Where can I see the stars in Los Angeles? This is likely the number one question Los Angeles natives field from out of town visitors. A trip to Los Angeles would not be complete without a little celebrity watching. Notables are just about everywhere, at all the times. For the most part, they are used to being stared at, photographed and even sometimes followed. However, if you want to avoid looking like a tourist we suggest you eat, shop, drink and play among the stars in their own element. So here are ten of the top celebrity hangouts in Los Angeles. Remember to just act natural.
Beautiful tile floors, beautiful people, and a beautiful foam flower atop your latte. This is no regular coffee shop! Everything from the decor to the patrons to the coffee itself is stylish at Intelligentsia in Silver Lake. No wonder celebrities feel at home here, either laying low behind big sunglasses and laptops or just relaxing on the patio.
Arrive early and have a seat at the coffee bar in the back, and set up your laptop so you can people-watch as everyone orders—even the most incognito stars won’t escape your view. Keep your eyes open and you might spot Scott Speedman, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Tobey Maguire, Olivia Wilde or even Drew Barrymore.
9. Nobu Los Angeles
Located just up the street from Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s original Matsuhisa Restaurant, Nobu Los Angeles may be the star sushi boss’s most glamorous location (Robert De Niro is a co-owner). The prices are high but you’ll be dining on fancy sashimi and signature dishes fit for royalty. Note: there is also his new Nobu Malibu location on Pacific Coast Highway which offers sightings of the Malibu beach-home set (names like Courteney Cox and Halle Berry often eat here). For those who wish to site true “A-list” celebrities, ask to be seated in the main dining room. If you get a chance, peek into the private dining rooms—one is located in the back to the right and the other can be seen in the center of the restaurant on your way to the restroom and you may just see Eva Longoria, Kim Kardashian, Mary J Blige, Magic Johnson, Ellen Pompeo, Bradley Cooper, Renee Zellweger, Cindy Crawford or Jessica Simpson, all of whom enjoy dining at the L.A location.
Pair Los Angeles’ chef Suzanne Goin with a posh Brentwood address and stars come flocking to this Westside restaurant. Celebs and their agents nosh on chopped chicken salads, burgers with fries or perhaps onion rings in the restaurant’s casual Blue Room lounge. If they are seeking something a little more formal there is the Atrium’s quiet back room, where the preferred seat is the back corner banquette. Everyone else—aka the rest of us—can channel the same superstar experience in the restaurant’s bakery/cafe, called the Larder. Get yourself some premade sides to go, like their popular farro salad. And unlike most of the Hollywood starlets watching their weight, don’t forget to check out the bakery for some luscious chocolate chip cookies. Famous faces who frequent Tavern include: Jessica Alba, Forest Whitaker, President Obama, Conan O’Brien, Cindy Crawford, Gwyneth Paltrow, Diane Lane, and Josh Brolin.
7. WP24 by Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Puck does Chinese food—namely, new-age dumplings and other variations on classics like spring rolls, Chinese chicken salad and Peking duck on the 24th floor of Downtown’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, hence the name– WP24. The back dining room offers a quieter and more private dining experience than the dimly-lit lounge, but notable folks can be spotted in both. A stone’s throw from the Staples Center, the L.A. Lakers players and their famous courtside celebrity fans join each other in the front lounge with an short menu of dumplings, sushi and fruity cocktails. Check out the scene here before and after Lakers, Clippers or Kings games and you’re likely to spot both A-list athletes as well as their A-list fans, such as: Kobe Bryant, Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Casey Affleck, Tyler Perry, Chris Pine, Michelle Pfeiffer and Billy Crystal.
6. Rock and Reilly’s
On busy weeknights, stand side by side with plaid-wearing hipsters, whiskey-drinking women and musically-inclined celebs at this Irish pub located just steps from the Sunset Strip. Expect comfort food and lots of noise from the blaring TVs overhead. Locals fill in the narrow bar for the laid-back vibe and stiff pours.
Paying homage to its neighboring rock & roll locale, this watering hole is the perfect spot to experience spontaneous celebrity performances on Monday karaoke nights (Usher and the Wanted have taken stabs at the open mic). It never hurts to check the back patio—where the photo booth is always jam-packed—or the plush couches upstairs for some lingering stars, like: Zooey Deschanel, Gerard Butler, Usher, Fred Durst, or Hilary Duff.
5. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (UCB)
Many of the most famous comedy stars got their start at this place (or at UCB’s original theater in New York), including Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza of “Parks and Recreation” fame. The group is a tight-knit clan and, as in all improv communities, performers come in droves to support each other, whether the last theater they performed at held 10 or 10,000 people. You’ll know without a doubt when a comedy icon is on stage, but UCB is great at keeping it under wraps when celebrities come just to watch. However, the theater is small, so it’s easy to spot stars in the crowd. Those who you might see here are: Amy Poehler and Aisha Tyler.
4. Fig & Olive – Melrose Place
This Mediterranean restaurant (which originated in New York) is deliciously dominated by olive oil—it begins the meal, is used throughout and serves as a finish over such desserts as refreshing apple sorbet. The sun-filled courtyard is a great lunch spot and a nice shopping break from the many Melrose boutiques, so be on the lookout for celebrities weighed down with shopping bags.
If the paparazzi’s are out front, the celebrities they seek are out back in the atrium. Some of the famous faces you might see are: Victoria Beckham, Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Ryan Gosling.
3. Pacific Palisades Recreation Center
This location is sort of the playground and baseball field of the stars. The grass is definitely greener at this expansive park, located in the Pacific Palisades, an exclusive beach-and-mountains area of Los Angeles. This is one of the places local celebrities with kids will frequent and take their children to play. Celebrities you may notice here are: Adam Sandler, Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Chris O’Donnell, Carrie-Anne Moss and Sugar Ray Leonard.
2. Runyon Canyon
This is a great place to be when the weather is nice which for the most part in Los Angeles is always. You’ll see fit women and eligible bachelors breaking a sweat, usually in skimpy outfits. Here, celebrities can be seen doing their most important work—getting, and staying, in shape—with their favorite accessories, be those strollers, dogs, cell phones or hand weights. If you’ve ever wanted to get within 15 feet of Ryan Gosling’s abs, stake out the trail and be patient. In addition to Gosling, look for the likes of Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Matthew McConaughey, Hayden Panettiere, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Ben Stiller to turn up in Runyon Canyon.
1. Brentwood Country Mart
This elegant, barn-themed retail village is a celebrity-friendly spot for stars and their children, who can be seen chatting and lunching on white picnic benches in two separate enclosed patios. Its luxury shopping here and the choices are accompanied by quirky home-spun extras like old-fashion kids’ mechanical rides, a rotisserie chicken restaurant (the “Reddi Chick” fries are legendary), and pony rides on Sundays.
Weekdays, many notables take power-breakfast meetings at Farmshop. Look for the likes of these names to show up here: Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart, Alessandra Ambrosio, Kate Beckinsale, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Reese Witherspoon, Larry David, and Heidi Klum.