A trip to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a little celebrity spotting. Stars in LA are practically everywhere, all the time, and for the most part, they’re used to being gawked at. But if you want to avoid looking like a tourist (we're talking to you, Star Tours bus riders!), we suggest you eat, shop, drink and play among the stars in their natural habitats—a mix of attractions and restaurants and bars (make your reservations now). We give you: LA's top celebrity hangouts. Now... just act natural.
The Scene: Housed in the former United Artists building, the hotel pays homage to LA's essence—a seamless harmony of California minimalism and downtown LA's signature art deco style. Inside, the hotel has exposed concrete galore with sleek fixtures and furniture, plus a bar and restaurant that are destination enough for locals.
The Celebrities: Anna Kendrick, Aloe Blacc, Lykke Li, Jennifer Lawrence, Sky Ferreira, Matt Damon
Insider Tip: Head to the hotel's rooftop bar for a swanky scene of hipsters, musicians, models and designers. The best time to go is following a musical performance at the Theatre at Ace Hotel.
The Scene: The famous pink stucco façade, the manicured grounds and the sumptuous rooms of the Beverly Hills Hotel look as fresh and fanciful as they did on opening day 100 years ago. It oozes exclusivity: every screen legend from Valentino to Arnie has slept in this fabled hideaway or held court in its still-popular Polo Lounge. The biggest draw are the bungalows, where Liz Taylor spent six of her honey-moons: No.5 has its own pool; No.7 is decorated to Marilyn's taste.
The Celebrities: Kim Kardashian, Harry Styles, Tia Mowry, Tamera Mowry, Michael Douglas, Nicole Kidman, Warren Beatty
Insider Tip: If lunch at the iconic Polo Lounge is too expensive, walk the grounds of the hotel (check out the poolside restaurant), or just sit in the lobby—you're bound to spot a few stars on their way in or out of the hotel.
The Scene: This barn-themed retail village features luxe shopping (Jenni Kayne, James Perse, Sugar Paper) sipping (Caffe Luxxe) and dining (Farmshop and Sweet Rose Creamery) amid such quirky touches as old-fashion kids’ mechanical rides, picnic benches in two separate enclosed patios, pony rides on Sundays and al fresco summer movies.
The Celebrities: Reese Witherspoon, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Alessandra Ambrosio
Insider Tip: Brentwood is a family-oriented LA nabe, so head to the Westside hot spot during the day. From grabbing a morning coffee at Caffe Luxxe to afterschool lunch at Farmshop with kids in tow or shopping at celebrity-loved brands such as Christian Louboutin and Broken English, you will definitely see stars at this old-fashioned country mart.
The Scene: One of the many beautiful things about this Hollywood Hills fixture is that it's barely changed over the decades. The hotel still attracts the brazen and the beautiful (everyone from Led Zeppelin to Lindsay Lohan has stayed here; John Belushi OD-ed in bungalow 3); it still offers a quintessentially glamorous LA experience; and it still promises its guests absolute discretion.
The Celebrities: James Franco, Lady Gaga, Kit Harington, Lana Del Rey, Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan
Insider Tip: Expect to spot a crowd of paperazzi at this LA institution. If heading here during the day, dine on the patio at the hotel's main restaurant and keep your eyes open. Just remember the hotel's "no photography" policy.
The Scene: Disneyland isn't so much a park as its own separate world; there are even three Disney-operated hotels in the resort, so you need not have the illusion shattered at the end of the day. It's worth noting, though, that ticket prices drop if you visit for multiple days, recommended if you want to get a real feel for the place and enjoy all the rides.
The Celebrities: John Stamos, Halle Berry, Dave Grohl, Victoria Beckham, Megan Fox, Holly Madison
Insider Tip: Keep an eye out for personal Disneyland tour guides (wearing plaid) usually accompanying celebs and their families.
The Scene: From the fragrant, flower-filled lobby to the immaculate rooms, which come with chinoiserie headboards and Frette linens, every detail is calculated to spoil visitors. The revamped pool area features a state-of-the-art gym and the lovely shaded Cabana café. Other major draws include the superb spa and Culina, the ground-floor modern Italian restaurant and crudo bar.
The Celebrities: Jessica Chastain, Zoe Saldana, Lea Michele, Orlando Bloom, Morgan Freeman, Jason Statham, Katy Perry, Lauryn Hill
Insider Tip: Make a reservation at Culina for lunch or dinner. You're bound to see an A-lister every time you visit the hotel's swanky restaurant.
The Scene: This quaint Hollywood neighborhood features some of the best places to spot celebs. Head to the Upright Citizens Brigade theatre (UCB) for an improv show—many of our most beloved comedy stars got their start here. Then head to dinner at La Poubelle and later, stop by Birds for a nightcap. Both spots, especially the former, a romantic French bistro, are swarming with celebrities.
The Celebrities: Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Justin Long, Amanda Seyfried, Robert Pattinson, Amy Poehler, Aubrey Plaza, Weird Al Yankovic, Josh Hutcherson
Insider Tip: If you recognize someone famous in the audience at UCB, chances are they will be at Birds or La Poubelle afterwards.
The Scene: This elite and quietly decadent Mission-style '20s hotel, a deamy getaway on 12 fairytale acres of lush landscaping, reopened in 2011 after a major two-year overhaul. The additions—which include new lofts and hillside suites, a La Prairie spa and fitness center, plus upgraded room features—are impressive, but thankfully the overall vibe hasn't changed much: Guests still enjoy spending long afternoons by the pool, meandering through the gardens or subtly trying to spot which Hollywood player is sitting at the next table in the Wolfgang Puck restaurant.
The Celebrities: Beyonce, Jay Z, a few Real Housewives and of course, Wolfgang Puck
Insider Tip: A must-try spot to see celebrities is dining Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel Air. The alcoves along the back wall are hidden from the rest of the tables, so be sure to walk by ever so discretely.
The Scene: The bequest of entrepreneur Henry E Huntington is now one of the most enjoyable attractions in the Los Angeles region. It's also not a destination that you should attempt to explore in full during a single day: between the art, the library holdings and the spreadeagled outdoor spaces, there's plenty to see, and most of it is best enjoyed at lingering leisure rather than as part of a mad day-long dash.
The Celebrities: Ron Howard, Gwen Stefani, Vanessa Hudgens, Austin Butler
Insider Tip: The property is massive so be prepared to walk on your hunt to see celebrities. You will mainly find stars roaming the beautiful gardens.
The Scene: As Malibu's main hub, this casual outdoor shopping and dining center attracts a mix of both locals grabbing lunch in wetsuits, celebrities pretending they don't want to be seen and tourists who stroll through after a day at the beach. Make sure to also check out the adjacent Malibu Lumber Yard, a virtual extension of the Country Mart, with additional shopping and dining options.
The Celebrities: Justin Beiber, Kate Beckinsale, Pierce Brosnan, Cindy Crawford, Pink, Simon Cowell, Rosie Huntington-Whitley, Pamela Anderson, the Kardashians and the Jenners
Insider Tip: Celebrity loved spots include dining at Cafe Habana and watching their youngsters at the mart's playground.
The Scene: A beautiful park in quaint Pacific Palisades, a beach-and-mountains-close ’hood that exudes a Mayberry R.F.D.–style charm—if Andy and Aunt Bee had lived in a multimillion-dollar Craftsman home on the bluffs. Baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts, and a large sandy kids' playground make this a favorite playspot for local tots and their nannies.
The Celebrities: Adam Sandler, Taylor Hawkins, Sugar Ray Leonard, Harrison Ford, Chris O'Donnell, Ray Liotta
Insider Tip: Grab food from one of the beachy town's many eateries and set up a people-watching picnic at this neighborhood park.
The Scene: This 160-acre park at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains has one main loop, plus a bevy of dirt hiking trails. It's also got one of the friendliest off-leash dog policies. The sea of buff trainers and their sleek, sweaty clients can get to be too much during the busy morning and weekend workout traffic, but you'll be rewarded with some of the best views of the city (and, if you're lucky, a chance to gawk at power-walking celebs). The southern entrance is at the end of Fuller Avenue in Hollywood; the northern entrance is off the 7300 block of Mulholland Drive.
The Celebrities: Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Charlize Theron, Matthew Morrison, Ashley Tisdale, Hayden Panettiere
Insider Tip: Celebs are typically wearing baseball caps and sunglasses. You might want to wear your own dark glasses to give you extra time to stare down the person hiking next to you.
The Scene: Best known as home turf for the Lakers and Clippers basketball teams and the Kings hockey team, Downtown's sports shrine also hosts big musical concerts. Though it's plush and modern, the sound quality in the 20,000-capacity arena is surprisingly variable.
The Celebrities: David Beckham, Denzel Washington, Adam Levine, Anthony Kiedis, Jack Nicholson, Floyd Mayweather, Billy Crystal
Insider Tip: Look for celebrities just before the end of the first half, as they will be leaving their seats to go to the VIP-access-only Chairman's Room, where there's a bar and free popcorn and snacks.
The Scene: Brainchild of fitness gurus FOX NFL insider Jay Glazer, former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, and Olympic volleyball player Lindsey Berg, West Hollywood’s Unbreakable Performance center offers high intensity bootcamps and fitness training for those ready to break a sweat.
The Celebrities: Armie Hammer, Michael Strahan, Forest Whitaker, Clay Matthews
Insider Tip: Sign up for an intense calorie-burning workout at this private gym and you may just be training next to an actor or sports star. Why not get in shape while you're at it?
The Scene: Without a doubt, Los Angeles has eternal bragging rights when it comes to its phenomenal farmers' markets. These seasonal markets are where the best restaurants in LA buy their produce, where you can indulge in your love for cheap eats with endless sampling.
The Celebrities: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Naomi Watts, Fergie, Josh Duhamel, Liev Schreiber, Pete Wentz, Hilary Duff, Gavin Rossdale, Gwen Stefani, Chris Hemsworth
Insider Tip: The Hollywood and Brentwood locations on Sundays are prime celeb-spotting locales. Look for stars in hoods, hats, and sunglasses, strolling alongside their families.
The Scene: Both of these beautifully designed locations feel almost like vegan Eden, full of a cheerful wait staff, diners with perfect postures and glowing skin and dishes that are affirmations themselves, so you will have to declare, "I Am Thriving," to order the soup of the day. It's true: When the server takes your order, they will ask you, “What are you grateful for today?" and you will feel compelled to answer.
The Celebrities: Zoe Saldana, Anne Hathaway, Ariana Grande, Joe Jonas, Mandy Moore, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rashida Jones, Emily Blunt
Insider Tip: All locations at this vegan hot spot (Larchmont, Venice and Downtown) serve up dishes of gratitude to local celebs. The restaurant group also owns Gracias Madre, another popular spot among the A-list crowd.
The Scene: This SFV institution has served families, groups, the after-work crowd and date-night couples since 1956. The dimly lit space spans a main front bar and two separate dining rooms. Spread out on red leather banquettes and dig into Tex-Mex favorites such as sizzling fajitas, queso fundido and Mexican pizza. Open late until 1am, the eatery also guarantees a good time.
The Celebrities: Ryan Seacrest, Selena Gomez, Chris Evans, Kate Hudson
Insider Tip: The restaurant gets super dark at night and you may have a hard time seeing people across the room. Check the back booths and try to do a walk around if possible.
The Scene: LA's flagship location of Fig & Olive appropriately bespatters each dish with a healthy deluge of specialty olive oil. Their fresh and flavorful menu, paired with bright, modern atmosphere make this West Hollywood eatery an 8,000 square foot delight. A two-story dining area, tasting bar and cocktail lounge occupy Fig & Olive's sprawling space, providing a fitting evironment for both intimate dinners and large scale affairs.
The Celebrities: Victoria Beckham, Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling
Insider Tip: If the paparazzi’s out front, the celebs are out back—in the cozy atrium, of course.
The Scene: Pack in with the beautiful people at this Abbot Kinney hot spot. There's always a wait—and a snooty hostess to boot—but the scene is buzzing and the food, excellent. Order plates to share—you can't go wrong with any of the seasonal vegetables and pizzas baked in the wood-burning oven.
The Celebrities: Ian Somerhalder, Julia Roberts, Jessica Simpson, Olivia Wilde, Bradley Cooper, Reese Witherspoon
Insider Tip: Snag a seat on the back patio for weekend brunch, where most celebs will be dining. Follow your meal with a stroll down laid-back Abbot Kinney, where you could see more A-listers, especially during the day.
The Scene: This Pacific Coast Highway-facing trattoria has welcomed everyone from Tom Hanks to Bill Clinton to Tom Cruise, and once you've sampled the kitchen's fresh pastsa dishes like the agnolotti with corn and white truffle sauce, you'll understand why.
The Celebrities: Rihanna, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Kate Capshaw, Steven Spielberg
Insider Tip: Look for power couples—Tom & Rita, Goldie & Kurt, Beckham & Posh Spice—canoodle in the corner banquettes for romantic date nights.
The Scene: Beautiful iconic tile floors, beautiful people, beautiful foam flower atop your latte. Everything from the decor to the patrons to the coffee itself is stylish at Silver Lake's Intelligentsia. No wonder Eastside notables feel at home here, either laying low behind big sunglasses and laptops or peacocking on the patio. True to its hipster-haven location, the talent here tends to be more alternative—think: actors from quirky cult favorites such as Arrested Development or The Dictator.
The Celebrities: Scott Speedman, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Alia Shawkat, Jane Lynch, Tobey Maguire, Olivia Wilde, Zachary Quinto, Drew Barrymore
Insider Tip: Arrive early, grab a seat at the coffee bar in the back, and set up your laptop so you can people-watch as everyone orders—even the most incognito stars won’t escape your POV.
The Scene: This über-trendy yet friendly café-deli is not only a great place to stock up on supplies for an impromptu picnic, but it's also a lovely spot for a sit-down breakfast or lunch. Prices are on the high side, but the food is beautifully prepared. Don't leave without a cupcake—or two.
The Celebrities: Gerard Butler, Nikki Reed, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Nicole Richie, Kate Bosworth, Jared Leto, Selena Gomez, Jake Gyllenhaal
Insider Tip: While the best seats in the house may be on the front patio for prime people watching on W. 3rd Street, the celebs are usually inside (if you're lucky, at a communal table) being camera-shy.
The Scene: Katana is a beautiful Japanese restaurant serving Robata, a form of Japanese tapas, traditional sushi, specialty rolls and a unique variety of Japanese cuisine. Dine al fresco and lounge on the patio sitting above the Sunset Strip.
The Celebrities: Drake, Matt Kemp, Hayden Panettiere, LeBron James, Eva Longoria, Rachel McAdams, Britney Spears, Dr. Dre
Insider Tip: Request to sit on the front patio, where rappers, NBA athletes and pop stars can be seen nibbling on sushi and Robata (Japanese tapas), surrounded by their entourages.
The Scene: Since opening in 2008, this popular neighborhood joint, younger brother of 60-year-old Dominick's in West Hollywood, has stayed crammed with hipsters, young families and celebs alike. The ricotta and blueberry pancakes are absurdly good, while the three-course Monday-night supper for $15 is a steal.
The Celebrities: January Jones, Busy Philipps, Rachel Bilson, Charlize Theron, Adrian Grenier, Chloe Sevigny, Katherine Heigl, Jon Hamm, Conan O'Brien, Jason Segal, Michelle Williams
Insider Tip: The small dog-friendly patio is where you are sure to find a few celebrities with their friends and pups in tow.
The Scene: Pass the paparazzi out front for exquisite (and pricey) authentic Northern Italian fare. This bustling hideout remains a hotspot for industry power players from starlets to studio head honchos. Expect a wait at the crowded bar before being seated at crammed tables. Order from the nightly specials or go for the mouth-watering, popular spaghetti bolognese, which may just be the best in town. Adding to the charm, the owner makes a point to stop by each table and greet his patrons—celebritiy or not—in Italian (even if you don’t understand a word).
The Celebrities: Sophia Loren, Sidney Poitier, Ricky Gervais, Doc Rivers, Michelle Rodriguez, Larry David, Lisa Kudrow, Romeo, Piers Morgan, Don Rickles
Insider Tip: If there is paparazzi out front, there is someone inside. The restaurant is hardly ever running on time, so show up early for your reservations and hang out at the bar, until your table is ready, for prime people watching.
The Scene: Sleek, sexy, gorgeous—Nobu Los Angeles embodies most of the clientele that walks through its doors on La Cienega. But the restaurant isn't just a vapid visage; it has substance, too, like its oustanding Japanese fusion cuisine, like the Wagu gyoza, Kaba ribeye and fresh sushi and sashimi. Start your evening off with a trip to the elegant bar, where you can enjoy crafted libations while taking in the stunning decor. If you're on the Westside, the Malibu oceanfront location is one not to miss as well.
The Celebrities: Drake, Pau Gasol, Natalie Portman, Eva Longoria, Justin Beiber, Mary J. Blige, Renee Zellweger, Hayden Panettiere, Megan Fox
Insider Tip: At the sprawling location in the 'Bu, check the patio during the day or the small room in the back for celebrities. At the Los Angeles location, there's a private room in the back to the right of the sushi bar as well as a curtained-off room that you could pass on your way to the restrooms.
The Scene: This semi-casual Italian restaurant (next door to the fancier Osteria Mozza) draws crowds who love to see and be seen as much as they love a good plate of gnocchi or loaf of olive oil bread. The best part about celeb sightings here is, they’re actually eating! It’s a testament to the deliciousness of the fare, which means that even if you don’t see any stars, you’ll still thoroughly enjoy the meal.
The Celebrities: David Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Gordon Ramsay, Andre Ethier
Insider Tip: The space is small and the tables are close together, so come as a twosome to get seated quickly—and potentially elbow-to-elbow with a celeb.
The Scene: Pair the city’s beloved chef Suzanne Goin with a posh Brentwood address and stars come flocking to this Westside Cal-Med restaurant (the grandest of Goin’s empire). Celebs and their agents nosh on chopped chicken salads and burgers and fries (yes fries, and even onion rings!) in the restaurant’s casual Blue Room lounge, or in the Atrium’s more formal and quiet back room, where the preferred seat is the back corner banquette.
The Celebrities: President Obama, Jessica Alba, Forest Whitaker, Cindy Crawford, Gwyneth Paltrow, Diane Lane, Josh Brolin, Ari Emanuel
Insider Tip: Everyone else—aka us—can channel the same superstar experience in a pinch (and on the cheap) at the restaurant’s bakery/cafe, the Larder. Grab premade sides to go—farro salad is a fave. And unlike Hollywood starlets, don’t forget to raid the bakery for chocolate chip cookies.
The Scene: Urth has four locations around Los Angeles, but this one is the starlets' hangout of choice (you may even have seen it on Entourage). The focus is on the organic coffees, teas and vegan desserts, but the real point of interest is the collection of minor, medium and occasionally major celebrities who dine here…and the paparazzi parked outside to document their caffeine habits.
The Celebrities: Mylie Cyrus, Malin Akerman, Kylie Jenner, Ashley Tisdale, Joe Jonas, Minka Kelly, Katie Holmes, Jessica Alba, Emma Watson, Amanda Seyfried, Jake Gyllenhaal, Shenae Grimes, Ashley Benson, Ashley Greene
Insider Tip: The jam-packed cafe is a place to see and be seen, especially sitting on the patio that overlooks Melrose Avenue. Watch celebs come and go with their matcha green tea lattes, cups of joe, and ice-blended boba drinks.