The Guide to Melrose Avenue West

Melrose Ave., West Hollywood
Melrose Ave., West Hollywood

Melrose Avenue is one of L.A.’s most famous streets, featuring a myriad of shopping, dining and entertainment destinations. Melrose runs north of Beverly Boulevard and south of Santa Monica Boulevard. Along its "west end," Melrose Avenue is all about strolling and shopping, so bring dough and plenty of it. The street begins at Santa Monica Boulevard where the cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood meet, otherwise known as the intersection of posh and funky.

Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood Design District
Pacific Design Center

Start by heading east along Melrose LA’s chic design district, anchored by the vast green, red and blue buildings of the Pacific Design Center. In the complex's courtyard, you'll find MOCA Pacific Design Center, an offshoot of downtown's Museum of Contemporary Art; it's always free and usually exhibits work by noteworthy local artists. If you're feeling peckish, there's the upscale vegan fare at Gracias Madre, a Mexican-themed restaurant from the folks behind Cafe Gratitude. You won't have to declare "I am glorious" or "I am thriving" just to order a tempeh wrap or bowl of soup. It has a lovely patio like nearby Zinqué, a loosely French bistro that's as popular for power breakfasts as it is for sipping wine and cheese in the late afternoon. If you'd rather have your vino at home, turn down La Cienega and pop into the cave-like Du Vin Wine & Spirits where knowledgeable staffers who will help you sort through the well chosen selection of wines and liquors.

Alfred at Glossier Alley in West Hollywood
Alfred at Glossier Alley

Continuing east, you'll hit a slew of stores on Melrose stocking everything you need to outfit your home: antique and contemporary rugs at Woven or Mansour Fine Rugs; one-of-a-kind bathrooms and kitchen fixtures (perhaps inspired by the controls of a Victorian boiler room) at Waterworks; Eames loungers, Nelson pendant lamps and other classics of modernist furniture at Design Within Reach. You can outfit yourself with buttery soft leather jackets from Rag & Bone. At Kitson, you don't have to decide - choose clothes and gifts for men, women and kids from a diverse collection of labels. If you need a pick-me-up, head to Alfred at Glossier Alley, which as its name suggests is literally located in an alley.

Rooftop Bar at E.P. & L.P.
Photo: E.P and L.P.

Urth Caffe Melrose lets you choose between healthy salads and diet-busting desserts; if the cafe is packed, and it usually is, take your iced latte across the street where you'll find the world's fanciest Restoration Hardware. Even though it's big, RH is easy to miss because there's no sign and it feels more like a furniture gallery than a store. Head upstairs to the rooftop terrace where couches, long wooden tables, cabanas, candles and ping pong tables await anyone who wants to kick back and enjoy a sweet view of the Hollywood Hills. If you want to dine in style, there's another rooftop option. On the northwest corner of Melrose and La Cienega, above the Alice and Olivia boutique, E.P. & L.P. offers dining and drinks on two levels. E.P. features a New American menu of caviar seaweed snacks, kingfish crudo and Margra lamb ragu. Upstairs at the glamorous rooftop L.P., it's all about cocktails and global bar bites like salt & pepper calamari and Baja fish tacos.

Irene Neuwirth on Melrose Place
Photo: Irene Neuwirth

Once you hit La Cienega, it's worth making a detour to Melrose Place Los Angeles, which is one block north. The street was immortalized in the '90s thanks to Aaron Spelling's over-the-top TV show, but you won't find apartment complexes populated by conniving, wanna be actors. In truth, the street is occupied by an eye-popping array of designer boutiques: Monique LHuillier, Isabel Marant, Chloe, and Vince. Don't forget The Row, Ashley and and Mary-Kate Olsen's fashion line; or the ocean-inspired jewelry designs of SoCal native Irene Neuwirth. Melrose Place is also home to the original (and much larger) Alfred Coffee. Order at the subterranean counter then try to snag a streetside table for people-watching (celebs and otherwise).

Paul Smith Pink Wall Melrose
The Pink Wall at Paul Smith Los Angeles | Photo: Paul Smith

If you’re ready for more Melrose Avenue shopping, the golden triangle bordered by Melrose Avenue includes more high-end shops. As you head east, you'll hit Vivienne Westwood, the Instagram-ready Paul Smith, the high-end vintage store Decades and the fanciful housewares of Jonathan Adler. Don't leave home without that Black AmEx.

Dining room at Rosaliné on Melrose Avenue
Photo: Rosaliné

The street is also something of a dining corridor. Near La Cienega there's Rosaliné, featuring modern Peruvian cuisine by acclaimed chef Ricardo Zarate. At Tal Ronnen's Crossroads, the fanciest vegan restaurant in town, lunch features fried "chicken" & waffles and a gluten-free shawarma mushroom bowl; dinner is a seven-course seasonal tasting menu. The desserts at Sweet Lady Jane are popular, especially the famous Triple Berry Cheesecake and decadent dark chocolate macarons.

Dragon Ball Z shoes at Adidas Originals
Dragon Ball Z shoes at Adidas Originals | Photo: @thegoldsaucer, Instagram

East of Crescent Heights, Melrose Avenue starts to get more funky with outposts from denim line G-Star RAW and Adidas Originals. Agent Provocateur specializes in provocative lingerie and you're offered champagne when you walk through the door, which is the best way to shop for anything.

Sarah Silverman on stage at the Hollywood Improv
Sarah Silverman on stage in the Main Room | Photo: Hollywood Improv, Facebook

If you want nightlife, check out the comedy at The Improv, which offers a mix of mainstream and oddball acts. When it's all said and done, head to Palihotel. The terrific in-house restaurant, Severance Restaurant & Bar features breezy indoor and outdoor dining areas that showcase a French-inspired menu of small plates and snacks along with a well-curated beverage program of classic cocktails, wine and beer. The boutique hotel, with its small but stylish rooms, makes an ideal launching point for a night on the town - you're ultra close to West Hollywood and within striking distance of both the Sunset Strip and Hollywood.

Continue exploring Melrose with our guide to Melrose Avenue East, from the historic Fairfax District to eclectic Melrose shopping, acclaimed restaurants and craft cocktail bars. Read More