Rodeo Drive - Los Angeles, California - Upscale Shopping in Beverly Hills

The Los Angeles street known as Rodeo Drive extends for almost two miles through Beverly Hills between West Pico Boulevard and West Sunset Boulevard. However, there is a particular three-block section of it that has gained the attention of the entire world - or at least those who are into high fashion.

This is the stretch of North Rodeo Drive from Santa Monica Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard, where the concentration of pricey, name-brand shops and boutiques is the greatest. It has turned Rodeo (pronounced row-DAY-oh) into a high-class shopping magnet and a tourist attraction in its own right.

It is no secret that many of Hollywood's biggest celebrities come to Rodeo Drive for their haute couture and accessories. Out-of-town visitors flock here, too, hoping to sneak a peek of a famous star or starlet, but there are many other reasons to come to the area, not the least of which is fine dining.

Among the many upscale eateries on Rodeo Drive are several uniquely positioned local shops, including A Cow Jumped Over the Moon and The Prime Grill. McCormick & Schmick's Fish House has a branch here called the Pacific Seafood Grill. And at 218 North Rodeo Drive, the Urusawa Restaurant, with its serenity and artistic Japanese dishes, has been known to draw celebrity diners from both shores of the Pacific, especially on weekends.

The restaurant known as 208 Rodeo is one of the area's ideal people-watching dining spots. It is located adjacent to Tiffany & Company near the steps of famous Two Rodeo, which looks like an old European avenue. Within view of Cartier, Charles Jourdan, Valentino, Christian Dior and Jose Ebe, 208 Rodeo offers contemporary California cuisine for three meals a day from 9am till late.

On Rodeo Drive's side streets - Canon, Camden and Crescent - there are many more great places to dine. In the evening, the entire neighborhood can be abuzz with famous comings and goings, particularly around Spago's and Nic's, two favorites of the glitterati. For less expensive fare, there are a number of small cafes and delis, too, such as Cafy Rodeo, La Patisserie Artistique, and Cafy 440.

By day, and especially on weekdays, Rodeo Drive can seem quite calm. Window-shopping is a favored pastime here, and it costs nothing to take in displays ranging from antique Barakat crystal to the fine art of Galerie Michael and the exquisite jewelry of Bulgari, De Beers and Harry Winston.

At 420 Rodeo Drive, with its $50 pairs of socks and $50,000 suits, Bijan is said to be "the single most expensive shop in the world.'' Appointments are required to shop there. But in recent years, less exclusive shops have set up along the street, including Guess? and Banana Republic.

For those interested in top brands, there is little left out on Rodeo Drive. Just a sampling includes Bally, Bebe, Brooks Brothers, Chanel, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Frette, Garrard, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Hermes, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Lladro, Louis Vuitton, Max Mara, Ralph Lauren, Stefano Ricci, Versace, YvesStLaurent...the list goes on and on.

When feet get tired, the multi-tiered Barneys Shopping Complex on the corner of Rodeo and Wilshire is a popular hangout, where brunch on the top floor at Barneys Greengrass provides a panoramic view of the entire Los Angeles Basin. Another good resting place is the Luxe Hotel, located near the very center of Rodeo Drive's shopping action at 360 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90210.

Christmas season is perhaps the best time to visit Rodeo Drive, when colorful flowers and lights and flowers decorate the streets. On Father's Day, the entire street shuts down for a vintage car show, which is open to public free of charge. Sundays are usually bad days to visit, however, as many shops are closed.

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