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Los Angeles:
Experiencing the "Sunset Strip"

While in Los Angeles, you have to visit the Sunset Strip at night. This is the live entertainment centre of Los Angeles, and one big party on any warm or weekend night.

It was no surprise that when Dave Chappelle chose to emerge from seclusion on June 2, 2005, Dave decided on a surprise appearance at the Comedy Store on the Strip.

For generations, the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood has been one of America's most interesting streets.

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The Viper Room

The strip itself is sacred ground. The comedian John Belushi died here, as did River Phoenix in front of Johnny Depp's Viper Room at 8852 Sunset, an interesting hangout of local glitterati.

In a previous incarnation of 8852, mobster to the stars and founder of modern Las Vegas Bugsy Siegel hung out at this same address. Jim Morrison started his rapid slide toward death along the Sunset Strip, too. "Live fast and die young" seems to be a lifestyle for some here.

On weekend evenings, a fast lane Sunset is not, but you'll enjoy being in a traffic jam with this lively crowd. Seeing all the fancy cars—many convertibles—alone is worth the visit.

The Comedy Store

The Comedy Store, 8433 Sunset, just beyond the Hyatt on Sunset, on the right, is one of the oldest comedy clubs in the nation. In the group improv room (The club offers both stand alone and group comedy), Dr. Voyageur once saw Robin Williams rise out of the audience and convulse the room.

As you saw with Dave Chappelle, the tradition is for even established comics to appear at the Comedy Store and other small local venues, and local audiences benefit immensely.

Most want to hone new material and show appreciation to the audiences that helped them gain fame; others like Chappelle just want to show that they're okay.

A lawless legacy

What Sunset Strip and Hollywood area music clubs are most "in" can be best found out by contemporary local word of mouth, as no guidebook can keep up with the frequent changes. Some of the best in L.A. are always near the Strip, which gained a free-wheeling reputation over the years by not being part of the City of Los Angeles.

Outside of the jurisdiction of the more puritanical (at least in those days) L.A.P.D. police, who were far less inclined to accept bribes, Strip club owners offered illegal gambling and prostitution reigned.

Those days are gone, but the Strip retains a wild flavour.

Although the Strip itself is predominatly "hetro," this section of Sunset Boulevard is in the largely gay run city of West Hollywood.

Reaching the Sunset Strip

From the Hollywood and Highland complex—another must see—on Hollywood Boulevard, head south on Highland Avenue.

Immediately after Hollywood High School on your right, turn right onto Sunset Boulevard.

The Sunset Strip entertainment area begins where Sunset Boulevard begins to curve and ascend up a hill from Hollywood, west of Highland Avenue.

You'll notice huge billboards advertising new music talent as you go up the hill.

Continuing to Beverly Hills

The Sunset Strip ends when Sunset Boulevard crosses into Beverly Hills and becomes a residential boulevard, where the lights dim.

At this point turn left onto any street, and go down a block, then left again, then left again, and go back up to Sunset.

Turn right on Sunset and drive to La Cienega Boulevard, a few blocks east.

Turn right on La Cienega and head down the hill. This portion of La Cienega, called "Restaurant Row" for the large and popular dining spots that line it, is also home to various music clubs.

When you reach Wilshire Boulevard, turn right and continue to the heart of Beverly Hills.

For more L.A. at night:

Go to >> L.A. at night
Go to >> Canter's Deli
Go to >> Hollywood Boulevard
Go to >> Beverly Hills
Go to >> Century City
Go to >> Westwood Village and UCLA

For additional L.A. information:

Go to >> Introduction to your visit
Go to >> Off the beaten track L.A.
Go to >> Disneyland
Go to >> Links to the most useful information

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