Sunset Strip, Los Angeles. Seeing Billboard with blue sky on the Sunset Blvd and visiting the sacred sites of Rock music, feeling the atmosphere of California.
I have been to Los Angeles frequently. This is the iconic city in the west coast of USA. This city emits a kind of magic and I was gravitated to it. It has been nearly 30 years from my first visit, still, I am visiting this place without getting bored.
There are many items that I was attracting to, one of the most attractive places is “Sunset Strip”. “Sunset Strip” is the area of “West Hollywood” along the Sunset Boulevard that is approx. 1.5 mile long. In this “Sunset Strip”, club, boutique, restaurant, bar, theater and hotel are interspersed along the “Sunset Boulevard”. Surrounding area is luxury residential area, and therefore, it feels a little snob, but it is not tourist place, the place for feeling of daily-life.
Driving “Sunset Boulevard” from the east, reaching to “Crescent Heights Boulevard” which has the shopping mall at the corner of intersection. From this point, “Sunset Boulevard” is winding down and “Sunset Strip” to start. Just describing the symbolic place from the east, “Chateau Marmont” hotel, a purveyor of celebrities on the right at the first place, with a little driving,
“Sunset Tower” which is ex. “Argyle hotel”, also a purveyor of celebrities on the left, following ex. Hyatt Hotel (Andaz West Hollywood afterwards) which is known as “Riot House”, where rock musicians stayed and engaged in a number of eccentricities, then “Comedy Store” which is the comedy club on the right. On the left-hand side, “House of Blues” that was already demolished and commercila building built.
Further driving, crossing with “La Cienega Boulevard”, road is going down. My favorite restaurant “Mells Drive In” on the right, then “Sunset Plaza” which shop, boutique, restaurant gathers. Remains of famous “Tower Record” applied for the movie and video shooting, good sense of book store “Book Soup” on the left.
From this point and further, club is gathering. “The Viper Room” on the left, “Whisky a Go Go” on the right. With some distance, “The Roxy” on the right, following, ex. “Gazarri’s“, “Key Club” (1OAK dance club now). After that, shop is fading away and “Sunset Boulevard” is curbing to the right, then going into the residential area. This is the summary of the “Sunset Strip”.
In this Sunset Strip, one of the symbolic items is the Billboard along the “Sunset Boulevard”. This Billboard is the item to energize me and feel “I have just returned to the “Sunset Strip”. This Billboard is mainly from the starting point of “Crescent Heights Boulevard” to the location of ex. Tower Record. It is comfortable and feeling excited for driving by seeing the Billboard with the blue-sky background.
In the area from Sunset Plaza to Tower Record, you can see the people walking the street because shop and restaurant gathers this area. It is fun to watch the walking people by sitting at the terrace table on the restaurant/café along the “Sunset Boulevard”. In addition, though it has some distance, it is very good exercise to walk the “Sunset Strip” from west to east end, you can feel the atmosphere around this area.
Well, as for the activity in “Sunset Strip”, main timeframe must be night time, to visit the night club in the west part of this “Sunset Strip”, “The Viper Room”, “Whisky a Go Go”, “The Roxy”, “1OAK” (ex. “Gazzarri’s”, “Key Club”). No busy feeling like 80s to 90s, but this is rare place that multiple famous clubs are on the same street, and this must be one place which can feel the culture in Los Angeles.
In case you have no interest in this area, just to stop by a car and walking the street. There is a case that finding homeless person around the club, but surroundings are luxury residential area and no feeling as a dangerous place. In addition, at night time, people going to restaurant/club is walking and it is fun to watch those people.
Club opens after 21pm, peak time is around midnight, in general (definition of club herewith is music venue instead of dance club). Having a dinner at restaurant in the “Sunset Plaza”, then going to Club. Though restaurant in this area seems to be luxury one, but it is not. It is not like formal luxury style, but normal. While eating at the terrace space along the “Sunset Boulevard”, people next table calls me casually and asking ” I am going to Tokyo two weeks after, which restaurant do you recommend?”
One issue must be how to get this place. You cannot drink an alcohol since car must be the only way to come this place. This is pity, and therefore, I recommend to stay in the hotel at “Sunset Strip”. However, hotel at “Sunset Strip” is mostly luxury hotel, like “Chateau Marmont”, “Sunset Tower”, “Hyatt Hotel”. I have never stayed these kinds of hotel.
Then what is the solution? I recommend one hotel, “Best Western Sunset Plaza”. I always stay here. Best Western is fair-priced motel chain. Price is reasonable compared to the surrounded luxury hotel and location is the best. “Sunset Tower” Hotel next door, ex. “House of Blues” was very nearby. “Sunset Plaza” and Club area is within walking distance. After having a fun at Club, you will be back to Best Western on foot by seeing the landscape around.
This “Best Western Sunset Plaza” has beautiful inner garden and it is good if you could have the room facing to this inner garden. By the way, in the early 90s, one night was less than 100 US$, however, it is more than 250 US$ these days. In addition, in the early 90s, parking space located at the basement was free, but it cost around 20 US$ one night. Just seeing this price, I feel that price has become high, but it is still valuable to stay at this place.
It takes 15 minutes on foot from Club area to Best Western. After leaving the club, then starting to walk with feeling tipsy. In the weekend, many people still walking down the street. Watching those people, to see the show window at the shop along the “Sunset Boulevard”. There is a light on the left side emitting from the luxury house located on the hill. By feeling the night wind, enjoy the night walk on the “Sunset Strip”.
Lastly, I would like to introduce “Stahl House” as one recommended place. The house was built in 1959 as an iconic place of modern architecture and open to the public. Located on a hillside, north side of the “Sunset Strip”, providing slick pool, ceiling-to-floor see-through housing, with a panoramic view of Los Angeles.
This place is used for filming movies, and feel the sense of Hollywood Hills. The hills on the north side of this sunset strip are secure, and you should be careful because even if you drive around and park in a certain place, resident will come out from nowhere and be seen.
In that sense, this “Stahl House” is a valuable place to know the atmosphere on the hill. If checking with a certain amount of time beforehand, you can get the ticket. Parking space is available on the site and you do not have to feel unpleasant. Please visit.
As for the Club, please read my article in Rock Club.
Around 15 times visit since 1991, the latest visit in 2023.
■ Name of Place : Sunset Plaza
■ Homepag : Sunset Plaza
(described on Sep 3 2023)