Why West Hollywood Is The Best Setting For LA Pride
Sunset Boulevard Turn Up!
Not only is Pride month the period of the year when it’s socially acceptable to scream ‘Gay Rights!’ every 5 seconds, but it’s also time to pay tribute to and celebrate those who fought, and those who still fight, for the LGBTQ+ community to one day reach equality and achieve the fundamental rights they deserve.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations in 1969 that sparked the beginning of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. So this Pride Month we headed over to West Hollywood in Los Angeles, home of the worlds first permitted Pride festival, to celebrate with the community and pay our respects to those at the forefront of the fight that took place only 50 years ago. Some of these incredible activists include the brave, black, transgender women Marsha P. Johnson and Zazu Nova, as well as others including Jackie Hormona, activists who opened the gates and paved the way for the equality that we continue to fight for today.
To celebrate the community, and to highlight the progress we’ve made (and still how far we have to go), every year since 1970 the Pride march takes place through West Hollywood, and now ends with a music festival that spans across a whopping three different stages, full of performances from members of the LGBTQ+ community themselves or it’s allies. Previous performers you may have heard of that have graced the line-up before include Demi Lovato, Kehlani, and Rita Ora. It’s inclusive, it’s welcoming, and it’s a damn good celebration of the community and its progress.
Here’s what went down at the extravaganza this year, and what should be on your West Hollywood to-do list if you visit for LA Pride 2020!
The Pride Concert: Meghan Trainor, Years & Years, and MNEK
The line-up this year saw Meghan Trainor, Years & Years, and MNEK take to the stage to deliver both empowering and dance-worthy sets. Trainor’s and Years & Years closing performances saw thousands gather as the sun set to dance to their radio hits including ‘All About That Bass’ and ‘Desire’ on the Saturday and Sunday nights, and with speeches throughout that both empowered and celebrated the community, it was a concert that had us both on our feet and in our feels.
With surprise appearances such as a wig-snatching performance from drag queen Shangela during Trainor’s set, as well as a fiery performance of ‘Valentino’ with both Years & Years and MNEK, the crowd remained star struck and entranced by the magical entertainers and their diverse and colourful shows.
Oh, and if you thought it couldn’t get any better, add performances from drag queens including Naomi Smalls, Miss Vanjie, AND Peppermint. Yep, the audience were flooded with surprises and sickening numbers from the hottest drag queens around on the highly anticipated weekend.
Other sets we loved included CuppcakKe’s sexual and sultry show of her hits such as ‘LGBT’ and ‘Duck Duck Goose’, and of course the lovely Grayson Chance had us sobbing our hearts out to his songs ‘Yours’ and bopping aggressively to ‘Black on Black’. We were truly not worthy of this dreamy line-up.
The Pride March Through West Hollywood & Pride On The Boulevard
The Pride march takes place in West Hollywood, California, and sees a diverse range of companies and organisations making appearances on floats to show their support and allyship with the LGBT+ community. These range from radio stations such as Channel Q, to brands like Amazon, Asos, and Netflix, to nonprofit charities such as Planned Parenthood and The Trevor Project, showing up to celebrate the big day and its attendees. It’s free to watch the parade from the sidelines and be sure to keep an eye out for brands giving out free Pride merch (shoutout to Budlight for the free bubbles).
Hike The Hollywood Hills And Feel Like an LA Living Celeb
Whilst you’re out in the city of palms, don’t miss out on hiking up the famous Hollywood Hills. Join up with Bikes and Hikes LA to trek through the Griffith park path up the hills and get a jaw-dropping view of the Hollywood Sign. Not only that, but you’ll also have a breathtaking view of the Los Angeles city beneath you, including Beverley Hills, West Hollywood, and Downtown LA. Don’t forget to take your hydro-flask, the Cali heat is no joke, guys. We don’t want anyone passing out next to a celeb on their morning hike now do we?
Shop till you drop! The Grove, The Beverly Center, And Melrose Avenue
Have a treat yourself day! Head down to The Grove, The Beverly Center or Melrose Avenue for a shop-till-you-drop experience. For all the best sales, check out the Macy’s at The Beverley Center, or if you’re in the mood for an expensive treat, we recommend the stores on Melrose Avenue. Oh, and if you’re in search of a photo for the ‘gram, The Grove at night has all the aesthetics you could ever need. Seriously, fountains and fairy lights? Sign us up!
Where to Eat & Drink
Take A Trip To The Wild-west At Flaming Saddles Bar
Here’s the dream, folks: You’re in West Hollywood, in a wild west-themed gay bar, and Miley Cyrus’s ‘Party In The USA’ is blaring through the speakers. Add to that the best happy hour deals and bites to eat including cheesy Nachos, stringy mozzarella sticks, and spicy waffle fries… you’ll be living the American dream in no time. We truly wish we could spend every night in this one of a kind place in the heart of Hollywood.
Take a look at some of wildness that goes down...
Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel
Head to the Skybar on Sunset Boulevard for a night overlooking LA and all its lights. Not only that, but the open-air elegant space also has it’s own pool to take a dip in or just relax and lounge around. Take a seat, grab a cocktail, and enjoy the view from the best seat in town. (Oh, and if you’re in the mood to party, it also hosts nights with world-class DJs, so you can truly be living life like a Hollywood A-lister.)
If there’s one fast food chain you try whilst in LA, make it In-N-Out Burger. In no way is it an exaggeration to say they may have the best burgers all of planet Earth has to offer. The Double Double Combo is the mouth-watering meal that’s a steal for under $7.
Oh, and they also have some pretty cool merch including t-shirts and mugs if you’re feeling as in love with the food as we are.
Where To Stay
Live Lavish At The Mondrian Hotel
This 5* hotel on Sunset Boulevard is definitely a stay to add to the bucket list. Not only is the central location in walking distance of shops and restaurants of plenty, but with views that overlook LA in all it’s glory, a luxurious pool-side lounge, and the aforementioned Skybar all on offer too, it’s a Hollywood hotspot.
Decked out with modern decor and abstract art pieces, this immersive experience will introduce you to all that LA has to offer, both the strange and the glamorous.
Chill At The Celeb-hub The Chateau Marmont
Not only have Hollywood stars such as Jim Morrison, Sharon Tate, and most recently Lana Del Rey lived in this famous location, but you may have spotted the Chateau Marmont in Academy-award-nominated musical, La La Land.
Nestled right on the edge of West Hollywood's catchment area, it’s regarded as one of Los Angeles’ historical-cultural landmarks. So if you want to live like you’re on a movie set, this is the place to go to feel like an extra.
Also located on the iconic Sunset Strip, a stay at The Standard is a stay like no other. With a modern and wavy vibe that runs through its walls, it’s not just the decor that will have you feeling like you’re living in an LA celebrities dream home.
With the exclusive nightclub Mmhmmm located inside, it’s own cool and chilled blue AstroTurf pool, and even the highly recommended restaurant Croft Alley in it’s walls, it’s the place to be for an up close and personal Hollywood experience.
Happy Pride month to everyone celebrating! We hope to see you at LA Pride 2020.
We’ll leave you with the wise words of Olly Alexander...
MTV Travelled with West Hollywood. For more information about West Hollywood, please visit their website: www.VisitWestHollywood.com. MTV Travelled With... The Mondrian Los Angeles. Rooms start from £178 per night. Please visit www.mondrianlosangeles.com for more information.