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Frieze: Come for the Art, Stay for the City Experience

Beverly Gardens Park Cactus Garden
Beverly Gardens Park
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Beverly Hills thrums with extra cultural vibrancy during Frieze Los Angeles, Feb. 17-20. Whether you’re visiting for this year’s contemporary art fair or if you just haven’t been here in a while, you’ll be amazed by how much there is to do, eat, see and experience as the city rolls out the red carpet for its guests.

“Beverly Hills is really a place of creative inspiration,” says Julie Wagner, CEO of the Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau. “Just the fact that our city focuses on art and culture is certainly an important aspect of the community.”

Photo of a metal sculpture, “Endless V, 2012” by Jaume Plensa
“Endless V, 2012” by Jaume Plensa

“I think the most exciting thing about Frieze, other than the fact that it's in Beverly Hills, is this opportunity to showcase new up-and-coming artists that maybe haven't had a platform,” says Wagner. “The show is very focused on diversity and inclusion and showcasing artists from all different walks of life.”

It’s clear that the city has a love for culture — it’s deep within its DNA. You’ll find public installations, performing arts, Michelin-starred restaurants, and world-caliber galleries in abundance, certainly, but also, consider the opulent Spanish Renaissance design of the 1932 City Hall and Civic Center, or the juxtaposition of classic and modern architecture in the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, formerly the city’s post office.

While you’re there

Photo of The Maybourne Beverly Hills
The Maybourne Beverly Hills

When you’re feeling peckish, know there’s lots of outdoor seating and a place for every taste. Find modern Mexican fare at Mírame or inspired Italian at Gucci Osteria da Massimo Boturra. Stop for wine and cheese at Wally’s, or just keep it casual for the kids at California Pizza Kitchen.

Need a place to stay? There’s a hotel for everyone, no matter your aesthetic. If you want a luxe vibe with a view, check into the Presidential Penthouse Suite at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Looking for classic elegance? Make yourself at home at The Peninsula. If old-school glam is high on your agenda, The Beverly Hills Hotel is your spot. If you’re keeping it all contemporary, put The Maybourne on your list.

Beverly Hills boasts perfect weather this time of year, and you can enjoy it by walking through Beverly Gardens Park, or hitting the jogging path along North Santa Monica Boulevard. “That is where a good portion of our public life is located,” Wagner says. Or just hop on a bike or take a hike in the hills — the city’s lesser-known paths beg for exploration.

If you’re an architecture buff, you might be on overload just walking around, but try to spy the fanciful Gaudy-inspired O'Neill house or the highly cinematic Witch’s House along your trajectory. And you can probably guess the architect once you see it, but Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Anderton Court Shops, originally as residences.

Photo of Mírame dining room and patio

Did someone say shopping? Of course everyone knows about the high-end designer flagship stores on Rodeo Drive, but you can also find emerging designers and unique boutiques along South Santa Monica Boulevard, Brighton Way or Beverly Drive. (Take a look at Maison Margiela for cutting-edge fashion and footwear, for example.)

Photo of The Witch's House
The Witch’s House

Can’t figure out where to begin? Download the complimentary Beverly Hills Experience app recently created by the Beverly Hills Historical Society for walking tours, top landmarks and videos. Or listen to Rodeo Drive – The Podcast, and learn more about one of the world’s most famous shopping destinations.

There’s more than you thought

People tend to have some outdated notions about Beverly Hills. If you’re one of them, you’re missing out. “I think a lot of people see Beverly Hills as ‘flash and cash,’ or they see it as a place where their parents or their grandparents should go,” Wagner says. “I think the thing that people don't really understand is that there's this huge breadth of choices that you have here… There really is something for everyone.”

And for all those artists and gallerists in town for Frieze, she says, “Welcome to Beverly Hills. We're so excited to have you here and we hope you get to enjoy all the things that make us unique, and we wish you a successful show.”