What Is Sunset Boulevard?
Sunset Boulevard is a major thoroughfare that runs from Pacific Palisades, through Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, and ends in Los Angeles. The 22-mile stretch follows the arc of mountains that form the northern boundary of the Los Angeles basis.
The most famous part is the Sunset Strip, a one-and-a-half-mile section of the boulevard that is home to nightclubs, restaurants, music venues, and boutiques. It also features an assortment of large colorful billboards.
In the 1920s, it was a haven for gamblers. Gambling was illegal in the city of Los Angeles, but legal in the unincorporated part of the county where Sunset Strip is located. Some of the more prominent restaurants and clubs were owned by Mickey Cohen and Bugsy Siegel, notorious gangsters.
In the 1980s, it was a place to catch up and coming rock bands. Motley Crue, Ratt, LA Guns, and Quiet Riot rose to fame after playing the club circuit. Today, it’s still a popular tourist destination and hotspot for nightlife.
The Sunset Strip has been featured in movies and TV shows, including 77 Sunset Strip, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and a fictionalized in the videogame Grand Theft Auto.
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Where is Sunset Boulevard?
Stretching from the Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, Sunset Boulevard winds eastward to Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles.
It encompasses parts of:
- Echo Park
- Silver Lake
- Los Feliz
- West Hollywood
- Beverly Hills
- Holmby Hills
- Brentwood, Bel-Air
In Bel-Air, Sunset Boulevard touches the north side of the Westwood campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, otherwise known as UCLA.
What Can I Do at Sunset Boulevard?
Driving Sunset Boulevard from the coast inland provides some great views of the ocean, cities, and mountains along the way. Cruising Sunset Boulevard is like a blast from the past with names you know whether you’ve ever been there or not.
Just a block off of Sunset Boulevard is The Troubadour, a small venue nightclub at 9081 N. Santa Monica Blvd. It’s featured performers such as Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Gun N’ Roses, Carole King, The Byrds, and James Taylor early in their careers and remains a hotspot for new and emerging artists.
Book Soup, at 8818 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, is the largest independent bookstore in the Los Angeles area with more than 60,000 books on hand, including limited editions. It’s a frequent stop for authors.
A favorite spot for tourists is Chateau Marmont, a hotel along the strip where actor James Dean jumped through a window and John Belushi died from a drug overdose. Driving Sunset Boulevard, you’ll also pass by Hollywood High School, which counts among its attendee’s such legends as Judy Garland, Cher, Carol Burnett, Laurence Fishburne, Mickey Rooney, Lana Turner, Stephanie Powers, and Lon Chaney.