Beverly Grove — The Heart of Los Angeles on a Budget
By Rebecca Pavlik
Stay in one of L.A.’s trendiest walk-friendly neighborhoods — no driving required!
Instead of wading through a sea of tourists on Hollywood Boulevard, experience Los Angeles like a local while staying in one of L.A.’s hippest neighborhoods. Relax and spend a few days where real Angelenos hang out, and on any given day, a fair number of celebrities. I’m talking about L.A.’s Beverly Grove neighborhood, which borderlines West Hollywood and Beverly Hills and is one of L.A.’s few walk-friendly neighborhoods. If you don’t mind walking, you can skip renting a car and never run out of things to see and do.
Anchored by two of L.A.’s premiere shopping malls, the Beverly Center and The Grove, this mellow and understated neighborhood epitomizes L.A.’s laid back casual reputation. It’s a short walk from one to the other, with many trendy little shops and boutiques in between, West Third Street being the hub of most of the activity. If you’re not a shopper, there are a ton of local restaurants and outdoor cafes, as well as L.A.’s famous Farmer’s Market at The Grove. You will also find movie theaters, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, art galleries, the Melrose Trading Post flea market, and much, much more.
What’s so nice about the Beverly Grove area is that most of the shops and restaurants cater to locals, giving it a very relaxed vibe. Due to its central location and proximity to the major film studios, many of people who live in this area work in the entertainment industry. On any given day you will find a parade of actors, writers, musicians, artists, and film production folk walking their dogs, going out to brunch, and doing their shopping.
While there is a host of things to do and see within these few short blocks, my favorite is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (LACMA, as it’s known). LACMA has beautiful gardens open to the public, which include the Labrea Tar Pits. In addition, LACMA’s freeFriday Night Jazz series, which takes place outdoors, allows music lovers bring their own food and drink and simply picnic out on the lawn to enjoy the concert. Oh, did I mention the art? If you only have time to visit one art museum, this is the one to see.
Every street in this unassuming neighborhood is packed with shops, galleries and cafes catering to L.A.’s diverse culture and lifestyle. A good example is the ever-evolving scene on Fairfax Avenue between Beverly Blvd. and Melrose Avenue. This stretch includes super trendy hip-hop and skateboard shops, art galleries, cool thrift stores, and L.A.’s famous Canters Deli, as well as a few recently opened restaurants catering to the young and hip. Also on Fairfax Avenue is the Melrose Trading Post flea market, where locals flock every Sunday for people-watching, antiquing, and catching up on the latest vintage fashion trends. For the serious shopper with serious cash to spend, quite a few famous clothing designers have opened high-end boutiques on the upscale stretch of Melrose Avenue between Crescent Heights and LaCienega. For a completely different scene, I recommend Farmer’s Market at The Grove, which is popular among tourists and locals alike. The food booths here offer a wonderful variety of cuisine (including bakery, crepe, and candy booths) and are a much better deal than the over-priced restaurants at The Grove.
Whatever you do, don’t rent a car! While this neighborhood is known for being walk-friendly, it’s also known for having some of the worst grid-lock in central Los Angeles — it is literally faster to walk than to drive down some of these streets. If you must visit Hollywood Boulevard, just call a cab, as the only thing worse than driving is trying to find a parking space!
Best Eateries — almost any restaurant on W. Third Street, especially Joan’s on Third, Goal (sports bar with $5 burgers), Son of a Gun(seafood), The Churchill, Little Next Door, Gusto (Italian), Toast (breakfast, brunch), El Carmen (Mexican) Canter’s Deli; nearby check out Kings Road Café (lunch), El Coyote (Mexican), and DuPars (for breakfast at The Grove)
Sightseeing and L.A. Landmarks — LACMA, CBS, The Holocaust Museum, The Petersen Car Museum, Canters Deli, Melrose Avenue, Fairfax Avenue, The Grove and Farmer’s Market.
© 2016 Rebecca Pavlik, All Rights Reserved