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.

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Staples Center

Stars to scope out
 
Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Andy Garcia, David Beckham, Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Jack Black, Nicky Hilton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ciara, Rihanna, Terrell Owens, Tom Cruise, Gerard Butler, Antonio Banderas, Cameron Diaz, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen, Dyan Cannon

The scene: The abundance of A-listers that watch Lakers games makes this a celeb-spotting hot spot. Watch them snacking on popcorn and beer in their natural habitat.

Insider tip: It’s not that hard to see celebs in the 20,000-seat arena—just spot-check the pricey front-row seats. Next to the Lakers' bench, you'll find A-listers borrowing David Geffen’s two seats. Across from Jack Nicholson (who sits at half court) you'll see David Katzenberg with family and friends. A few rows behind Jack is funnyman Dustin Hoffman. Andy Garcia hangs out on the other side of the court in the third row.

Madeo Restaurant

Stars to scope out
 
Sofia Loren, Sophia Bush, Paris Hilton, Rumer Willis, Diane Kruger, Larry David, Kelis, Avril Lavigne, Heidi Klum, Seal, Rihanna, Denise Richards, Sofia Vergara, Jane Fonda, Lea Michele, Bruce Willis, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, Tom Cruise, Quentin Tarantino, Keanu Reeves, Benicio Del Toro

The scene: Stars and locals can't get enough of Madeo's authentic Northern Italian fare (the popular spaghetti Bolognese may just be the best in town). Expect a loud dining room with traditional decor—no unnecessary frills here, just jam-packed seats and an always-busy bar, making the focus of this restaurant the mouth-watering food—and the bigshots who eat it.

Insider tip: Skip the front room and head for the bar and back area, where celebs usually sit in large parties at round tables or cozied up in booths. A sure sign of a sighting? The paparazzi waiting outside under the green awning.

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (UCB)

Stars to scope out
 
Amy Poehler, Aubrey Plaza, Rob Corddry, Weird Al Yankovic, Thomas Sadoski, Jacob Pitts, Aisha Tyler, Josh Hutcherson

The scene: Many of our most beloved comedy stars got their start at this place (or at UCB’s original theater in New York), including Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Rec fame. The family is tight-knit here and, as in all improv communities, performers come in droves to support each other, whether the last theater they performed at held 10 or 10,000 people.

Insider tip: You’ll know without a doubt when a comedy icon is on stage, but UCB is great at keeping it under wraps when stars come just to watch. The theater is small, so it’s easy to spot celebs in the crowd. But just be cool and don’t stare (too much).

Four Seasons LA at Beverly Hills

Stars to scope out
 
Morgan Freeman, Katy Perry, John Mayer, Jessica Simpson, Enrique Iglesias, Jessica Alba, Jason Statham, Lauryn Hill, Kenny G

The scene: Super chic, yet free of pretension, the Four Seasons, tucked away on Doheny Drive, is a fave hideaway for pop stars on tour and a meeting mainstay for local celebs and their power brokers. See them primped and shiny in the outdoor patio at Culina restaurant at lunchtime, or hovering over eggs benedict at Sunday brunch. Hustler publisher Larry Flynt eats lunch here every day.

Insider tip: The Spa is mecca for Hollywood boldface names. Luxurious (and pricey) massages and facials are ever-popular, but so are the body-balancing energy treatments. Just need a mani/pedi? Ask for Genia. She's prettied up the paws of Hollywood’s most posh actresses.

Katana

Stars to scope out
 
Drake, Matt Kemp, Hayden Panettiere, LeBron James, Eva Longoria, Rachel McAdams, Britney Spears, Dr. Dre

The scene: Young Hollywood and tourists alike flock to this Japanese hot spot, perched high above the Sunset Strip, before hitting the nearby night clubs. The bandage-dress-wearing crowd is here, too, martinis in hand, always looking to hook up.

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.

Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel

  • Critics choice

Stars to scope out
 
Sean Penn, Mark Wahlberg, Annette Bening, Warren Beatty, Zac Efron, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian

The scene: The famed pink address has housed many stars in its bungalows—Elizabeth Taylor honeymooned here for six out of eight marriages—through the years. Now in its centennial, the hotel's famed restaurant/bar is still a power-lunch destination for Hollywood players who can be seen noshing on the McCarthy salad—a version of the Cobb with finely chopped beets—and crab cakes.

Insider tip: The preferred seat? A see-and-be-seen spot in the front banquettes.

Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi

Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi

Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi

Stars to scope out
 
Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, David Beckham, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Kate Capshaw, Steven Spielberg

The scene: Steps from the Pacific and tucked away in sleepy Pacific Palisades, this Italian eatery is the preferred hideout for celebs noshing by candlelight. The setting is simple and rustic; the food, hearty and comforting—homemade pastas are favorites—with a pricetag.

Insider tip: Power couples—Tom & Rita, Goldie & Kurt, Becks & Victoria—canoodle in the corner banquettes for romantic date nights.

Scarpetta at Montage Beverly Hills

Stars to scope out
 
Rihanna, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, Ashley Greene, Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka, Ryan Phillippe, Emma Roberts

The scene: Scarpetta is a natural habitat for celebs—Chef Scott Conant is somewhat of a celeb himself, appearing as the host of The Food Network’s “24 Hour Restaurant Battle” and as a judge on “Chopped.” His cooking pleases even the pickiest of celebrities, in part due to the flexible vegetarian menu.

Insider tip: Spring for valet and you might end up waiting for your Ford Focus next to a starlet waiting for her Bentley.

Rock and Reilly's

Stars to scope out
 
Zooey Deschanel, Chord Overstreet, Gerard Butler, Usher, Fred Durst, Darren Criss, Hilary Duff

The scene: On busy weeknights, stand side by side with plaid-wearing hipsters, whiskey-drinking women and musically-inclined celebs at this Irish pub located just steps from the Sunset Strip. Expect comfort food and lots of noise from the blaring TVs overhead. Locals fill in the narrow bar for the laid-back vibe and stiff pours.

Insider tip: Paying homage to its neighboring rock & roll locale, this watering hole is the perfect spot to experience spontaneous celebrity performances on Monday karaoke nights (Usher and the Wanted have taken stabs at the open mic). It never hurts to check the back patio—where the photo booth is always jam-packed—or the plush couches upstairs for some lingering stars.


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