top of page

Best Of Beverly Hills & LA: A Three Day Getaway

This is Part Two in a series about the culture of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, California. My earlier article compared the lifestyle of LA, with my hometown, Savannah, Georgia:

Beverly Hills is a walking city. A couple groceries, pharmacies, fitness clubs, a hardware store, coffee shops, and endless downtown dining choices are all within easy access on foot. But there's also a convenient, free trolley service. Since I lived across the street from the main retail district for many years, I still bump into old friends here, and continue to think of the neighborhood as my second "home." The purpose of this latest visit was a dear friend’s wedding, which was an unforgettably romantic, private affair. My husband joined me on this trip, and since he'd never been to Los Angeles, we arrived a couple of days early, so that I could show him around.

couple in front of Beverly Hills sign
This photo was taken in front of the famous lily pond, a landmark which was originally built in 1907 in front of the heart of Beverly Hills. One of my favorite events here is held annually every May. The artSHOW takes place across four linear blocks and attracts over 50,000 attendees to view the work of 245+ international and domestic artists. Expect world class culture, food trucks, beer and wine gardens, childrens’ art stations, and live music. May is also a wonderful time to visit the park’s rose garden because, “April showers brings May flowers.”

Tommy is always learning new photography techniques (and experimenting with me as his on-camera guinea pig). We actually circled back on the following day for him to photograph Artist Carol Bove's large steel sculptures, one of which is pictured below. Her latest artwork, commissioned by the city of Beverly Hills, was so magical that it was easy to just play, and follow my husband's direction to "forget I am taking pictures."

girl in front of circle frame
According to Wikipedia, Artist Carol Bove has described her large steel sculptures as "big, heavy, but fragile."

There's always a nice surprise around every corner, a short distance from this park. We had heard about the art and travel Louis Vuitton X exhibition and pop-up shop, on North Rodeo Drive (which is open through November 10, 2019). And I'm pleased to say this show exceeded our expectations. Besides decadent fashions, and luxurious leather handbags, we were treated to eye candy interior design and décor.

Woman in orange room
Walls and furniture were artfully colored bright orange, sunshine yellow, and hot pink. Being in such a joyful environment felt like color therapy.

Louis Vuitton Purse Exhibit
The live demonstration on how each Louis Vuitton purse is put together was fascinating.

One of the most interesting bags we saw on display was a designer punching bag.

Earlier this year, on a different visit to LA, I spent an afternoon in the fashion district, where there is an endless sea of stores that sell discounted items. Now, when I see designer labels, it will be with a different eye for detail. The art and travel Louis Vuitton X exhibition was an out standing experience. (Get it?)

… It was a good thing I remembered to pack flats in my purse when we made our way on down the street to Barney’s and walked up the long staircase to the restaurant on the fifth floor.

Stairs at Barneys in Beverly Hills
You'll get your exercise and feel like you've earned your lunch if you don't take the elevator up to Fred's restaurant,

Retail purchases can be pricey at Barney’s. But you can indulge in a taste of Chanel for dessert for only around $10.00 at La Patisserie Artistique in the Rodeo Collection, just down the street.

Chanel truffle cake
It felt like fashion blasphemy to eat this delicate dark chocolate Chanel truffle with a white chocolate frosting. Pastry Chef and Cake Designer Nahid, Owner of La Patisserie Artistique on N. Rodeo Drive creates other delicious treats, including Tiffany & Co lemon truffles.

Rodeo Collection
The ambience at La Patisserie in the Rodeo Collection center is deliciously decadent and relatively private. I always thought of this place as my “secret” when I lived nearby.

From La Patisserie we were only a short walk to The Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Who could forget this luxurious place from the movie "Pretty Woman."

Beverly Wilshire Hotel Pretty Woman
The 1928 Beaux Arts-style Regent Beverly Wilshire is located at the foot of Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills.

Later on our trip we took a bus tour of LA and saw a number of other movie set locations, including the Los Palmas Hotel. Remember that famous scene in "Pretty Woman" where Edward (Richard Gere) climbed up these stairs for Vivian (Julia Roberts)?

Los Palmas Hotel from Pretty Woman
In the movie Pretty Woman, Julia Robert’s character sneaks out this fire escape to avoid paying the rent.

Tommy and I make a point of trying to take a tour bus ride anytime we can when we’re visiting a new town. (I can highly recommend the company "LA City Tours," which conveniently picked us up in Beverly Hills.) Following a great tour we chose to get off the bus on Sunset Boulevard so we could go crate digging at Amoeba Music, the world’s largest independent record store.

This photo only shows part of one floor. -- The full store is huge.

After Amoeba we couldn’t resist taking a short walk to my favorite vintage resale store anywhere in any city (on the planet). I’d rather buy some articles of clothing new, but motorcycle jackets are best broken in. That said, Iguana Vintage Clothing is the best place I’ve ever seen for the largest selection of buttery soft, worn-in leather jackets.

As for shopping at food markets, there are many in Los Angeles to choose from, but my new favorite is Grand Central Market, downtown. This huge, internationally diverse array of fresh produce stands and restaurants is buzzing with excitement. But I recommend taking your lunch across the street from the market to another great attraction -- away from the crowd -- at Angels' Flight Railway. The ride has two cars going in opposite directions on a shared cable, on the 298 feet long inclined railway leading up to a public promenade. 

Angel Wings Los Angeles
We had a nice time at Angel Wings in downtown LA, above the Grand Central Market. (And I got to be the photographer for a change.)

From downtown LA we took an Uber to the popular Sunset Junction area where there’s a walkable strip of hipster retail boutiques and restaurants. Immersing ourselves in the bustling urban culture of Silverlake was a thrill, but my favorite thing about this area is the rainbow colored Hidden Painted Stairs at Micheltorena Street and Sunset Boulevard.

Silverlake Secret Stairs
The view of the LA skyline at the top of these secret stairs is pretty amazing.

… After several days of shopping, visiting friends, and seeing tourist attractions, Tommy and I were hoping to scout a treat for our next trip when we stopped by The Millenium Biltmore. What we found in the interior of this architectural masterpiece was the highest level of luxury. On our next visit I'd like to have afternoon high tea at the Rendevous Court.

Girl in evening gown at Millenium Biltmore Los Angeles
The South Galleria of the Millenium Biltmore is inspired by the decor of ancient Roman Pompeii, and features a vaulted ceiling, marble balustrades and heavy Roman piers. Gold-painted wrought iron gates open to a staircase leading down to the Biltmore Bowl.

Thank you for reading about our trip. It would mean so much if you would take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments below.

XoXo… Suzana

bottom of page