'WeHo' is an independent city within sprawling LA, writes Nicola Brady.
"But first, coffee". That's the slogan at Alfred (alfred.la), and you'll see it everywhere, from the neon signs on the walls to the coffee cups gripped by the annoyingly beautiful people pitching up for their morning brew. The tables on the patio outside are the place to be, and the coffee (or rose berry iced matcha, naturally) is exceptional.
Check out the neighbourhood on a cycling tour with Bikes and Hikes ($55; bikesandhikesla.com). You'll get your bearings and see the hipster stores along Melrose Avenue, breeze past farmers' markets and some of the typical 'Hollywood' sights. You'll also learn a little about the city's history (that's right - West Hollywood is its own city) from its renegade beginnings to its strong LGBT heritage.
Trying to fit in with the West Hollywood set? You'll want to go vegan - and at Gracias Madre (graciasmadreweho.com), you can do it in style. This plant-based Mexican restaurant doles out jackfruit tacos and spicy margaritas to a devoted crowd of movers and shakers. Get a seat on the patio, order the escabeche tostadas and try not to think about cheese.
Loosely bordered by Melrose Avenue, Robertson and Beverly Boulevards, the Design District (westhollywooddesigndistrict.com) is home to sleek architecture, chi-chi boutiques (Maxfield has some seriously high-end vintage) and interior stores. Head to the top floor of Restoration Hardware - their rooftop showroom is a public space and you'll always find people lounging on the luxe chaises and day-beds.
With outdoor fire pits, marble tabletops and terracotta floors, Conservatory (conservatoryweho.com) is the epitome of WeHo chic. And the food is exceptional - think crispy charred Brussels sprouts with zingy citrus breadcrumbs and pomegranate, and juicy roast chicken dripping with harissa butter. Afterwards, wander down to Salt & Straw (saltandstraw.com) for a scoop of their (quite frankly perfect) ice cream. There's always a line, but it moves quickly - get the sea salt with caramel ribbons and you can thank me later.
Fancy a tipple? The Hudson (thehudsonla.com) is a cool neighbourhood bar with a tree growing right through the middle of the room. Grab a seat at the bar, order a generous glass of rosé, sit back and and indulge in some top-notch people watching - the loud conversationalists in this town make it a paradise for eavesdroppers. It's a great spot for happy hour, so indulge in the menu of bar snacks like croque monsieur sticks and herb fries.
One of the newest hotels on the block, this is the latest offering from the environmentally conscious (and impossibly chic) 1 Hotels brand. With a location bang on Sunset, a stylish rooftop bar and rooms that nail the California casual aesthetic, this is the West Hollywood hotel of your dreams. You'll find yoga mats in the rooms, along with a selection of dreamily cosy sweatshirt bathrobes and super-snug woollen socks. Be sure to schedule a cocktail in Harriet's Rooftop Bar around sunset, so you can watch the city's lights flicker into life as you nurse a hibiscus punch. Rates start from €355. For more details, see 1hotels.com/west-hollywood.
If you want to spot a celeb in their natural habitat, your best chance of doing so is by getting up early (sorry) and hiking the Runyon Canyon. It's an absolute beaut of a trek - head out on the West Ridge Trail and you'll be rewarded with killer views (and quivering thighs). Walk the full length and you'll even pass by Mulholland Drive, and if you go on a Saturday you'll likely meet the gaggle of rescue dogs walked by volunteers (you can join in via Airbnb Experiences; airbnb.com). Afterwards, grab a freshly squeezed orange juice from one of the vendors by the entrance.
You wouldn't expect to find exceptional sushi in a seedy-looking strip mall on Sunset Boulevard. But Sushi Park (8539 Sunset Blvd) serves hands-down the best sushi I've ever eaten - made fresh in front of you, the rice is still warm and the presentation exquisite. You're not allowed to take pictures, and you won't find any California rolls on the menu, but it's all the better for it. It's a great spot for celebrity spotting, too…
Wander along Sunset Avenue and you'll find Book Soup (booksoup.com), an excellent indie store stuffed with an eclectic mix of titles you'll be desperate to read. Pick up a copy of 'LA by Mouth' by Mike Postalakis for an insider look at the city's foodie hot spots, and keep an eye out for special evening events, too - this spot attracts all the big-time writers as well as local authors.
Aer Lingus flies direct to Los Angeles from Dublin; aerlingus.com. West Hollywood is less than an hour's drive away. Nicola travelled as a guest of West Hollywood. See more at visitwesthollywood.com.
If you like this: Explore Downtown LA, which has undergone something of a renaissance over the last few years, with cool boutique hotels and some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles (we love Bestia and Grand Central Market). downtownla.com