Beverly Hills, California, a small city of just 5.7 square miles, is completely surrounded by the City of Los Angeles, except for a one-mile border to the east that it shares with the city of West Hollywood. Given its size, there aren't as many attractions as some other areas, but there is enough to do in the famous 90210 zip code to fill up some leisurely days. The best-known activities are shopping, dining, taking trolley tours of elegant neighborhoods, and enjoying the city's many luxury hotels. Spa and beauty treatments and plastic surgery are also popular activities for visitors to Beverly Hills. If these things aren't in your budget, gawking at the designer stores and million-dollar mansions is free.
If people only do one thing in Beverly Hills, it's usually taking a drive on the most exclusive three blocks of shopping in Southern California: Rodeo Drive between Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard. Here you'll find luxurious showrooms from the top designers in the world.
If you have time to get out and walk around, Two Rodeo Drive is a European-themed cobblestone street at Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard and is a great spot for snapping some selfies. Check out The Rodeo Drive Walk of Style, a series of sidewalk plaques featuring quotes and signatures commemorating style leaders in fashion and entertainment.
Peruse The Paley Center for Media
For classic TV fans, The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills (there is also one in New York) is a treasure trove of costumes, set pieces, memorabilia exhibits, and video footage of more than 150,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs. On a quiet day, you can spend hours at a computer terminal watching classic television on demand, from forgotten black and white soaps to early cartoons or 1980s sitcoms. In addition, you can view a variety of programs in the Paley Center theaters. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the center also offers guided tours and great live panel discussions with current television actors and creators, which you can attend in person or watch streamed online.
The Beverly Hills Trolley tour can give you a quick overview of the city in about 40 minutes, including shopping areas, historic landmarks, and architectural highlights. Plus you'll see celebrity homes and hear stories about the rich and famous as you cruise through fancy neighborhoods. Tours in open-air trolleys (the ride is canceled if it rains) run every hour on weekends all year, with additional days during the summer and winter holiday seasons. As part of the Christmas season, you'll receive a visit from Mrs. Claus, who breaks into some storytelling.
The Robinson Estate—the first luxury estate built in Beverly Hills in 1911 by Virginia and Harry Robinson of Robinson department stores—is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The six-acre property behind the Beverly Hills Hotel includes the mansion, pool pavilion, and lovely gardens. When Virginia Robinson died in 1977 at the age of 99, she left the estate to Los Angeles County. The Virginia Robinson Gardens are managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation along with the non-profit Friends of Robinson Gardens.
Approximately 90-minute tours of the mansion and garden are available by reservation only (they are closed Saturdays and Sundays); tours are often booked several weeks in advance.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the body that gives out the Academy Awards every year. The Grand Lobby on the ground floor of its headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard has rotating exhibits, and the fourth floor has a small gallery open to the public that's filled with movie-related exhibits. The Academy also hosts periodic movie screenings and other public events.
Plans are underway for The Academy Museum to open in 2020, which aims to be an immersive institution dedicated to the art and science of movies.
Explore the Enormous Greystone Mansion
Greystone Mansion was built by oil heir Edward “Ned” Laurence Doheny, Jr. and his wife Lucy in the late 1920s. The 55-room house cost over $1.2 million and included a bowling alley, movie theater, billiards room, and quarters for 15 servants. Doheny was tragically murdered in his home just five months after moving in. After his widow sold the estate in 1956, it was used as a private event venue and filming location until the city of Beverly Hills acquired it in 1965. The grounds are now a public park, while the Greystone Mansion is still used as an event venue and filming location.
The park is open to the public daily, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Portions of the park may be restricted during weddings and special events, especially on weekends.
Rain or shine, there is fun to be had every Sunday at the certified Beverly Hills Farmers' Market—where visitors find over 60 farm stalls with fresh produce, along with specialty items. Vendors with prepared foods like tamales and French crepes are on hand as well. The outdoor event features live musical entertainment for all ages and children's activities at the Kid's Zone, such as pony rides, a petting zoo, and crafts.
Beverly Gardens Park is a narrow 1.9 mile-stretch of green along 23 blocks of Santa Monica Boulevard running the entire length of Beverly Hills. It is home to the iconic 40-foot long illuminated Beverly Hills sign, located between North Canon Drive and North Beverly Drive. The park also features a rose garden, a cactus garden, and a large collection of public art installations like the Wilshire Electric Fountain. Beverly Gardens Park is a good spot for a jog or walk along the paths.
On the third weekend of May and October, look for the well-attended annual Beverly Hills artShow at the park.
The Spanish Renaissance structure known as the Beverly Hills City Hall—with a main entrance on North Rexford Drive facing the Beverly Hills Public Library—is one of the most recognizable and beloved landmarks in the city, created by architect William Gage in 1932. Its tiled dome and cupola have been featured in many movies and TV shows. City Hall was renovated in 1982, and the Civic Center was added in 1990 in a complementary architectural style.