West Hollywood is not a place to see things (like museums or movie studios) as much as it is a place to do things—like go to a nightclub, eat at a world-famous restaurant, or attend an art gallery opening. Since the end of Prohibition, the Sunset Strip has been Hollywood's nighttime playground, where stars headed to such glamorous nightclubs as the Trocadero, the Mocambo, and Ciro's. It’s still going strong, with clubgoers lining up outside well-established spots like the House of Blues and paparazzi staking out the member-only Soho House. But hedonism isn't all that drives West Hollywood. Also thriving is an important interior-design and art-gallery trade exemplified by the Cesar Pelli-designed Pacific Design Center.

West Hollywood has emerged as one of the most progressive cities in Southern California. It's also one of the most gay-friendly cities anywhere, with a third of its population estimated to be either gay or lesbian. Its annual Gay Pride Parade is one of the largest in the nation, drawing tens of thousands of participants each June.

The three-block stretch of Wilshire Boulevard known as Museum Row, east of Fairfax Avenue, racks up five intriguing museums and a prehistoric tar pit to boot. Only a few blocks away are the historic Farmers Market and The Grove shopping mall, a great place to people-watch over breakfast.