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The city of West Hollywood, Calif., has enjoyed a prominent profile on the LGBTQ+ travel map for decades, thanks in part to its vibrant nightlife, major events and large resident population. (More than 40% of the population identifies as LGBTQ+, according to Visit West Hollywood, the city’s tourism organization.)
If you’re planning the ultimate LGBTQ+ vacation in West Hollywood, here are five ways to tap into the excitement.
Eat Your Way Around TownWest Hollywood offers a variety of interesting culinary experiences. Among the liveliest options is Hamburger Mary’s, a burger joint where the entertainment is as important as the food. Drag bingo nights and drag shows sometimes feature stars from reality television show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Also popular with LGBTQ+ residents and locals are Cafe D’Etoile, which is known for its brunch, and Saint Felix, where sliders and people-watching are among the draws. The Abbey, meanwhile, is a large LGBTQ+ bar and nightclub that, by day, doubles as one of the neighborhood’s most legendary brunch venues.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Abbey Food & Bar (@theabbeyweho) on Dec 15, 2019 at 1:47pm PST
A post shared by The Abbey Food & Bar (@theabbeyweho) on Dec 15, 2019 at 1:47pm PST
Stay Out LateIf you stay long enough after brunch at The Abbey, you’ll get a peek at its metamorphosis from restaurant to nightclub. This sizeable venue, in fact, is one of West Hollywood’s top places to dance, especially on weekends. If the line’s too long, don’t worry; The Abbey sits right off of Santa Monica Boulevard, the axis of West Hollywood’s most extensive LGBTQ+ nightlife scene.
Night owls can pick the ambiance that suits their mood, whether its chilling at Hi Tops, a sports bar with a full menu and a relaxed vibe; admiring the go-go boys and drag shows at Micky’s West Hollywood (WeHo); or watching shirtless “cowboys” dance on the bar at Flaming Saddles, a tourist-popular gay country and Western bar. Revolver, a video bar that hosts a variety of theme nights and special events, may provide still more options, while Fubar is the place for a classic gay dive bar experience.
Check Out the AttractionsWest Hollywood offers more than just indulgent dining and partying. The West Hollywood Library is worth visiting for its collection of rare LGBTQ+ books, as well as its view of San Vicente Boulevard and the Pacific Design Center.
And at One Gallery, visitors can view collections of the One National Gay & Lesbian Archives from the USC Libraries; the venue also sometimes hosts readings and presentations.
Just outside the city boundary, The Hollywood Museum, set in the lovely former headquarters of the Max Factor makeup company, is a must-see for globetrotters interested in Hollywood memorabilia; the museum recently hosted an exhibit about LGBTQ+ icons in the entertainment industry. At the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, visitors can explore the home of famed architect Rudolph M. Schindler.
Even hotels can be a destination unto themselves in West Hollywood. At the hip, recently revamped Andaz West Hollywood, guests walk in the footsteps of some of the biggest names in rock and pop music, including Axl Rose, Little Richard, Keith Richards and Jim Morrison, all of whom stayed here.
Go ShoppingForget about Rodeo Drive. You can find lots of shopping inspiration right in West Hollywood. Fred Segal, the casual clothing brand, recently opened a new, 13,000-square-foot flagship store on Sunset Boulevard. And the West Hollywood Design District is a must for shopaholics looking for upscale finds. Big-ticket designers such as Moschino, Helmut Lang and Maxfield are well represented here, and the Pacific Design Center — housed in an eye-catching work of architecture often called the Blue Whale — sits ready to provide interior design inspiration.
For clothing and gifts that are more specifically targeted at the LGBTQ+ community, consider a stop at Brick & Mortar, a casual men’s clothing store, and Block Party WeHo, which stocks plenty of items with rainbow colors.
Attend an EventWest Hollywood hosts an array of noteworthy events throughout the year, including LA Pride, which takes place every June with a massive parade, lots of free outdoor entertainment and a variety of accompanying parties and happenings.
Also worth marking on the calendar is One City One Pride, the city’s annual arts festival, which takes place from Harvey Milk Day (May 22) until June 30, and Outfest Los Angeles, an LGBTQ+ film festival scheduled every year in July. Fans of imaginative costumes won’t want to miss the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval, which features a lively street party, food and live entertainment.
As with any large-scale annual event, it’s a good idea to book air and accommodations well in advance.
The DetailsVisit West Hollywoodwww.visitwesthollywood.com