West Hollywood has never lacked for gay tourists – after all, that is a rainbow print crosswalk you see on Santa Monica Boulevard. But not every place in town needs a big rainbow flag in front to be gay-friendly or to be a place you’d love to check out while on vacation. So when you’re done with the Abbey, might we suggest one of these neighborhood spots?
Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Avenue
If you think A Single Man is the greatest movie ever made, indulge your inner Tom Ford with a trip to this design showroom. The huge, airy space has showrooms from brands like Ralph Lauren Home, Baccarat, Jacuzzi, and Terra Firma so that you can finally find the Art Deco light fixtures of your dreams. However, the Center itself is worth visiting even if you can’t fit a steampunk chandelier in your suitcase. There’s a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, a film center, and regularly changing art installations.
9041 Sunset Boulevard (inside Talesai restaurant)
Most people hear “Sunset Strip” and think of rock clubs and expensive bars. But Night Market – a food “pop-up” housed inside a Thai restaurant – is helping change that perception. Based on the concept of “aharn klam lao,” or “food for drinking,” this innovative restaurant makes the perfect late-night drunk food. The menu changes, but you can expect a healthy dose of spices on dishes like sriracha chicken wings, curried crab, and fatty hog collar.
8375 West 3rd Street
This lovely independent bookstore (it’s on the border of West Hollywood and L.A. proper, but details shmetails) has survived the Barnes & Nobles of the world by focusing on one subject and doing it really, really well. They only sell books related to travel, which includes traditional guidebooks and maps as well as journals, cookbooks from around the globe, and the occasional cute travel accessory. Head here when you need to daydream about your next getaway, whether it’s a romantic weekend away or a screw-it-I’m-quitting-my-job Eat Pray Love journey.
8575 Santa Monica Boulevard
WeHo is about being seen, and it’s also about late-night eats for party-loving insomniacs. Kitchen 24 combines both of these beautifully. They serve a 24-hour breakfast and have daily cupcake specials (cinnamon swirl, people – get on it). For the post-work crowd, the happy hour drink specials have names like Citrus Mistress, Fire Island, and I’ll Have What She’s Having. Spoiler alert: she’s having a heavy pour.
West Hollywood Public Library
625 North San Vicente Boulevard
Books are great. But books are even greater when paired with beautiful architecture, art from Shepard Fairey and Kenny Scharf, free wireless, and – yes, it’s true – tennis courts on the roof. The library may not have giant rainbow flags out front, but it does offer an impressive LGBT section and the Ron Shipton HIV Center, which has books, DVDs, and other information related to HIV and AIDS awareness, research, and prevention.