Santa Monica Boulevard has inspired decades of artists. From Nat King Cole’s “Route 66” to Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do,” the street has long been known as a place where one can have a very good time. Spanning nearly the entire city of Los Angeles, from West Hollywood to the Santa Monica Pier, there’s plenty of fun to be had exploring the boulevard.
Santa Monica Boulevard slices a horizontal line through the city, cutting through West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood, West Los Angeles, and Santa Monica. A drive down the boulevard is a great way to explore Los Angeles—and what better way to end any trip than to dip your feet in the Pacific at Santa Monica State Beach while you watch rollerbladers skate by on the boardwalk?
The cultural center of the street is its westbound terminus in West Hollywood. Here, the busy four-lane road becomes a walkable street full of fun shops, eclectic restaurants, and plenty of culture. Look for iconic Route 66 signs as well as neon artwork honoring the road’s rich history and outposts like Irv’s Burgers serving up delicious nostalgia. The Percent for Public Art initiative mandates that all new development include a form of public art (think sculptures, neon signs, and vibrant murals).
On the east end of the West Hollywood section sits Little Russia. Try the smoked fish and fresh blini from the local deli Kashtan, or unwind at Voda Spa’s traditional banya complete with a dry sauna and cold pool. The west end is the heart of Los Angeles’ vibrant LGBTQ neighborhood. Stop in for a drink at The Surly Goat or Saddle Ranch Chop House. During the day, take a moment to reflect along the West Hollywood Memorial Walk, which honors victims of HIV/AIDS. Rainbow flags and bronze plaques stand in quiet tribute.