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Stars in Los Angeles: Celebrity hangouts

'Where can I see stars in Los Angeles?' may be the No. 1 question Angelenos field from out-of-town guests. Our celebrity hangouts guide has the answer.

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. We give you: LA's top celebrity hangouts. Now... just act natural.

Brentwood Country Mart

Stars to scope out
Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart, Anthony Bourdain, Helen Hunt, Cheryl Hines, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Reese Witherspoon, Larry David, Heidi Klum

The scene: This posh, barn-themed retail village is a celeb-friendly spot for stars and their kids (and their kids’ nannies), who can be seen chatting and lunching (just like us!) on white picnic benches in two separate enclosed patios. Your luxe shopping (Jenni Kayne, James Perse, Sugar Paper) sipping (Caffe Luxxe), reading (Diesel) and dining (Farmshop) choices are accompanied by quirky home-spun extras like old-fashion kids’ mechanical rides, a beloved rotisserie chicken joint (Reddi Chick fries are legend), pony rides on Sundays and al fresco summer movies.

Insider tip: Be like your favorite momshell and avoid the mart on weekends between noon and 2pm when it’s jam-packed with local teens on lunch recess and parking is impossible. Weekdays, boldface names take power-breakfast meetings at Farmshop. Want to really look like a local? Two words: riding boots.

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Nobu Los Angeles

Stars to scope out
Eva Longoria, Tony Parker, Kim Kardashian, James Van Der Beek, Mary J Blige, Magic Johnson, Ellen Pompeo, Bradley Cooper, Renee Zellweger, Cindy Crawford, Jessica Simpson

The scene: Located up the street from Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s original Matsuhisa resto (he has some 18 outposts worldwide), Nobu Los Angeles may be the star sushi boss’s most glamorous venue (Robert DeNiro is a co-founder). Expect to rack up a hefty bill dining on fancy sashimi and signature dishes fit for the stars. Not to be outdone, the new Nobu Malibu location on PCH (it was previously in the Malibu Country Mart), offers sightings of the Malibu beach-home set (Courteney Cox, Halle Berry).

Insider tip: Contrary to popular belief, the bar scene at the LA outpost is usually for the touristy crowd. For real A-list action, request to be seated in the main dining room. If you get a chance, peek into the private dining rooms—one is located in the back to the right and the other can be seen in the center of the restaurant on your way to the restroom—for more celeb spotting.

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La Cienega


Stars to scope out
Jessica Alba, Forest Whitaker, President Obama, Conan O'Brien, Cindy Crawford, Gwyneth Paltrow, Diane Lane, Josh Brolin, Ari Emanuel

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.

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.

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WP24 by Wolfgang Puck

Stars to scope out
Kobe Bryant, Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Tyler Perry, Chris Pine, Michelle Pfeiffer, Billy Crystal

The scene: Wolfgang Puck does Chinese food—namely, new-age dumplings and other riffs on classics like spring rolls, Chinese chicken salad and Peking duck—on the 24th floor of Downtown’s Ritz-Carlton. The back dining room offers a more quiet and private dining experience than the sexy, dimly-lit lounge, but notable folks abound in both. A stone’s throw from Staples Center, Lakers players and their famous courtside stalkers celebrate (or commiserate) in the front lounge with an abbreviated menu of dumplings, sushi and fruity cocktails.

Insider tip: Scope out the scene here before and after Lakers, Clippers or Kings games and you're likely to spot A-list athletes (and potentially their also-A-list fans).

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Runyon Canyon

Stars to scope out
Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Matthew McConaughey, Hayden Panettiere, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Stiller

The scene: If you’re any type of voyeur at all, this is the place to be when it’s nice out (so, you know, always). See fit mamas and eligible bachelors breaking a sweat, usually in skimpy outfits. Celebs can be seen doing their most important work here—getting, and staying, in shape—with their favorite accessories, be those strollers, dogs, cell phones or hand weights.

Insider tip: If you’ve ever wanted to get within 15 feet of Ryan Gosling’s abs, stake out the trail and be patient. And hey, why not do some calisthenics while you wait?

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West Hollywood

Pizzeria Mozza

Stars to scope out
David Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Gordon Ramsay, Andre Ethier

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.

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.

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Los Angeles

M Cafe de Chaya

Stars to scope out
Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Alba, Eli Roth, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Garner

The scene: It’s no surprise to see celebs here—the food is über-healthy; the M stands for “macrobiotic”; stars are slaves to crazy diets. Watch actresses with enviable bods (Kate Bosworth, Jessica Alba) chow down on red quinoa, kale salads and seitan sammies.

Insider tip: If you can snag a table on the patio, you’ll be right next to the parking lot. In different circumstances this is less than ideal, but here you’ve got a great opportunity to be the first to see Reese in a set of new wheels.

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West Hollywood

Fig & Olive - Melrose Place

Stars to scope out
Victoria Beckham, Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling

The scene: This New York import, Mediterranean restaurant is deliciously dominated by olive oil—an olive oil flight begins the meal, is used throughout and serves as a finish over such desserts as refreshing apple sorbet. The sun-filled, lofty courtyard is a great lunch spot and a nice shopping break from all the Melrose boutiques, so be on the lookout for stars weighed down with shopping bags.

Insider tip: If the paparazzi’s out front, the celebs are out back—in the cozy atrium, of course.

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West Hollywood

Pacific Palisades Recreation Center

Stars to scope out
Adam Sandler, Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Chris O’Donnell, Carrie-Anne Moss, Taylor Hawkins, DB Sweeney, Sugar Ray Leonard

The scene: Behold the playgrounds and baseball fields of the stars. The grass is definitely greener at this expansive park in the 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. There’s even a restaurant in town called Mayberry, frequented by Jen & Ben, Billy Crystal and the like. Anyway, all those local celebs have kids. And a kid’s gotta play, right?

Insider tip: Sign your budding Matt Kemp up for Pony League baseball through the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association and let your little slugger have some fun while you cheer alongside A-list parents. No stalking, please.

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Pacific Palisades


Stars to scope out
Scott Speedman, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Alia Shawkat, Jane Lynch, Tobey Maguire, Olivia Wilde, Zachary Quinto, Drew Barrymore

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.

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.

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Silver Lake
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