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A guide to the Sunset Strip

Its days of debauchery and seedy rock clubs may be behind it, but the Sunset Strip is still home to worthwhile landmarks

Sunset Strip
Photograph: Courtesy Visit West Hollywood
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The Sunset Strip isn't exactly the center of counterculture it once was; seedy rock clubs have since become respectable music venues and sleazy party centers have given way to office buildings and high-end hotels. While we won't argue if the newer, cleaner version of the Strip is better or worse, it's certainly different and absolutely worth a visit. While its touristy landmarks aren't the only things to do in West Hollywood, no visit to WeHo would be complete without a stop on the Sunset Strip.

Starting on its western end and working our way east, these are the Sunset Strip's most iconic landmarks—plus a few lesser-known spots to grab something to eat and drink.

RECOMMENDED: See more in our guide to West Hollywood

What to see and do on the Sunset Strip

Shopping, Bookstores

Book Soup

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This long-standing indie book shop has been a staple amidst LA bookies since 1975. The variety of stock at Book Soup is huge and diverse (60,000 titles to be exact), even if the space itself is a little squeezed. It's also a regular stop on literary luminaries' book tours.

Eveleigh
Photograph: Courtesy Eveleigh
Restaurants, American

Eveleigh

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It's refreshing when a place comes along that doesn't know how the system works and opens a restaurant on the Strip that's actually really good. Brunch is a relaxed affair frequented by people who probably never visit the Strip at night. Most of the seating is outside, either on the front patio, which is covered in shaggy Astroturf, or the enclosed back terrace that offers views of the city.

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Restaurants, Contemporary American

The Church Key

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What makes this West Hollywood addition special is its delicious food and delightful quirks. The décor is so Restoration Hardware, it feels like you’ve just entered the loft of an E! TV personality; however, stick with it and you’ll find yourself snacking on pig ear “Cheetos” dim sum, sucking on alcoholic ice pops frozen right at your table by a Pan Am flight attendant, and having a ton of fun.

Sunset Plaza
Photograph: Courtesy Sarah K/Yelp
Shopping, Shopping centers

Sunset Plaza

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In the middle of the Sunset Strip, high-rises with building-sized billboards give way to two-story colonials and a shrub-filled median. Welcome to Sunset Plaza, a high-end shopping center plunked into the middle of Sunset Boulevard. In addition to cute cafes and pricey retailers, you'll find limited free parking behind the stores.

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Mel's Drive-In
Photograph: Courtesy Mel's Drive-In
Restaurants, Diners

Mel's Drive-In - West Hollywood

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This bright Googie icon once housed the rock-'n'-roll coffee shop hangout Ben Frank's. These days, you're more likely to find hungry late-night tourists scarfing down burgers and trying to spot celebrities, but that makes this 24/7 diner no less enjoyable.

Photograph: Courtesy Skybar
Bars, Hotel bars

SkyBar

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The rooftop bar that started it all, the Mondrian's Skybar still retains its secret Sunset Strip entryway, complete with dress to impress entry and nightlife cred—this is one of the rare poolside bars where people really do jump in after a night of cocktails. The crowd ranges from wide-eyed ingénues to aging Robert Evans types, but no matter where you fall in the spectrum, the Mexican-style oasis of flowering walls and gorgeous nooks win you over, especially with mojito in hand.

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Pink Dot
Photograph: Courtesy Edwin R/Yelp
Shopping, Grocery stores

Pink Dot

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This glorified grocery store has become something of a West Hollywood icon. We'll chalk that up to its polka-dot delivery vehicles and the ability to have vodka and deli meats dropped off at 3am. Sure, online delivery services have made Pink Dot somewhat less novel today, but we still have a soft spot for the almost-always-open store.

The Comedy Store
Photograph: Mike Dillon
Comedy, Comedy clubs

Comedy Store

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This dark, old-school comedy club is a must-visit just for the history alone. Three separate stages host a monstrous array of stand-ups more or less every night of the week. Sometimes the acts reek of comedic desperation, but that smell is never sweeter than in the place where it belongs. The show rooms are haunted by the ghosts of Sam Kinison, Richard Pryor and Andy Kaufman. Marc Maron was the door man here. 'Nuff said.

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Restaurants, Steakhouse

Saddle Ranch Chop House

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You could come here for everything from omelettes and pancakes to steaks and chops, but let's be honest: You come to Saddle Ranch for the mechanical bull rides and s’mores you roast yourself at one of the stone campfire pits.

Carney's Restaurant
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/
Restaurants, Hot dogs

Carney's Restaurant

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For those nights when only a chili dog served in a train car will do, there's Carney's. Since 1975, this Pacific Railroad passenger train has been serving up burgers and hot dogs that—with no disrespect to the cooks on the grill—are probably best enjoyed after a drunken night out on the Sunset Strip.

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