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Swanky Parking Lot and Walking Tour
Despite the fact that you'll probably think you've driven into the entrance of a swanky hotel, this is just an ordinary parking lot. It's the perfect place to pretend you're one of the rich and possibly famous who reside in this upscale neighborhood. Get in the mood to spend some imaginary money, imagine living like a celebrity, and see why people go crazy when they hear the words Beverly Hills 90210.
The lot's entrance is On Dayton Way, north of its intersection with Rodeo Drive. Take the elevator up to Via Rodeo.
As you take this walking tour, you’ll get an idea of why people pay top dollar to live in this ritzy neighborhood. The homes are just as elaborate as the shopping center you’re about to see.
If you walk the entire route with no stops, it will take about an hour. Double that to allow time for taking photos and gawking around. And do remember to close your mouth every time your jaw drops in amazement.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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Rodeo Drive Sign
Start your tour at Beverly Hills' most iconic street: Rodeo Drive, at the end of a small street called Via Rodeo. Walk along the lane and away from Wilshire Boulevard.
Here's a little bit of trivia: the sign in this picture is cleverly designed to look like it's all at the same level when photographed from the sidewalk, but by the time you get to the end, turn around, and you'll see that it's a story above it.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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Anderton Court Shops
Take a moment to notice the Anderton Court Shops at 333 N. Rodeo Drive.
Although the center lacks the shopping options of the rest of street, it's a standout feature because it was designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. If you're a fan of Wright's work, you will notice the similarities between the tower here and the one at the Marin Civic Center, which he designed three years later. You can read more about them in this guide.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Shopping on Rodeo Drive
Continue walking on Rodeo Drive toward Santa Monica Boulevard.
You'll need a shopping bag even bigger than the one this guy is carrying if you shop 'til you drop on Rodeo Drive. Famous name shops along this short street range from Armani and Valentino to Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Dior to name a few.
Rodeo Drive is the place to be if you're pretending to window shop while you're really trying to spot movie stars. Use this guide to find out more about it in detail. You can visit Rodeo Drive and more during your weekend getaway to Beverly Hills.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Bijan, the World's Most Expensive Store
Bijan is at 420 N. Rodeo Drive. Although we can't confirm it, we've seen plenty of claims that this shop is the most expensive in the world, owned by Iranian-American menswear and fragrances designer Bijan Pakzad.
According to website Seeing Stars, the average customer spends $100,000 at a time. We can only say for sure that the sign on the door says it's open by appointment only. And the Roll Royce parked out front is eye-catching, to say the least.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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Cupcake Fix at Sprinkles "ATM"
If you're feeling peckish, continue to South Santa Monica Boulevard. Turn left and walk three blocks to Sprinkles at 9635 S Santa Monica Blvd. You could go inside and order, but it's a lot more fun to grab a cupcake from the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. By the time you finish your mini-walkathon through Beverly Hills, you'll certainly deserve it.
This contraption makes me laugh every time I see it, but if you need a cupcake fix, it's there for you day and night. It works more or less like an ATM: You swipe your card and make some selections on the touchscreen. But what comes out isn't cash, it's a cupcake, nestled in a cute little box. You can even order one for your dog.
I always wonder what the little elves behind the screen are doing...Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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Before that cupcake-fueled sugar rush wears off, head east toward City Hall at 455 N Rexford Drive. You might wonder why you should to see a government building, but this one is gorgeous enough to make it worth the trip, with a beautiful tiled dome atop a tall tower. When it was built in 1932, the Los Angeles Times called it the "largest and most expensive City Hall of any municipality its size in the country."
City Hall shows up as the police department building in the in the Beverly Hills Cop films.
If you're a fan of midcentury Googie architecture, don't miss the space age-style canopy at the Union 76 gas station nearby at the corner of Crescent Drive and Little Santa Monica Blvd.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Palm Trees on Canon Drive
If you don't want to walk the extra half hour to see a bit of how people live in Beverly Hills, set your GPS to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and skip to the end of this tour.
To keep walking, cross Santa Monica Boulevard and turn into the neighborhood at Canon Drive. If you want an address for your GPS, use 526 N. Canon Drive, which is at the corner of Canon and Carmelita Ave. This street will remind you of the opening scene of The Beverly Hillbillies, with the Clampett family driving down it in their rickety old car.
The palm tree backdrop is the perfect place to snap your, "Vacationing in California #ilovelosangeles" photo to share with friends and family back home.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Typical Beverly Hills House
As you walk through the neighborhood, you'll see a lot of very posh-looking Beverly Hills houses. There is no "typical" house in the neighborhood. They were each individually designed and built. This one is the Spanish style popular in the early twentieth century.
To see the Witch's House, turn left onto Carmelita toward 416 N. Walden Avenue.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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It's called the Witch's House because...well, wouldn't you expect a beak-nosed woman with white hair and green skin to answer that door?
Built in 1921 for a film, this house was seen in several silent movies and moved to Beverly Hills in 1926. It is now a private home, located at 516 N. Walden Ave. Would you knock on this homeowner's door on Halloween?
To get back to where you started, stop by the so-called Electric Fountain at the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica. Walk through the park that parallels Santa Monica Boulevard to North Roxbury Drive, then turn right to cross Santa Monica. Keep walking to Wilshire Blvd, then turn left toward the Pretty Woman hotel.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Pretty Woman Hotel (Beverly Wilshire)
By now, you may have run up a credit card bill that could make a rhinoceros faint. Keep going, and you’ll eventually end up back at Wilshire and Rodeo, where you'll find the popular Beverly Wilshire Hotel, also known as the Pretty Woman hotel.
In the film Pretty Woman, Richard Gere's character Edward Lewis spends some time in this hotel with a hooker named Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts). The awning color changes every few years - they were red when the film was made. The shop where Vivian was snubbed is Boulmiche, which is nearby at 9501 Santa Monica Blvd.
This hotel, preferred by many celebrities, was also a filming location for the television series Entourage, and was featured in such movies as Sex and the City: The Movie, Valentine's Day, and Escape from the Planet of the Apes to name a few.
If your budget doesn't allow for a night or two at the Wilshire, you can stop in for a drink or afternoon tea. If you want to spend the night, here are some tips on how to find the... best place to stay in Beverly Hills.Continue to 12 of 12 below.
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Seeing the Stars' Homes
It's no surprise that many visitors make it a point to go to Beverly Hills with the hopes of seeing celebrities, and map-sellers like the cheerful guy above want to help... well, kind of.
Take it from me, the maps he's hawking are less than accurate. I bought one and tried it, then went home and did some research. At best, the map may lead you to places where stars used to live. At the worst, it may be totally wrong.
To get a look at more Beverly Hills neighborhoods with a tour guide who really knows their stuff, meet the Beverly Hills Trolley at Rodeo Drive and Payton. A small fee is charged and their hours are on their website. This tour is more fun and informative than the sometimes-schlocky tours that leave from Hollywood Boulevard and less expensive, too.
If you want to see a celebrity while you're in LA, use this guide which includes 10 Sure Ways to See a Movie Star in Hollywood and LA.
You can also find more star-studded locations by heading to Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.