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Unforgettable Activities and Destinations in Hollywood Hills and West Hollywood

Hollywood Hills

With its captivating views, major attractions, and scenic environment, the neighborhood of Hollywood Hills has long been a top destination for both tourists and new residents.

If you’re new to the area, here are some of the must-visit venues you should definitely check out:

Hiking

  • Runyon Canyon Park is a popular destination for hikers, with its network of scenic trails offering captivating views of LA. Visitors here get many options – you can either go for a relaxing walk on paved paths or a more challenging experience in off-road terrain.
  • Bronson Canyon Park is an excellent place for walking, as its hiking trails offer marvelous views of LA and the valley. The park also features a playground, picnic tables, and the Bronson Caves, which is famous for being the entrance to the Bat Cave in the 60s Batman TV series.

Shopping

  • Open since 2001, Hollywood & Highland features over 75 shops and restaurants, a nightclub, a cinema, a hotel, and several TV studios. It has over 65,000 square feet of space, and is surrounded by gorgeous views of the city.

Dining

  • Yamashiro Restaurant is a wonderful place to dine, with its elegant interiors, serene tiered gardens with relaxing views, and incredible Japanese cuisine. 
  • If you’re craving for the best modern American cuisine in town, Beachwood Café is the pace for you. Their dishes are made using the freshest in-season ingredients. Their farm-to-table creations are definitely unlike any other, as they are laced with Asian, Mediterranean, and Scandinavian influences.

West Hollywood

West Hollywood is home to the famed Sunset Strip, which automatically makes it one of the most vibrant locations in the country. Here, unforgettable evenings are always a few minutes away, thanks to the area’s world-class selection of standup comedy bars, live music venues, and top-notch restaurants.

Entertainment

  • Catch a performance from some of the biggest names in comedy at the Laugh Factory. The legendary venue was first opened back in 1979, and is widely considered the #1 comedy club in the US.
  • West Hollywood is a top destination for music lovers, with its iconic rock venues along Sunset Strip and intimate lounges along Santa Monica Blvd. Catch a performance by internationally recognized artists and musicians at The Roxy Theatre, Whisky A Go Go, Troubadour, and The Viper Room.

Dining

  • Looking for the best Italian cuisine in LA? You can’t go wrong with AGO. Founded by head chef Agosto Sciandri and Robert De Niro in 1997, the restaurant attracts countless diners with its to-die-for Italian dishes and romantic interiors.
  • Get your fix of mouthwatering ribs, burgers, and sandwiches at Baby Blues, a BBQ haven with a unique approach, combining BBQ techniques from Memphis, New Orleans, North Carolina, and Mexico.

Shopping

  • West Hollywood is a paradise for shoppers. You’ll be able to find a dynamic mix of haute couture and streetwear boutiques, high-end fashion wear, and interior design stores. Sprawling shopping centers such as West Hollywood Gateway and Sunset Plaza are found right here as well, offering a collection of top-brand retailers, specialty stores, and first-class restaurants all under one roof. 

Venice, California – Silicon Beach Real Estate on the Rise

Tech Boom Boosts Real Estate at Venice Beach

If you could pursue your career anywhere in the world, wouldn’t you choose to live and work in Venice Beach? That seems to be the driving factor behind the recent influx of tech companies and their well-paid geeks moving to the area, pushing demand for Venice real estate through the roof, if you’ll pardon the pun.Snapchat is just one example of tech giants who are moving into this bohemian city, expanding from 14 employees to 200 in their block-size HQ as part of the new “Silicon Beach”.

For current Venice Beach homeowners and landlords, this can only be good news as a host of hip new pads have sprung up, regenerating the rundown neighborhood of derelict cottages and industrial buildingsinto desirable zipcodes in this oceanside district of Los Angeles.

Home to “the coolest block in America”, according to GQ magazine, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is the place to shop, dine and socialize. If you need any help, the magazine’s Style Bible is on sale in a number of smallerboutiques and eclectic stories inhabiting the 1920s architecturealong this unpretentious street. Trendsetting techies and their peers are dropping their cash on everything from surf boards to vintage Rolex watches in the understated shops and galleries such as Bazar, Jack Spade, Aviator Nation and Surfing Cowboys.

Venice Beach Entertainment

Venice, or Venice Beach as it is known,  is a funky oceanfront city that still thinks, acts and feels like a laid-back hometown community. It was developed by Abbot Kinney as a beach resort in the early 1900s and continues to live-up to his visionas a place of amusement and pleasure. The original Venice Beach was known as the “Coney Island of the Pacific” with its amusement pier and miniature steam railway. A few of the original swamp-draining canals remain in the attractive Historic District which gave Venice its name. They are lined with delightful character properties, although most of the canals in this prime real estate area have been filled in and developed with condos and townhouses, all within sight and sound of the beach.

Far more than just a place to live, sleep and eat, Venice Beach offers a vibe and lifestyle all its own. Specialty shops, murals and galleries offer something for all budgets and tastes, and the same can be said for the restaurants. Take a seat at one of the sidewalk cafés and enjoy people-watching as you sip a chai tea or skinny latte. The range of cuisine is as cosmopolitan as the residents, with a host of restaurantsofferingItalian, German, Chinese, Indian, and even French-Japanese cuisine at historic Chaya on Navy Street.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Whether you’re a newbie resident or a visitor to Venice, you need to have plenty of $1 bills in your pocket. The world-famous boardwalk is a Venice Beach institution and has developed into a sidewalk circus for performers, jugglers, musicians, break-dancers and mime artists who make the area the fun and happening place it is today. You’ll want to put your hand in your pocket and show your appreciation, making yourself an integral part of this lively laid-back oceanfrontcommunity.

This unique boardwalk stretches for one and a half miles along Venice’s beautiful sandy beach. It is lined with bazaars, pavement cafés, boutiques and stalls offering everything from temporary tattoos to one-of-a-kind crafts. The nearby bike path keep strolling couples and youngsters safe as cyclists, joggers, rollerbladers and skateboarders enjoy the boardwalk at their own individual pace.

LA’s Hippest Beach Scene

The soft white sands and clean water makeVenice Beach a prime area of recreation for the 16 million visitors and residents.One of the first projects that developer Abbot Kinney completed was the breakwater, an artificial barrier designed to protect the beach and pier. Inadvertently it created some of LA’s best surf spots. Taking surf lessons from a Venice Beach pro should be on every visitor’s bucket list, along with attending the improvised Drum Circle session that beats until sunset on weekends. While some beat drums and shakers, others dance, chant and sing. Like everywhere in Venice Beach, everyone does their own thing, and that’s OK.

Basketball is another Venice Beach characteristic, with public basketball courts attracting some of the best players and future NBA stars, making it a great spectator sport too. The Venice Beach Skateboard Park near Windward and Ocean Front Walk is one of several top skate parks in LA.  It isconsidered the birthplace of progressive skateboarding in the 1970s and is immortalized in films such as “Dogtown and Z-Boys”.

Further along is “Muscle Beach”, an area of Venice known as a workout mecca where legendary strongmen such as Arnold Schwarzenegger once pumped iron. The areastill has many gyms and fitness studios in this top sports neighborhood.

All these attractions combine to make Venice Beach the sought-after community it is today, making it a top place to live, work and invest in sunny LA.

Los Angeles – Summer Playground for Everyone

Every year over 45 million tourists visit Los Angeles – exceeding even the 41 million visitors that descend on Las Vegas. So what draws so many families, singles and retirees to this trendsetting global metropolis, besides the sunny climate?

Like many world-class cities, Los Angeles is divided into neighborhoods, including Santa Monica with its famous “Baywatch” beach, pier and surfing lifestyle. Malibu is best known for its celebrity homes, and who wouldn’t want to live in beautiful Venice Beach with its lively boardwalk where musicians, jugglers and street artists make up the human landscape? It’s a great place to people-watch, and who knows who you may rub shoulders with as you watch the free entertainment.

Los Angeles Attractions

Los Angeles is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, and with good reason. Home to the oldest film industry in the world, Hollywood is an attraction in its own right with the vast Universal Studios theme park, City Walk, Disneyland and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Hollywood must-sees include the star-studded Walk of Fame and the iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, home to the world’s largest IMAX auditorium and over 200 autographs and handprints immortalizing almost a century of movie star legends.

This unique connection with the entertainment industry has spawned countless theaters and venues for watching the latest pop and classical concerts, Broadways shows, musical extravaganzas and world-class cultural entertainment. Visit the award-winning Pantages Theatre for the latest box office shows or attend the Greek Theatre in Griffin Park for a memorable live performance. The J. Paul Getty Museum is one of several top museums in Los Angeles along with the Nethercutt and the LA County Museum of Art. You can tread the decks of the Battleship USS Iowa or spend the day at the California Science Center where the Space Shuttle Endeavour is now on display.

Sports events from Monster Truck Rallies to the Hollywood Bowl make Los Angeles a city of champions, from the Lakers with 16 basketball championships under their belt to the Dodgers who have won five World Series baseball titles.

Beautiful Beaches in Los Angeles

Away from the busy city, Los Angeles has 75 miles of America’s most beautiful sandy beaches which provide endless opportunities for surfing, standup paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing, fishing, swimming, jet skiing and volleyball. Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach with its Fun Factory Arcade, and Manhattan Beach with its Roundhouse Marine Lab and Aquarium provide plenty of traditional seaside fun for all ages such as touching starfish, getting up-close to sharks or feeding seahorses.

First Class Dining and Shopping in LA

Dining out is all part of any vacation experience, and Los Angeles once again hits the ball out of the park when it comes to restaurant quality and variety. From food trucks and sidewalk cafés to Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Tex-Mex restaurants, you’ll find something to suit every budget. One of the most innovative and buzzing restaurants is Bestia in the Arts District, catering to foodies and dieters alike. The Bellweather at Studio City has rave reviews for its farm-to-table cuisine while Animal in Mid-Wilshire serves LA classics on the daily specials menu.

Every visitor will want to shop for souvenirs, and where better than the LA Fashion District or window shopping on Rodeo Drive. La Brea is Los Angeles’ artiest shopping strip while West 3rd Street is the place to find fun and funky gifts.

Whatever you choose to do during your summer visit to Los Angeles, you are sure to take home many memories of thrilling experiences. Like many first-time visitors, you may even find yourself vowing to move permanently to this trendsetting upscale city.

Los Angeles Luxury Real Estate is BOOMING!

When the year 2016 came by, everybody in the investment universe was talking about its prospects. Now, two and a half months later, there’s a general consensus that it is not going to be good. Stocks are expected to remain flat, as S&P is bound to FED’s decisions about rate hikes and the oil crisis reappeared stronger than the last time, a few months ago, not to mention the recent China’s slowdown and debt bubble growing dangerously. Bonds on the other hand, are considered to be in a worse position than stocks, according to professionals in the industry. So an obvious question arises: Where should an investor put their money in 2016?

According to the majority of the participants in the investment universe the answer is boringly simple: Real Estate. Traditional international investment destinations, regarding real estate investments, such as London, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, San Francisco and Los Angeles will remain at the top of the investors’ shortlists this year, as traditional investment market volatility leads funds to search for long term, fundamentally driven investments. According to Colliers International Global Investor Outlook 2016, Los Angeles is expected to remain one of the hottest investment markets in the U.S., attracting funds from international investors and investment funds.

Being compared with its major overseas peer, London, Los Angeles upper class residential developments can be considered as better investments for several reasons. Although London luxury real estate market in particular has been considered without a doubt as a safe haven of international real estate investment, there are some market and non – market risks today that threaten to alter this status quo. These risks range from unfavorable local market equilibrium conditions to complex political, diplomatic and economic concerns arising from the scheduled referendum regarding Britain’s stay or not in the European Union, which will boom uncertainty.

Map 1: Rent performance in Los Angeles (2015)

LA-2015-Year-in-Review

According to Douglas Elliman report, we are currently in the middle of a strong upside movement in the Los Angeles real estate market, which is expected to last for a few more years. One of the hottest areas in terms of market fundamentals is Sunset Strip, with market gaining heat rapidly. There has been a spectacular price growth in the area as the following chart shows, with prices rising by 10% over the last 6 months and more than 20% during the last year. Same picture in Venice Beach and Beverly Hills with price movements ranging from 16% to 20%.

median price

median price2

Such spectacular movements are driven partially by market fundamentals. However, a part of this performance should be attributed to the recent rise in on – demand short term real estate through online platforms such as Airbnb and others. Fuelled by the increasing popularity that on – demand real estate is gaining, it has been observed that homeowners / investors could achieve significant higher than average returns by chasing short term rentals. Of course, nothing should be left on luck, as there are specific property management firms that have recently become experts in this kind of property management.

Recent transaction data confirm the price trends presented above, as triple digit transaction volume figure increases are not something that is found in a typical property market.

Table 1: Luxury properties sold in LA (May – July 2015)

la sold

According to industry’s professionals, Los Angeles offers some comparative advantages compared to the city’s competitors, in the U.S. and overseas. Luxury properties are usually purchased by Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals. Los Angeles offers an adequate mix of luxurious amenities and lifestyle for this kind of people. From the luxurious Beverly Hills to the cosmopolitan Hollywood, and adding some extra life quality perks, such as the high quality schools of Santa Monica and Westwood, L.A. is the place to live. This prestigious profile, along with the specialized workforce, is also attracting famous tech companies in the area, like Google campus in Playa Del Rey.

So, overall Los Angeles has managed to sell a luxurious and cosmopolitan profile which, in combination with favorable fundamentals of the local real estate market and the recent rise of on – demand short term rentals, is responsible for the current and ongoing boom in the prices of luxury properties. In that sense, international investors seeking capital security and extraordinary price appreciation should definitely consider an investment in upper class properties in L.A. instead of its traditional local and overseas competitors.