My City: Beverly Hills by Julie Wagner

Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau CEO Julie gives us the inside scoop on her home city

 

Best known for its luxury hotels, world-class dining and unrivalled shopping,shopaholics should start the day on Beverly Drive, home to hip designers such as Maje, Sam Edelman and Sandro. If you’re in a hurry, Department Store Row on Wilshire Boulevard has Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Barneys conveniently lined up next to each other.

Two of my favourite things about Beverly Hills are its perfect weather (averaging a mild 22°C) and its walkability, something that often surprises visitors. Food is also a big draw – from the finest sushi at my personal favourite Nozawa Bar at Sugarfish, to the family owned Italian restaurants Il Pastaio, Via Alloro and Piccolo Paradiso. When I’m feeling naughty, I’ll indulge in a chocolate pretzel from Edelweiss. This chocolatier has been a Beverly Hills institution since 1942 and its discriminating clientele includes some of the most recognised names in the world, from presidents and princes to producers, entertainers and, of course, chocolate lovers. Night owls will love Wally’s Vinoteca, which takes the combination of food and (over 2,500 varieties) of grape to an entirely new dimension, and is a lively late-night option.

It’s easy to go beyond the quintessential stroll down Rodeo Drive or the photo in front of the iconic Beverly Hills sign. There are some truly impressive residences worth checking out, like the Gaudí-inspired O’Neill House, just steps from the Golden Triangle. You’ll feel like you’ve entered Alice’s Wonderland. And don’t miss the majestic Greystone Mansion & Gardens, a historic landmark surrounded by 18.5 pastoral acres of lush gardens. You can wander through two public areas within the grounds – the beautifully maintained formal gardens, with their centrepiece fountain and pool, and the inner courtyard area – and enjoy gorgeous views of the city. The estate has been featured in dozens of Hollywood films including The Big Lebowski, The Dark Knight, The Social Network and Ghostbusters.

The city is home to almost as many trees as residents, and has an impressive 14 parks and gardens. While Beverly Gardens Park, featuring the iconic sign and lily pond, is the best known, there are lots of smaller pocket parks that are perfect for escaping the crowds. If you happen to find yourself in town on a Sunday, head to the Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market and buy a few local fruits to snack on as you explore the area, then end the day with a movie under the stars at the free Sunday Movie Nights on Canon Drive.

We also have lots of world-class art, with more than 60 public art pieces on view –  including Yayoi Kusama’s Hymn Of Life: Tulips, Jaume Plensa’s Endless V and Roxy Paine’s Erratic, all of which are exhibited in Beverly Gardens Park. The prestigious art galleries Galerie Michael and the Gagosian are also must-visits. I could go on and on but I’ll leave you to discover all that Beverly Hills has to offer in your own time. It truly does have something to love for everyone and every lifestyle.