Beverly Hills is a town that caters to the rich, but you don’t have to be a millionaire to spend a day like one. Put on a comfortable, yet chic pair of shoes and enjoy all of the over-the-top opulence and Old Hollywood charm that the 90210 has to offer.
Start the day off with breakfast at Nate n’ Al’s. The delicatessen is a bit pricier than an average establishment of its kind, but stick with the basics- a shortstack of buttermilk pancakes or a design-your-own omelet- and you should be able to leave without hurting too badly. There are very few places in Los Angeles that can pull off a ‘true blue’ New York vibe and Nate n’ Al’s is one of them. The waitresses can come off as a bit brash, but the service is quick and efficient and the food is tasty. If you don’t mind soup for breakfast, definitely try their matzo ball.
Spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon window shopping on Rodeo Drive. Popular spots include Gucci, Prada, Bulgari and Neiman Marcus. Channel your inner Julia Roberts and gawk at jewels in Tiffany’s or the high fashion at Chanel. Perhaps even treat yourself to a small something. I splurged on a $75 bottle of perfume at Yves Saint-Laurent a year ago – the bottle is still half full and I feel glamorous every time I put some on.
Before leaving this neck of the woods, swing by Sprinkles and pick up a cupcake or two to save for an afternoon snack. The cupcakes are huge and the best in town. Flavors vary daily and lines are often out the door.
All of the luxurious daydreaming might have you worn out and hungry, so head to the also chic Robertson Boulevard. Have lunch on the patio at the Ivy. The famous power lunch spot hasn’t changed much since it’s opening in the 1980s, but the floral prints and tuxedo-clad waiters make you wish you were having lunch with a studio head. The menu can be pricey, and the service encounters are a mixed bag, but the experience is worth it.
After lunch, check out the shops on Robertson (Kitson et al), or just people watch and enjoy your Sprinkles purchase. Celebrity sightings are frequent in this area, so keep your eyes peeled.
Next stop: Paley Center for Media (previously known as the Museum of Television and Radio). The major reason most people come is to access the Center’s international collection of more than 140,000 programs covering almost 100 years of radio and television history. While in the library, choose a program and watch it at a console (up to four people per console if you’re with friends). They also have screenings in the various theaters (anything from “Saturday Night Live” to concert performances). You could easily spend several days here and never make a dent in their collection.
Round out your day with a drink at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge where you will never meet friendlier valets. The “Pink Palace” has stayed true to its roots; once you walk into the hotel you will feel transported back to the days of Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. Your drink in the famed Lounge will be more than you expect, but it will also be strong enough so that you’ll get some bang for your buck. Lean back and enjoy the ambience.
You will definitely have to come back to Beverly Hills for another day of shopping and luxury, but for today feel satisfied in your day of excess.
What & Where:
Nate n Al’s (414 N. Beverly Drive; 310-274-0101)
Gucci (347 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-278-3451)
Prada (343 N. Rodeo Drive: 310-278-8661)
Bulgari (201 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-858-9216)
Neiman Marcus (Wilshire Boulevard; 310-550-5900)
Chanel (400 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-278-5500)
Tiffany’s (210 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-273-8880
Yves Saint Laurent (326 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-271-4110)
Sprinkles (9635 Little Santa Monica Boulevard)
Ivy (113 N. Robertson Boulevard; 310-274-8303)
Kitson (115 S. Robertson Boulevard; 310-859-2652)
Paley Center for Media (465 N. Beverly Drive; 310-786-1000)
Beverly Hills Hotel/Polo Lounge (9641 Sunset Boulevard; 310-276-2251)
A quick note about parking – while you can occasionally find street parking, a garage is usually your best bet. Parking rates aren’t too painful – usually around $7.00 for the day – and lots are everywhere.
Reservations strongly recommended for the Ivy.