Surrounded by the city of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills has long been home to movie stars, producers, fashion designers, and wealthy entrepreneurs. The shops and restaurants in this town cater to their well-off and powerful clientele, and the result is some of the best shopping and dining in the world. Add in beautiful gardens, iconic hotels, and great theater, and you’ve got one of the best places in the Los Angeles area for a day trip.
Here's how to spend a day in Beverly Hills.
Shop Till You Drop
There are few streets in the world better known than Rodeo Drive. Just saying the name conjures up visions of a young Julia Roberts in the movie Pretty Woman. It isn’t a long street; in fact, walking its three blocks might take just minutes. However, since there are more than 100 designer clothing stores, accessory stores, and home goods stores along this stretch, it’s essential to allow plenty of time for Rodeo.
Along the way, notice the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style, similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Embedded in the sidewalk are bronze plaques honoring the world’s most accomplished fashion designers, including Armani and Versace. This town takes fashion very seriously!
Be sure to pop in to several of the stores, because the interiors are simply gorgeous. Vera Wang, wedding-dress designer to the stars, offers sleek black walls along with a dreamy video display of her current clothing line. Harry Winston, best known for providing jewels for Oscar nominees, is dotted with cases of exquisite diamonds. And don’t miss the flagship Louis Vuitton store designed by Peter Marino, which offers exclusive products sold only at this location.
In case Rodeo Drive doesn’t offer enough designer stores, your next stop should be Two Rodeo, an exclusive shopping center with European charm that offers Tiffany & Co., Lanvin, and Porsche Design.
Finally, check out some of luxury department stores in the area, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, and Neiman Marcus. While retail stores around the country are closing, these iconic brands still offer a wide selection of luxury goods in very stylish settings.
Stroll Through The Gardens
Take a break from high-end shopping to enjoy one of several gardens in Beverly Hills. The most central is Beverly Gardens Park, a 1.9-mile green space offering gardens, sculptures, and fountains. A popular (and often crowded) Instagram spot is the Beverly Hills sign in front of the lily pond, but don’t miss the world-class sculpture garden across the street that includes Hymn of Life: Tulips by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
The Virginia Robinson Gardens were once part of the first private luxury estate in Beverly Hills. Built in 1911, the home is now on the National Register of Historic Places. In its prime, the estate was home to lavish Hollywood parties and hosted both movie stars and royalty. Take a tour of the estate and explore its six botanical gardens. Tours must be booked by appointment through email or by phone.
The 5-acre Will Rogers Memorial Park, adjacent to the Beverly Hills Hotel, is also a lovely and peaceful place to enjoy the sunshine along with a rose garden, fountains, and lush landscape. But don’t confuse this small park with the much larger one called the Will Rogers State Historic Park, which is not located in Beverly Hills.
Finally, you could check out the grounds of the Greystone Mansion. While the home is closed to the public, the beautifully landscaped gardens are open most days and are free. This magnificent estate was built for the oil baron Edward Doheny and completed in 1928. In addition to being a public space, the gardens are a popular filming location for television shows and movies.
Channel Your Inner Celebrity
Start with a visit to the Beverly Hills Hotel and pop in to the Polo Lounge, where Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin often went to drink. But even current stars enjoy this swanky lounge, so if a celebrity sighting is on your to-do list, this is the place to go. Legends abound in this hotel where the reclusive Howard Hughes resided for many years and where Liz Taylor was known to order two bottles of vodka with breakfast.
Then check out the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, a popular location for filming television shows, movies, and awards shows. Supposedly, the pool there is modeled after Sophia Loren’s private villa pool in Italy. Stars such as Elvis Presley and Warren Beatty once lived at the hotel.
Learn About The Television And Film Industries
If you’re interested in learning more about the entertainment business, then a visit to the Paley Center for Media is in order. The center is an archive of video and audio materials documenting the history of movies and television. Periodically the center hosts exhibits about specific movies and television shows. The current exhibit on view is Fashion & Fantasy: The Art of The Masked Singer, which explores the popular Fox television show.
Live programs are also offered throughout the year on trending topics in the industry. Be sure to check the website prior to visiting to see what is available.
Enjoy World-Class Dining
Come to Beverly Hills hungry, because this town offers some of Southern California’s best dining spots. But be sure to make reservations, since many of these restaurants are popular with both locals and visitors.
Beverly Hills is home to one of the world’s original celebrity chefs, Wolfgang Puck, so consider a meal at the iconic Spago. In the early years of the Wolfgang Puck empire, this was one of the most prized reservations in L.A. If you want to experience one of Puck’s newer restaurants, then head to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for CUT, which was recently awarded a Michelin star.
For one of the best views in Beverly Hills, make a trip to Freds at Barneys New York. This rooftop restaurant offers excellent salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes, but what really stands out is the view from one of the two patios. On a clear day, it’s possible to see the Hollywood sign from the back patio.
For a completely different dining experience, head to Nate ’n Al, an authentic Jewish deli that has been in operation for more than 70 years. Enjoy classic sandwiches like hot pastrami or a smoked whitefish and cream cheese bagel.
Visitors looking for a smaller meal or a snack should try Alfred’s Coffee and Tea. Wildly popular on Instagram, Alfred’s is famous for its tagline, “But First, Coffee,” which appears on the walls of all of its cafés. The Beverly Hills branch is conveniently located across the street from the Beverly Gardens Park and also within a one-block walk of the Paley Center for Media.
Finally, no trip to Beverly Hills would be complete without a stop at the original Sprinkles, creator of the cupcake trend that has swept the country. Step inside and be amazed at the selection of small tasty cakes, including red velvet, chocolate marshmallow, and salted caramel. In the event the shop is closed, don’t worry -- a cupcake ATM is available outside to fulfill orders.
Take In A Show
After a busy day of shopping, sightseeing, and eating, it may be time to see a show. Live theater is popular in Beverly Hills, and two theaters offer quality productions.
The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (more commonly called The Wallis) offers year-round programming including theater, dance, music, and opera. Many Saturdays, a free family dance program is offered outdoors. Architecturally interesting as well, The Wallis combines the former Beverly Hills Post Office built in 1933 with a modern 500-seat theater opened in 2013. If you're not able to take in a show, you can still stroll the expansive grounds of The Wallis.
Nearby is the Saban Theatre, formerly the Fox Wilshire Theater, opened in 1930 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. Originally built to show films, the Fox Wilshire Theater hosted dozens of classic movie premieres, including those of The African Queen and 12 Angry Men. In 2009, the theater was renamed for the Saban family, who donated a substantial amount of money to refurbish it. Today it hosts a variety of concerts.
Despite its small size, Beverly Hills can offer any visitor at least one full day of activities. Packed into 6 square miles are hundreds of excellent shops and restaurants, many of which are world renowned. Sprinkle in a few gardens, luxury hotels, and theaters, and the reality is that this city is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Los Angeles.
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