There are three main areas to star spot on your LA holiday – West Hollywood, Malibu and Beverly Hills, where the stars shop, eat and talk movie deals.
You’re unlikely to see any celebrities in Hollywood itself unless they’re attending the Oscars or a premiere at the Kodak Theatre or Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Bvd. If you’re lucky, you might catch one getting their handprints cemented on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (I watched Jennifer Aniston plant her mitts in wet cement).
You’re much more likely to run into celebs just going about their business, shopping at Erewon or WholeFoods or eating at their favourite restaurants.
Australian DJ Grant Smillie who owns trendy EP & LP restaurant and rooftop bar with partners David Combes and Axel of Swedish House Mafia, has seen a number of famous faces line up for its modern Oz take on Thai food – something that’s a bit of a novelty for Tinseltown residents.
“Matt Damon had his birthday party with us on the roof. We've had everyone from the Game of Thrones cast to Al Pacino, Ryan Seacrest, Chloe Kardashian, rapper AS$P Rocky and Taylor Swift”, says Smillie.
The rooftop bar is one of LA’s trendiest nightspots but you’ll have to make it past the doorman to get a coveted spot there.
I have seen Olivia Wilde shopping at Whole Foods and a friend has seen and chatted with Joaquim Phoenix at Erewon.
On the same trip I spotted Jake Gyllenhall drive out of the car park of Silverlake coffee shop, Intelligentsia, with a coffee in his hand. He smiled, raised his cap and took off his sunglasses as we gawked, speechless.
Last year I was eating in The Cut, the popular steak house in the iconic Beverly Wiltshire Hotel and looked up to see Sheldon (actor Jim Parsons who plays Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory) dining with his manager. The Cut is also a favourite of Tom Cruise.
Il Pastaio on North Canon Drive in Beverly Hills is a favourite of the Hadids. Their father Mohammed Hadid has a reserved private table in the corner and it’s a favourite with all the family. If there’s a security guard on the door it’s likely Beiber or another celeb is eating there.
To see Lisa Vanderpump or other stars of Vanderpump Rules or The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, visit her restaurant Pump in Weho or Villa Blanca.
George Clooney likes Cecconi’s and Craigs on Melrose. Known for celeb sightings, both regularly appear in paparazzi shots of the Kardashians and other stars. Madeo is popular with Beyonce and Jimmy Fallon while in Malibu Cindy Crawford and Randy Gerber’s Café Habana is also a magnet for celebrities.
Amanda Archer, the Australian celebrity publicist who is now part owner of the Canon Club on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, says you can catch the US cast of America’s Got Talent at her restaurant on Monday nights and Thursday night’s jazz jam sessions also draw an eclectic crowd. If you don’t spot a celeb here you’ll at least get to hear some great jazz blues and soul from some of LA’s great undiscovered and up and coming artists.
Soul Cycle on Sunset in WEHO is hugely popular with celebrities. You could find yourself pedalling next to a sweating celeb like Chloe Moritz, The Beckhams (David and Posh); Puff Daddy, Vanessa Hudgens and Jake Gyllenhall - all regulars. Oprah had her 60th birthday here.
To see their houses and where they live you can take one of the many Starline red bus tours that show you famous celeb homes in the Hollywood Hills, Bel Air and Beverly Hills, but there’s little chance you’ll see them unless you’re on the top deck and the bus happens to drive past at the right time, such as when they’re getting in their cars.
One of the best celeb gossip tours on offer is the TMZ tour, which follows the TMZ team as they track stars for their reality TV show. These tours also run by the places where River Phoenix died outside Johnny Depp’s Viper Club, John Belushi overdosed in the Chateau Marmont, OJ killed his wife in Brentwood, Lindsay Lohan got arrested and Paris made that sex tape.
WEHO has eclipsed Hollywood as the playground of LA while Beverly Hills is full of jawdropping mansions with manicured lawns, perfectly groomed poodles and their owners with the perfect pouts. Then there’s Rodeo Drive. The most expensive shopping street in the world.
There’s no shortage of places to spot stars in LA!