Hidden Gems in West Hollywood

Tail O' the Pup 1

The vibrant city of West Hollywood continues to flourish as both a tight-knit
community and a beacon of social justice. Rich in entertainment history, it’s also famed for passing legislation such as same-gender domestic partner benefits for city employees and the banning of fur sales. West Hollywood’s storied Sunset Strip has been undergoing a revival of sorts as the home of world-famous music venues, while hosting many of LA’s top destination restaurants. Yet there is so much to still discover. Whether you're a longtime resident or are visiting this bustling neighborhood for the first time, there's always something new to discover in WeHo.

Primary image for Acne Studios

Acne Studios

Opened in 2018, this by-appointment WeHo location of Swedish luxury fashion label
Acne Studios is itself an aesthetic delight. Co-founder Jonny Johannson’s fascination with not only fashion but also architecture and art is reflected in a beautiful former gallery setting replete with designer seating, lighting, and art installations. The West Hollywood location carries Acne’s men’s and women’s collections, immaculately presented in sleek surrounds. Recent clients include the likes of Rihanna, Chrissy Teigen, and Katie Holmes –just peering through the window of this regal retail bar-raiser can provide inspiration.

Interior of Book Soup on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood
Photo: Book Soup

Book Soup

Carrying 60,000-plus titles and hosting author events and signings almost daily, Book Soup has somehow survived as a bastion of the printed word even in an era of short-attention-span digital media. West Hollywood was carefully chosen by founders Glenn Goldman and David Mackler when they opened for business in 1975, with Goldman later recalling, “I felt that the people who lived in the neighborhood would and could really support a bookstore." After a couple of brushes with closure in its early days, Book Soup has prevailed to become an L.A. Landmark and tourist attraction, famed for its crammed shelves and exclusive author appearances exploring almost every
imaginable subject.

Hamilton Selway Fine Art
Hamilton Selway Fine Art | Instagram: Hamilton Selway Fine Art

Hamilton Selway Fine Art

Over the past three decades, Hamilton-Selway Fine Art has grown into one of the largest purveyors of pop and contemporary art pieces on the West Coast, with an unusually extensive inventory of curated artwork and a specialty in the works of Andy Warhol. As well as original pieces, Hamilton-Selway carries limited-edition prints and trial proofs by luminaires like Alex Katz, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jonas Wood. With its fine collections, competitive prices, and expert team, Hamilton-Selway continues to be both a reflection of and influence on the art scene in Los Angeles and far beyond.

Morrison Hotel Gallery
Amy Winehouse, London, 2004 | Photo: Jake Chessum, Morrison Hotel Gallery

Morrison Hotel Gallery at Sunset Marquis

Legendary images of legendary artists is the M.O. of Morrison Hotel Gallery at the luxurious Sunset Marquis hotel. Tucked across the lobby from Bar 1200, above NightBird Recording Studios, Morrison Hotel Gallery features some of the most iconic images of rock stars past and present. The space is co-owned by Timothy White, one of the world’s most sought-after celebrity photographers and the curator of all Sunset Marquis art, and Henry Diltz, who has captured some of music’s most incredible moments on film, including many images of The Doors. That band’s Morrison Hotel album lends its name to this must-see gallery located appropriately close to the Sunset Strip where they first found fame.

One Gallery Archives
“Black Cat demonstration”, c. 1967. @theadvocatemag | Photo: One Archives at the USC Libraries

ONE Archives Gallery & Museum

Founded in 1952, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives is the largest active LGBTQ organization in the United States as well as the most comprehensive repository of such materials in the world. Telling stories that connect history and contemporary culture to affect social change today, ONE cultivates the personal and communal courage found in LGBTQ history to empower the current queer experience while promoting social justice and equity for all. At its Robertson Boulevard gallery space, rotating exhibits such as murals and installations keep every visit fresh, drawing upon more than two million items in ONE’s archives. Although a $5 donation is suggested, visiting is free.

Petit Ermitage
Petit Ermitage

Petit Ermitage

Many smaller hotels like to describe themselves as unique and boutique, but Petit Ermitage really is an enclave of charm, history, and sophistication in a class all its own. Art and antique fixtures are displayed throughout the 80-suite property, enhancing its singularly romantic and luxurious aura. Savor breakfast, lunch, and dinner (or simply lounge) poolside on The Rooftop, with its sublime sunsets and sweeping L.A. views. For an ultimate hot date or exclusive gathering, choose private rooftop dining behind retractable curtains in opulently lush surrounds. Nothing is too much trouble at Petit Ermitage, as your own troubles melt away in this tasteful WeHo oasis of indulgence.

Rainbow Bar Grill Megadeth Dave Mustaine
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine at the Rainbow Bar & Grill | Photo: Megadeth

Rainbow Bar & Grill

While celebrated Sunset Strip concert venues like the Roxy Theatre and Whisky a Go-Go dominate area tourist guides, Rainbow Bar & Grill preserves the neighborhood’s rock & roll heritage perhaps better than all. This excellent Italian eatery became an after-show hang for heroes of the hair metal era – it’s literally next-door to the Roxy and just steps from the Whisky – where Motorhead legend Lemmy Kilmister was a regular and you’ll still see former MTV fixtures enjoying a drink and some lingering attention. Now augmented with a life-size statue of the late Kilmister, it’s an evocative throwback bar-restaurant with unusually fine pizza and ravioli – even if you have zero interest in heavy metal.

Schindler House
Schindler House

Mak Center For Art & Architecture at Schindler House

Inspired by a trip to Yosemite, the Schindler House was built by Vienna-born architect Rudolf M. Schindler in 1922. Extremely unconventional for its era, the property was influenced by Curry Village in Yosemite National Park in its intention as a cooperative, multi-family live/work space. Its concrete walls and sliding canvas panels made novel use of industrial materials, while an open floor plan that integrated the external environment set a precedent still palpable in California architecture. This former residence of Schindler and his wife Pauline is now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Following temporary closure for roof restoration, it has re-opened to the public, Wednesdays through Sundays.

Tail O' the Pup 1

Tail O' the Pup

Originally opened in 1946 by celebrity ballroom dancers Veloz and Yolanda, Tail O' the Pup is one of the city's few remaining examples of programmatic architecture. The 18-foot concrete hot dog sat in storage for years and was eventually donated to a museum before being acquired by Bobby Green's 1933 Group. The iconic hot dog received several years of thoughtful TLC and upgrades. Recently Installed off historic Route 66 near its original location, the new landmark fronts a two-story building where The Doors recorded the entire LA Woman album in the lower level, which the band called "The Doors Workshop." (The sound booth now serves as a perfectly-sized restroom.)

The hot dogs range from traditional to veg-friendly, (don't miss the corndog) served in whimsical trays shaped like a wiener dog - the frank sticks out of the back, so it's literally the "tail" o' the pup! The interior features a plein air painting by Shag, along with vintage photos of everyone from Sigourney Weaver to The Go-Go's and Devo hanging out at Tail O' the Pup. Of course the place is pup-friendly with a dedicated water station and a special "treat" for four-legged visitors on the menu.

"Peace Elephant" by Shepard Fairey | Photo: Josh Barash, Americans for the Arts
"Peace Elephant" by Shepard Fairey | Photo: Josh Barash, Americans for the Arts

West Hollywood Library

True to West Hollywood’s traditions as both a creative community and a protagonist for social responsibility and change, the city’s beautiful 33,000-square-foot library is a LEED-certified building that furthers its green credentials by offering household battery recycling. Occupying the top two stories of an airy, mid-century revivalist architectural marvel, the colorful facility features a coffee shop, bookstore, rooftop tennis and pickleball courts, books in Spanish and Russian, and exterior murals by street artists Shepard Fairey, RETNA, and Kenny Scharf. West Hollywood Library hosts regular events, including kids’ programs, poetry workshops, and an LGBTQ+ Book Club. Free 3-hour parking, with validation.