Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT Sunset Strip, CA: Stroll Along Hollywood's Yesterdays
Sunset Strip, CA: Stroll Along Hollywood's Yesterdays PDF Print E-mail

We retired recently to California, and settled in an apartment in West Hollywood. Of course, the very first chance we had to tour the city was to visit the famed streets of the movie capital of the world.

We strolled along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and read the stars’ name on sidewalk plaques in front of the venerable Grauman’s Theater (now TCL Chinese Theatre) www.tclchinesetheatres.com. Then, because we had spent time there several decades ago, we wanted to revisit a more intimate and hip Hollywood music scene we remember from those days. We spent an hour or two along the vintage Sunset Strip.

The Sunset Strip: It’s just a few blocks south and west of Hollywood Boulevard, in the incorporated city of West Hollywood www.weho.org. The Strip is on Sunset Boulevard between Crescent Heights and Doheny Drive, bordering the city of Beverly Hills.

All the address numbers are on Sunset Boulevard: Chateau Marmont (8221): The 80-year-old hotel still holds its youthful charms. Through the years and continuing today, everyone from Jean Harlow to Cary Grant to Lindsay Lohan have stayed and/or played at this vintage inn. www.chateaumarmont.com

We decided to have lunch on the outside garden-lined patio, hoping to rub elbows with some of today’s Hollywood elite. We didn’t see anyone we recognized, probably because everyone was wearing oversized sunglasses and/or hoodies in the chilly noon air.

However, we did enjoy our French onion cauliflower soup and strip steak bourguignonne avec frite. With a glass of wine, French, of course, the very pleasant lunch cost us a costly $130 for two.

Sunset Tower Hotel (8358): Also built in the 1920s, this white art deco building has been the site of many movie and TV scenes, They include 24, Dirty Sexy Money, The Italian Job and Get Shorty. sunsettowerhotel.com

Andaz West Hollywood (8401): If you’re looking for Sunset Strip rock music history, visit this hotel, now a Hyatt westhollywood.hyatt.com, that was once known infamously as Riot House. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the musicians who performed at nearby clubs regularly slept and partied at the Andaz. Some of their wild times were captured in movies, including This is Spinal Tap and Almost Famous.

We stopped for a quick drink at the RH Bar at the Andaz, admired the cool atmosphere and the open kitchen where diners could see chefs at work.

The Comedy Store (8433): In the 1940s and 1950s, this was Ciro’s Nightclub, where the biggest stars enjoyed their fun evenings. Now also famous under the current name, it’s where many now-top comedians got their start, including Rosanne Barr, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Robin Williams and many more. thecomedystore.com

77 Sunset Strip: (8524): It was a popular TV show from 1958 to 1964. Older fans remember Edd "Kookie" Burns the hip car valet. There never was a real 77 there, and today the area is a strip mall. You can find a pavement plaque and its message identifying the fictitious site.

Sunset Plaza: There are retail stores, hip boutiques, bars and outdoor cafes all along the 8600 and 8700 blocks. While we didn’t linger very long there, it’s a good area to take a few minutes to shop, rest your feet, have a bite and a brew while trying to spot celebs.

The Whisky A GoGo (8901): By the 1960s, rock was taking over, and this is where some early stars performed their first gigs, including The Doors, The Who, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. www.whiskyagogo.com

Rainbow Bar & Grill (9015): This was THE place in the 1950s when the building was called the Villa Nova. Frank Sinatra and his pals hung out here, along with Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. www.rainbowbarandgrill.com

Strolling The Strip: If you want a pleasant taste of how Hollywood looked a generation or so ago, spend some fun hours of nostalgia on this vintage stretch of Sunset Boulevard.

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