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MAY 8, 2012

LAMH in Travel Video News

West LA: Where Über Culture Meets Urban Chic

West Los Angeles, which stretches from the Miracle Mile to Brentwood, is an oasis of culture paired with chic, urban perks. A wealth of amenities, including world-class museums, chic shopping areas and chef-driven restaurants, are in store.

The Miracle Mile is home to several of LA’s top museums, all within walking distance of one another. Among them is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), one of nation’s top art institutions. Since it opened in 1965, the museum has grown into a 20-acre campus that exhibits 100,000 objects dating from ancient times to the present. Seven buildings house rotating exhibits and a permanent collection that includes works of all media from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. The campus is in the midst of a 10-year expansion known as the Transformation, designed by celebrated architect Renzo Piano. Already open are the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, featuring post-war works, and the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, with a rotating selection of major exhibitions.

Adjacent to LACMA is the Page Museum/La Brea Tar Pits, a working laboratory where paleontologists uncover the remains of Ice-Age mammals like mastodons and saber-toothed cats from actual tar pits, where these creatures met their ends 11,000 years ago. Inside the Page Museum, you can watch as they clean, reconstruct and examine the fossils.

Across Wilshire Boulevard, the Petersen Automotive Museum is unmistakable, with decorative elements on its façade that resemble giant fins from a classic car. The museum’s lifelike dioramas feature more than 150 vehicles, including rare and classic cars, racecars, concept cars, celebrity and movie cars, trucks, and motorcycles. It also features the history of the automobile, as well as auto design and technology.

The nearby Craft and Folk Art Museum was founded by the late Edith R. Wylie, who was self-described as “a chronic enthusiast of indigenous art.” The art tells stories via original exhibitions, workshops, lectures and community events. Works have included photographs of contemporary Iran, solar ovens, and L.A.’s Asian-Latin fusion.

After a day of museum-stomping, it’s time to relax in one the more than 92,000 hotel and motel rooms throughout LA. The boutique Hotel Wilshire houses 74 of these rooms and is located in the heart of the Miracle Mile district. The hotel has a rooftop pool, restaurant and bar, featuring stunning city views, as well as modern amenities.

And for dining, you can head back to LACMA, where Ray’s and Stark Bar opened in the expansive, central BP Pavilion last year. Esquire magazine named this Mediterranean restaurant, with its adjacent, al fresco bar, “one of the best new restaurants of 2011.” Or drive north just a few miles and dine at an LA institution, Campanile. This 20-year-old restaurant in a rustic setting serves California fare with a menu that changes daily. Adjacent is the original La Brea Bakery, specializing in artisan breads.

The Original Farmers Market/The Grove

There are many farmers’ markets throughout LA, but The Original Farmers Market is at Third and Fairfax, walking distance from the Miracle Mile. It all started in 1934, when18 local farmers gathered at that intersection and sold produce from the backs of their trucks. Today, it boasts more than 100 boutiques, specialty food shops, produce stands, butchers and restaurants, including a few retail outlets and eateries in the newer North Market. Stroll through the stalls and shops in the open-air market and treat yourself to a scoop of freshly made cabernet sauvignon sorbet or pumpkin ice cream from Bennett’s Ice Cream; buy a decorative, non-leaded candle at By Candlelight; or savor a glass of wine and artisan cheese at Monsieur Marcel wine bar and gourmet market.

In 2002, The Grove, an open-air shopping, dining and entertainment mecca, opened next door to the Farmers Market. Built to resemble a Tuscan village, The Grove is anchored by Nordstrom and an art-deco multiplex cinema and features dozens of shops, from Abercrombie & Fitch to UGG Australia. Attracting more than 18 million visitors a year from around the world, The Grove has become a tourist haven because of its central fountain, which dances to music, and a vintage-style, double-decker trolley that runs between The Grove and Farmers Market. On weekdays, the entertainment news show “Extra!” with Mario Lopez is filmed live on The Grove’s cobblestone streets. And if you want to savor the cuisine, as well as the scene, there are several restaurants offering indoor and al fresco dining, like The Farm of Beverly Hills, which offers its own spin on American comfort food with items like Dill Pickle Fried Chicken and Truffle Mac & Cheese.

Just north of The Grove, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, the nation’s oldest Holocaust museum, exhibits artifacts from survivors of Nazi concentration camps. Its interactive audio and video exhibits depict the Holocaust era and the worldwide effort by non-Jews to save Jewish lives.

If you’re looking for a unique place to stay, The Farmer’s Daughter Hotel across the street from The Grove offers a country cool retreat in the middle of LA’s urban scene, with 66 rooms and Tart restaurant.

West 3rd Street/Beverly Center

Go west on 3rd Street from Farmers Market, and you’ll find an area that attracts LA hipsters, young families and the arts crowd. The street is lined with one-of-a-kind boutiques, like Polkadots and Moonbeams, selling vintage clothing and accessories; Kristin Londgren, specializing in cocktail-length, bias-cut dresses with soft draping; and Milk, featuring fashionable clothing for the family.

Bordering the west side of West 3rd Street is the Beverly Center. This indoor shopping emporium includes 160 specialty boutiques and restaurants reflecting the diverse styles and tastes of Los Angeles, including those of celebrities, who often shop there, sometimes unnoticed. Anchored by Bloomingdale’s and two Macy’s stores, the Center also offers brand-name stores like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and True Religion Brand Jeans.

Along the way, you’ll find some of the City’s hippest hotels. For example, The Orlando, a European-style boutique hotel, recently completed a $6 million facelift. In 2006, the Sofitel Los Angeles completed a $35 million transformation mixing European sophistication with the energetic pulse of Hollywood by the award-winning design team of George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg. The hotel now features Simon LA restaurant by Chef Kerry Simon, offering a Hollywood take on American comfort food. And the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, a Luxury Collection Hotel adjacent to Beverly Hills, is the first of that brand to open. SLS stands for style, luxury and service, and this hotel has it all. Its sixth-floor pool deck has two pools, private cabanas and a pool concierge; and its onsite restaurant, The Bazaar by James Beard Award-winning Chef Jose Andres features innovative delicacies.

But West Third is a walking street, and you might want to try some of its standalone eateries. For example, you can get breakfast all day at Toast Bakery and Café. At Joan’s on Third, you can dine in a deli type atmosphere and buy tapenades, fancy deli meats, hard-to-find cheeses, breads and pastries at the restaurant’s Gourmet Marketplace. And The Little Next Door offers healthful organic indulgences using local ingredients.

Century City

Once a backlot for 20th Century Fox (now Fox Studios, which is still in operation nearby), Century City is a 176-acre “city within a city” with high-rise office towers, residential properties and an upscale, open-air shopping mall.

Tucked among these urban structures is the Annenberg Space for Photography, located on the former site of the Shubert Theatre. The intimate museum, which offers free admission and features an interior design influenced by the workings of a camera, is dedicated to the exhibition of print and digital photography with rotating exhibits by renowned masters.

Century City’s two main hotels are the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza and the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City, both located on Avenue of the Stars. The Hyatt, with its distinctive curved main structure, originally opened in the 1960s and hosted many celebrities and dignitaries. Its award-winning Breeze Restaurant serves locally sourced California cuisine and also offers a sushi bar and vegan selections. The InterContinental Los Angeles Century City is a newer luxury hotel with 361 rooms, a spa with Zen-inspired villas, and the casually elegant Park Grill, serving globally inspired California cuisine.

Some of the best shopping in the City is at the Westfield Century City, an outdoor plaza with 111 stores, including designer stores like Armani Exchange, Coach and Kenneth Cole. Anchored by Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, it also features a multiplex cinema. Dining includes upscale casual restaurants, such as RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen, featuring cuisines from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and India. Other options include a dining terrace and specialty food shops.

Westwood

Westwood is best known as home to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the adjacent Westwood Village. UCLA is one of the country’s top educational institutions, but it goes way beyond that, with museums, a sculpture garden and landmark architecture in and around the campus. For example, its Royce Hall performance venue features a façade inspired by a Milan basilica. It is the main venue for UCLA Live, one of LA’s most varied programs of dance, music, spoken word and experimental theater. UCLA’s five -acre Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden is among the finest in the country, with more than 70 major works by famous sculptors, including Matisse, Moore and Noguchi. The campus’ seven-acre Mildred Mathias Botanical Garden is home to more than 5,000 species of tropical and subtropical plants from around the world. The Fowler Museum features works from Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific.

Adjacent to the south end of the campus lies Westwood Village, with dozens of restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, shops and movie theaters, all within a few blocks of one another in a quaint yet urban village setting. The UCLA Hammer Museum features a permanent collection with works by such noted artists as Rembrandt, Cézanne and Gauguin. For live theater, the Geffen Playhouse features classic plays, new works and musicals, and world and West Coast premieres.

Westwood has two hotels: Hotel Palomar, a chic hotel with 264 guestrooms, celebrates art in motion pictures with glamorous decor. It’s a Kimpton hotel, and its chef-driven BLVD 16 restaurant serves farm-to-table California cuisine by Chef Richard Hodge. The W Los Angeles-Westwood, located on a quiet, residential street, features 258 modern rooms. It features a pool lined with lavish cabanas, Bliss Spa, Whisky Blue by bar magnate Rande Gerber, and NineThirty restaurant, serving California cuisine in a cozy environment.

Restaurants abound in Westwood Village and beyond. One of the oldest is Matteo’s Restaurant, which opened in 1963. This Italian favorite was once frequented by Frank Sinatra and the other members of the Rat Pack. Other eateries include Yamato, serving Japanese pub food, and Palomino, with a rustic, European menu. South of Wilshire Boulevard, the area known as Little Persia features restaurants serving authentic ethnic food.

Bel Air/Brentwood

The Bel Air and Brentwood neighborhoods are home to some of LA’s wealthiest residents and grandest mansions. But the grandest structure, which sits atop a hill overlooking the City, is the Getty Center. The Center is an art mecca with galleries, a garden, a café and research facilities. The collection includes paintings by masters such as van Gogh, Cézanne and Monet, as well as photographs, decorative arts, drawings, sculptures and other works of art.

Nearby is one of the world’s most dynamic Jewish cultural institutions, the Skirball Cultural Center, which traces the experiences and accomplishments of the Jewish people for more than 4,000 years with multimedia installations, rare artifacts, photographs, interactive computer stations and sound recordings.

Among the hotels in this area is the 103-room Hotel Bel-Air, A Dorchester Collection Hotel, which reopened in 2011 after a major transformation. Set in a luxury residential area in the hills of Bel Air, the award-winning hotel originally opened in 1946 and became a hideaway for the rich and famous. Among the new amenities is a Wolfgang Puck restaurant serving farm-to-table, California cuisine. Tucked into lower lying hills to the west is the 160-room Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, an urban retreat on seven acres at the intersection on Brentwood and Bel Air. On Sunset @ Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel restaurant features seasonal California fare with a French accent. And the Hotel Angeleno, a Joie de Vivre hotel, offers 208 rooms in a cylindrical tower. Each room has a private balcony and views. There’s also a heated, outdoor pool with a fireplace and West Restaurant and Lounge, which offers 200-degree views of LA.

High-end shopping and upscale casual dining can be found in Brentwood Village, with dozens of independently owned and operated stores and restaurants, as well as major chains. You can also find services like nail salons, yoga studios and pet grooming there.

About The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board is a private, nonprofit business association whose primary mission is to market and promote Los Angeles as the premier site for leisure travel, meetings and conventions. Though not part of City government, Los Angeles Tourism is recognized as the City’s official tourism marketing organization.

For more information, visit the official visitor information website of Los Angeles at www.discoverLosAngeles.com

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Los Angeles International Pow Wow is supported by the following Premiere Partners: Brand USA, Los Angeles World Airports, and Visit California. The Premiere Event sponsors are Cirque du Soleil, Hollywood & Highland and Universal Studios Hollywood. The Platinum sponsors are The GRAMMY Museum, LA Waterfront, Metro, and Wolfgang Puck Catering.

The Gold sponsors are Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau, CityPASS, Coach America, DFS, Downtown Business Improvement District, The Grove, Hollywood Entertainment District, Merlin Entertainments Group, Miles Marketing Destinations, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Original Farmers Market, Palm Springs Desert Resort Communities CVA, Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau, Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film Commission, Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau, Starline Tours & Tour Coach Charters, Temecula Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the West Hollywood Marketing & Visitors Bureau. The Silver sponsors are Beverly Center, The Capital Grille, Citadel Outlets, City of Santa Clarita, Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Malibu Family Wines, Premium Outlets, and Visit Mendocino County. The Bronze sponsors are da Vinci Villa, El Monte RV, Integrated Transportation Services, and Japanese Assistance Network.

Original article can be found here: http://www.travelvideo.tv/news/united-states-west/05-08-2012/west-la-where-uber-culture-meets-urban-chic