Beverly Hills has an international reputation for its celebrity residents and guests, grand mansions and chic shops along Rodeo Drive, but the city’s multitude of unique architecture, abundant parks and gardens, gourmet food shops and specialty bars are often overlooked. Go beyond legendary Rodeo Drive or the iconic “Beverly Hills” sign in Beverly Gardens Park and check out some of these lesser known gems tucked away throughout the city as well.
Virginia Robinson Gardens
Virginia Robinson of the Robinson’s Department stores, whose family built this estate in 1911, was known as the “First Lady of Beverly Hills.” She was famous for her legendary card games and extravagant parties, which were frequented by celebrities like Fred Astaire, Charlie Chaplin and Lillian Disney. Inspired by her travels, Virginia transformed her six acre estate into a botanical garden oasis complete with exotic and rare plants, pools and fountains.
Spanning 6.2 acres, the estate and its grounds include: The Italian Terrace Garden, The Great Lawn, The Display Rose Garden with heirloom roses, The Kitchen Garden where groundskeepers grow seasonal vegetables and herbs and The Palm Tree Forest featuring over 200 King Palms – the largest collection outside of Australia. Virginia Robinson Gardens is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday for docent-guided tours. Reservations are required! Schedule a tour by emailing email@example.com, or calling (310) 550-2087. Follow Virginia Robinson Gardens at Facebook.com/RobinsonGardens for the latest news.
While Beverly Hills is known around the world for celebrity homes and impressive real estate, two private residences stand out from the rest:
The O’Neill House makes you feel like you’ve stepped into Alice’s Wonderland. The home’s facade was inspired by the surreal designs of famous architect Antoni Gaudi. This house is just steps from the Golden Triangle. Be sure to walk or drive down the alley that runs along the house’s left side as the swirling exterior can be seen even better from the back.
The Witch’s House, also known as the Spadena House, appears to be plucked straight out of a fairytale. The house was built in 1921 for a silent film movie studio, Willat Studios in Culver City, to serve as its offices and dressing rooms. When the studio closed, the Spadena family moved the home to its current location in Beverly Hills, where it has been since 1934. Thanks to the pointy, lopsided roof, tiny windows and stucco with a distressed paint technique, the home has been described as the quintessential Hansel and Gretel house.
Greystone Mansion & Park
Built in 1928 for the son of a prominent oil baron, the majestic Greystone Mansiontoday is surrounded by 18.5 pastoral acres of lush, city-owned parkland.
Greystone has had feature roles in dozens of famous movies including The Big Lebowski, There Will Be Blood, Ghostbusters, Austin Powers: Goldmember and Spiderman.
Visit Greystone Mansion and stroll through two public areas on the grounds-the beautifully maintained formal gardens with their centerpiece fountain, and the pool and inner courtyard area. If you’re looking to go inside the mansion, attend one of the special events including the annual Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance or many musical and theatrical performances held throughout the year, which unlock this special access.
Beverly Hills Parks
Beverly Hills is home to almost as many trees (33,000 species) as residents and has an impressive 14 parks! This commitment to urban forestry has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation who has named Beverly Hills a “Tree City USA” community for over 25 years.
Head over to Beverly Gardens Park, the home of the famous Beverly Hills sign for a commemorative photo of your time in Beverly Hills, but don’t miss some of the smaller pocket parks dotted around town. Beverly Canon Gardens is nestled beside Montage Beverly Hills and offers plentiful seating for a mid-day break. Will Rogers Memorial Park‘s central fountain filled with Koi fish, sweeping lawns, and countless palm trees that span the property, make it perfect for a romantic picnic.
The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills
Cheese aficionados may think they’ve died and gone to heaven upon entering this shop that stocks over 500 varieties of the best cheeses from all over the world. While the store is known for its extensive cheese offerings, it also features wine and fine foods, including truffles, caviar, olive oils and charcuterie.
Say hello to owner Norbert Wabnig on your next visit and be sure to ask about their monthly cheese and wine pairing classes.
Other Gourmet Food Shops
It’s hard to imagine another area so concentrated with specialty sweets shops than Beverly Hills. Lines wrap around the block for Sprinkles‘ cupcakes and ice cream and a variety of macarons beckon from the counter at ‘Lette Macarons. Open for tours, Edelweiss Chocolates was Lucille Ball’s favorite and inspired her iconic “Job Switching” assembly line I Love Lucy episode.
Beverly Hills Nightlife
Mastro’s Steakhouse may be one of the finest steakhouses in Beverly Hills, but they are also highly regarded for their extraordinary cocktails. The celebrated Mastro’s Penthouse is located on the top floor of the restaurant and features an open air rooftop patio. The scene is festive and energetic as most nights often feature music from a live DJ. Their famous Mastro’s Martini is the signature cocktail to order as it is shaken with dry-ice, creating a cool mystical effect, perfect for photos and starting off the night right.
Discreetly tucked away inside Montage Beverly Hills is the Macallan-dedicated bar £10 (10 Pound). Savor rare whiskey served in Lalique stemware in this dark, cozy space. The space seats just 35 patrons at a time providing the most intimate experience paired with unparalleled service. Reservations are a must and the Jimmy Mac cocktail is highly recommended.
Trousdale Estates is a 410-acre enclave of luxurious, mostly single-story homes in Beverly Hills, California. Developed in the 1950s and 60s, Trousdale Estates quickly became famous for its concentration of celebrity residents and the unrestrained extravagance of its architecture. Early houses were designed by renowned architects including Frank Lloyd Wright.
Celebrity residents have included the likes of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. More recently, Jennifer Aniston and Jane Fonda have lived in the neighborhood.
Trousdale Estates are located north east of Greystone Mansion. Head north from West Sunset Boulevard on Mountain Drive (turn onto Loma Vista Drive) or North Hillcrest Road.
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