The 5 Best Things To See in Beverly Hills

90210 is probably one of the most recognizable zip codes in the country. It is  not only home to the rich & famous, iconic tv shows & movies and some of the best shopping ever, Beverly Hills also has a rich history in Los Angeles. Like a lot of stars in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills came from  very humble beginnings.  That is, of course, if you can call a 4,500 acre ranch that was used to farm lima beans “humble”. That’s right, lima beans, right along what is known today as Wilshire Boulevard.  Before you can say “Norma Jean Baker”, developers eventually purchased the acreage , started a development and changed  over to the more glamourous name of “Beverly Hills”.  It truly became the place to be when celebrities starting moving in in the 1920’s. While here, there are definitely some places you should check out including:

Rodeo Drive

If you want the most elite shopping experience possible, you need to visit Rodeo Drive.  Known as an international fashion mecca, this two mile stretch houses such notable stores as Bulgari, Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Gucci, Harry Winston and Tiffany & Co. to name a few. Even if your wallet doesn’t allow you to purchase anything more than a cappuccino so you can sit and people watch, Rodeo Drive is a beautiful place to visit.

Greystone Mansion

You might recognize Greystone Mansion from some of your favorite films including: Star Trek 2, The Muppets, The Social Network,  The Prestige, Rockstar,  Spiderman, X-Men,  The Big Lebowski, Air Force One and Ghostbusters just to name a few. Built by the heir to one of the world’s greatest financial empires, Greystone mansion was originally built over 3 years to build at a cost over more than 3 million dollars (which in 1927 is equivalent  to roughly about $41 million today).It is called Greystone due to its abundant use of stone construction and its somber gray appearance. In addition to the Mansion, originally located on the grounds were stables and kennels, tennis  courts, a fire station, gatehouse, swimming pool and pavilion, a greenhouse, a lake, babbling brooks and cascading waterfalls. While the original owner was murdered inside the home by a close friend soon after the house was built, those that cared for it (including his widow) kept the structure intact. In recent years, it has been used for filming, weddings, photo shoots and the extremely popular Murder & Madness dinner theater performed there once a year.

 Beverly Gardens Park, featuring The Electric Fountain

Beverly Gardens Park is 22 blocks long and provides a green swath between the residential and commercial areas of Beverly Hills.  It has a two mile long jogging path, a recreation of the iconic Beverly Hills sign, beautiful trees and so much more. For fans of the movie Clueless,  you might remember the fountain that Cher was standing in front of when she realized that she was in love with Josh. That fountain is known as the Electric Fountain and it can be found in Beverly Gardens Park.  It is called the Electric Fountain due to the changing pattern of multi-colored lights at night.  The fountain, and statue were built as an homage to the founding of the city of Beverly Hills.

Spadena House

The Spadena House, also known as The Witch’s House is a storybook home first built in 1921. Designed by Hollywood art director, Harry Oliver, the house has a fanciful design that intentionally looks dilapidated and old.  The home has been said to be the “quintessential Hansel & Gretel house” and some say that it was a predecessor to what is known as “Imagineering”  over at the Walt Disney Company.  While this is a private residence, you can still drive by and look at this amazing piece of architecture and history.

Beverly Wilshire Hotel

We can’t talk about Beverly Hills without mentioning  one of its most famous Hotel properties. Serving as the primary filming location for “Pretty Woman”, The Beverly Wilshire Hotel was built in the 1920’s. Not only did Julia Roberts snag Richard Gere there, but the hotel is also featured in the show “Entourage”. It also served as a residence for Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty and John Lennon at various times. The structure itself, created in an Italian Renaissance Architecture style, is gorgeous and while updated to meet the times, you still feel like you are a part of history when you walk through its doors. Who knows, you may see one of your favorite stars when you are there!

 

There is so much to love about Beverly Hills. You can see all of these locations and more by booking your tour with LA Insider Tours.

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