Romantic, dramatic, with a whiff of the illicit and the shadows of the past … there’s never a dull moment in West Hollywood. A dirt road established in 1780 as a boulevard between the ocean and El Pueblo de Los Angeles would one day grow up to become a little piece of music and nightlife history called the Sunset Strip. Today, this densely-packed urban playground is still a heart valve of LA nightlife. It’s also home to the most thriving LGBTQ community in Los Angeles, a hub of activism and political engagement.
Acquiring its name on an unofficial basis in 1925, West Hollywood has never behaved itself. The town, which remained unincorporated until 1986, repeatedly resisted attempts to be annexed by the City of Los Angeles. In the 1920s it was a hotbed of gambling and casino activity, walking a fine line below the sightlines of the law when gambling was legal in Los Angeles County but illegal in the city.
Extravagant casinos and nightclubs ruled the roost until the 1960s, when hippie culture took West Hollywood by storm. The 1970s and 1980s also saw an influx of Russian Jews settling in West Hollywood after fleeing the Soviet Union, forming the largest Russian Jewish community outside of New York. The fast-living live music culture of the Sunset Strip produced such model citizens as Poison, Motley Crue, and Guns N’ Roses.
This tumultuous melting bot has left the incorporated city of West Hollywood one of the most diverse, dynamic, and exciting urban centers of Los Angeles County. Laid out on a grid, it’s easily walkable. Condos, townhomes, and single-family homes price just north of $1,000 per square foot, with a median listing price just north of $1.1 million.
From dive bars to gay bars, fine dining to coffee shops, the music and the mayhem … the energy and mystique of West Hollywood has no equal.
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