Sometimes in Los Angeles we play this weird game where we try to anoint single city blocks as the next big thing or pass off entire built-for-cars stretches of streets as a cozy neighborhood.
So we’ll admit we were initially slightly dubious when we saw that our readers overwhelming selected Sunset Boulevard as L.A.’s coolest street. As part of the annual Time Out Index, we asked readers around the globe to let us know what they love (and, sure, possibly even hate) about life in their cities. When it came to picking the coolest street, consensus among polled Angelenos seemed a little too obvious at first—there’s certainly nothing under-the-radar about one of city’s most iconic arteries. But we were converted the more we thought about it.
There was just one sticking point: Which part of the 22-mile-long street is the coolest? Maybe our mind’s been warped by L.A.’s weird normalization of cross-town commutes, but to us there was only one answer: All of it. You can call it a cop-out, but no other single street captures everything that makes L.A. L.A. quite like Sunset.
Sunset rises from the surf and sand to hug the meditative retreat of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. The street then rambles along the lush greenery that guards houses in zip codes most of us can only dream about: Pacific Palisades, Holmby Hills, the Flats of Beverly Hills (plus a detour along the edge of UCLA’s campus).
But then the street bursts to life through a canyon of building-sized billboards as it enters the always-awake Sunset Strip. Yes, much of it’s awash in clubby, influencer-bait spots, but it also boasts the reenergized Roxy Theatre, the nearly half-century-old Book Soup, Postmates precursor Pink Dot, staggeringly good stand-up lineups at the Comedy Store and almost century-old recipes at Greenblatt’s Deli.
As it continues east into Hollywood, Sunset feels like a microcosm of the neighborhood: an In-N-Out where you’re sure to come away with a good story after a certain hour, legitimate gems like Gwen and Delicious Pizza, the ghosts of Amoeba and the Cinerama Dome, and the bright lights of the Palladium. On both sides of the 101, a pair of events-forward coworking spaces, NeueHouse and Second Home respectively, have added more reasons for the general public to flock to the revived and still-expanding media district.
Further east, Sunset straddles the edge of Thai Town, past casual newcomer Northern Thai Food Club, strip mall staple Pa Ord and absolute legend Jitlada, into Little Armenia, where garlic sauce salvation awaits at the first Zankou Chicken location.
Move along the outskirts of a Frank Lloyd Wright house, a hospital and a certain sci-fi author’s big blue campus and you’ll just briefly cross into Los Feliz, by the single-screen gem the Vista and tropical dive Tiki-Ti, before the street curves toward boho Silver Lake standbys and spots that leave a unique impression: queer lounge Akbar, flamenco dinner theater El Cid, the history-paving Black Cat, the polka-dotted farmers’ market at Sunset Triangle Plaza and darling diner All Day Baby, to name just a few.
Then casual Echo Park hangouts mingle with a street scene that’s lined with taqueros and Dodgers fans (not mutually exclusive groups). Bookstores like Stories and the Time Travel Mart coexist with overstuffed game day dives, and there’s a tipple in town for everyone: Thoughtful cocktails? Bar Flores. Vegan shakes? Monty’s. Small-batch brews? Sunset Beer. Sake? OTOTO.
But wait, there’s more—sort of. Though Sunset technically ends just on the other side of the 110, it continues on as Cesar Chavez Avenue, past the gateway to Chinatown, at one end of Olvera Street and Union Station, across the River and into Boyle Heights, where you’ll encounter a whole other street’s worth of panaderias and taquerias.