel at ease when exploring the multitude of opportunities on offer in stylish and iconic West Hollywood. Read More: Things To Do in West Hollywood.
If anywhere epitomises the hipster culture that Los Angeles is so known for, it’s Silver Lake. Thanks to a wave of boutique shops, independent restaurants and a booming art scene, the area has become a haven for Los Angeles’ most ardent hipsters. Silver Lake is famous for its artistic community, multiculturalism, creative output and completely unique architecture.
One of the most notable landmarks in the area is Griffith Park, home to the iconic Griffith Observatory and an expanse of rugged wilderness, perfect for cycling, hiking and jogging. From the park, visitors can soak up the 360-degree panoramic views which offer breathtaking vistas of downtown Los Angeles, the glistening Pacific and the Hollywood sign. The LA Zoo and Greek Theatre are also located conveniently close by, and travelers can combine the attractions into one action-packed day in Silver Lake.
The highlight of Silver Lake, however, is Sunset Boulevard. As iconic as it is exciting, this legendary street has played host to the world’s most impressive performances, nightclubs and celebrity residents, and still maintains an atmosphere of unparalleled coolness.
Most neighborhoods in big cities tend to lose the majority of their authentic charm once the powers of gentrification do their work, however, Venice Beach is an exception to this rule. Continuing to ooze effortless cool, Venice Beach has historically been a mecca for the oddballs and outcasts of Los Angeles who are drawn to the area’s artistic spirit, eclectic community and general alternativity.
Since its founding in 1905, by tobacco millionaire Albert Kinney, Venice Beach has been home to many of the world’s most famous and talented individuals. Patti Smith, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Charles Bukowski have all called the quirky streets of Venice Beach home and the area continues to provide a creative community for its residents and visiting travelers today.
Besides from the bohemia that the area is best known for, Venice Beach also boasts an impressive beachfront area, with the iconic boulevard running parallel to the white sands and clear waters of the Pacific. Travelers can rent an assortment of bikes, scooters and rollerblades and truly live out their Los Angeles fantasy as they cruise down the iconic beach.
In a city that is famed for its sprawling size and less than efficient public transport systems, Los Angeles’ Downtown area is pleasantly compact and accessible. A patchwork of architectural styles and influences, the district is known for its towering glass skyscrapers and 1930s style, art deco landmarks such as the Eastern Columbia Building. For much of the city’s existence, Downtown was known as being a gritty and best-avoided sprawl, home to Skid Row and some of Los Angeles most disadvantaged residents. However, mass development and regeneration programmes have transformed the area into a bustling hub of innovation and excitement.
Many of the Downtown’s oldest heritage buildings have now been fully restored and repurposed, including the famous Bradbury Building and Orpheum Theater. The area has a rapidly growing arts culture and travelers can appreciate the plethora of galleries and museums located in this district as well as the impressive street art.
The restaurant scene in the Downtown area is the pinnacle of the charm and attraction of this neighborhood. Once void of any eateries, Los Angeles’ Downtown is now home to a multitude of the USA’s best culinary experiences, and visitors will often be able to spot celebrities and influencers grabbing a bite at their favourite high-end destinations. One of the highlights of the district is Bavel, a favourite amongst the city’s cultural elite and offering a stunning menu of Middle Eastern-influenced dishes that are sure to stir the appetite of any traveler.