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EXCLUSIVE | Los Angeles: Introduction Part Two

EXCLUSIVE | Los Angeles: Introduction Part Two

The city of West Hollywood ("WeHo") perks, swarms, and bubbles with homos at every turn, in shops, restaurants, gyms, bars -- all the essentials of life. "The Creative City," as it calls itself, proudly flies the rainbow flag and hosts L.A.'s Gay Pride festival each June, and it's a central place to base yourself.

But visitors would be remiss not to explore other neighborhoods. Just next door, Beverly Hills is synonymous with Rodeo Drive, swimming pools, movie stars... The two cities share famous streets (the east-west Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevards and north-south Robertson Boulevard and Doheny Drive) and landscapes (the Hollywood Hills above and relative "flats" below).

Just east of West Hollywood, Hollywood proper has seen a rather extraordinary transformation in recent years. Development is gradually pushing aside Hollywood Boulevard's T-shirt shops and down-market restaurants in favor of some genuine attractions and chichi hotels, clubs, and eateries.

Sunset Boulevard continues eastward to the city's second largest gay enclave, Silver Lake, where narrow streets wind into the hills toward early 20th-century bungalows. Silver Lake was L.A.'s original gay neighborhood before WeHo, and a new generation of young gays and lesbians is discovering its charms -- and sharing their own.

Further east, Downtown L.A. was long a no-man's land after work, but it too has experienced an upswing in commerce, culture, and residential activity. Key cultural institutions like the landmark Walt Disney Concert Hall are here, as are some important ethnic neighborhoods.

Follow "the 10" (that's Interstate 10 to you non-Angelenos) west and you'll end up in Santa Monica, a friendly beachside community with attractions from shopping to hotels to biking along the Pacific.

North from Santa Monica is tony Malibu, while funky-cool Venice Beach is just to the south.

Part One | Part Two

Related Articles:
Los Angeles: Where to Stay
Los Angeles: Where to Eat
Los Angeles: Where to Play/Meet
Los Angeles: What to See and Do
Los Angeles: Resources

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Joe Okonkwo