West LA, Los Angeles Travel Guide
West Los Angeles Summary
- Merciless traffic and difficult parking
- Far from downtown, Universal Studios, Griffith Park, and the San Fernando Valley
- Many hotels offer only valet parking, often $30 a night.
- Bland, strip-mall-lined boulevards are anything but picturesque.
What It's Like
A large slice of the even bigger sprawl that is Los Angeles, what we are calling the westside is a conglomerate of city neighborhoods that includes Brentwood, Westwood, West L.A., and Century City. Though certain areas are wealthy, the area is, by virtue of its size, necessarily diverse in population and offerings.
Brentwood, a wealthy residential neighborhood west of Interstate 405, has one of the city's premier attractions in the Getty Center, the $1.3 billion museum and research center designed by Richard Meier to house J. Paul Getty's huge collection of American and European art.
Westwood is dominated by UCLA, whose campus sprawls across the neighborhood. Also in this part of town is Westwood Village, a shopping and dining district popular, of course, with students.
Nondescript West L.A., a neighborhood confusingly named for its westside location, has little to offer tourists. The same is true of Century City, a business district best known outside of Los Angeles as the home of Fox Plaza -- better known as Nakatomi Plaza in the original Die Hard.
Where To Stay
Hotels on the westside unfortunately tend toward the drab. Foreign tourists on package tours fill rooms at West L.A. properties like the Crowne Plaza, while business travelers with meetings in Century City make up most of the clientele at cookie-cutter properties like the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
Westwood, with hotels like the W Los Angeles - Westwood, is popular with guest that have a connection to UCLA, the major draw of the neighborhood. Predominantly residential Brentwood has a few hotels like the Luxe on Sunset and the Hotel Angelino that are very close to the Getty Center but a good drive from the rest of L.A.'s attractions.