Sunset strip is a two-mile long strip that runs along Sunset Boulevard at the border with Hollywood, from Crescent Heights Boulevard to Doheny Drive. Along the way, you’ll find all of West Hollywood’s chic restaurants, swinging nightclubs, and boutique hotels, which all first appeared back in the 1920s when the road was the main route between the movie studios in Hollywood and the luxury homes of the stars in the west. The strip declined, however, with the demise of the studio star system and when the studios moved out of Hollywood. In the 1960s and 70s, the strip saw a revival when it became stocked with hip nightclubs. Today, Sunset Strip has transitioned into a more fashionable area, home to more entertainment industry executives than even Beverly Hills.
One of the noticeable things about Sunset Strip are the gigantic billboards, commercial animated and bright-colored murals, and movie ads with massive letters – all permitted by municipal policy.
Chateau Marmont Hotel
The Chateau Marmont Hotel at 8221 Sunset Boulevard is an enormous Norman castle along the strip worth visiting. Built in 1927 as a luxury apartment complex, its block of concrete has been a favorite Hollywood residence, esteemed for its private suites and bungalows. Its most famous resident was the aviator, Howard Hughes, who used to rent the entire penthouse to keep an eye on the beautiful girls around the pool. The complex also made headlines in 1982 when comedian John Belushi overdosed on heroin in one of the bungalows.
Whisky a Go Go
Whisky a Go Go at 8901 Sunset Boulevard is a famous nightclub in West Hollywood that is touted as the country’s first real disco when it opened in 1947. Its heyday was the 1960s when it was a popular and happening scene, hosting seminal rock bands like Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Who, and Love. The club is noted for inventing the concept of Go-Go dancers, girls dancing in suspended cages, which became a national craze and phenomenon in 1966 when the Miracles recorded the song “Going to a Go-Go”. During this period, many franchises of Whisky a Go Go sprang up all over the country. Whisky a Go Go is also credited for ushering other musical trends, spurring the transition from rock to punk music and then subsequently from punk to heavy metal.
In the 1980s, when the punk rock scene died, the club was closed briefly. It re-opened in 1986 and became a venue rented by up-and-coming bands and their promoters. Again, it rose to prominence hosting seminal hard rock and metal bands like Metallica and Guns N’ Roses in the late 1980s. In the 1990s, it hosted the new era of grunge with bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden playing at the joint. Today, the club continues to rent out its facilities to new bands looking to promote themselves.
Sunset Hyatt at 8401 Sunset Boulevard is the famous hotel where the actor in Stand by Me, River Phoenix, overdosed. This upscale hotel is also known for its hallways where The Who and Led Zeppelin demonstrated their wild excesses in the 1970s, racing motorcycles up and down.
Dickey, Jeff. Los Angeles, 3rd Edition. Rough Guides, 2003. ISBN: 1843530589.
“Whisky a Go Go.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisky_a_go_go>
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