Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard is a street in the western part of Los Angeles County, California, that stretches from Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Coast Highway at the Pacific Ocean in the Pacific Palisades. The street is an icon of Hollywood celebrity culture and the phrase "Sunset Boulevard" is an enduring shorthand for the glamor associated with Tinseltown.

Approximately convert|22|mi|km|0 in length, the famous boulevard passes through or near Echo Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood, and Pacific Palisades. It also passes through the neighborhood of Little Armenia on the East side of Sunset Boulevard. Other than West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, which are independent incorporated cities, the places named above are all districts and neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles. In the Bel-Air district of Los Angeles, Sunset Boulevard runs along the northern boundary of the UCLA Westwood campus.

The boulevard is winding and treacherous in some areas. It is at least four lanes in width for all of its route. Car accidents are not uncommon due to its numerous hairpin curves and blind crests, and the lack of a center divider on most sections. Sunset (along with Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards) is frequently congested with traffic loads far beyond its design capacity. As a result, it is also notorious for cracks and potholes. Traffic on Sunset is often slow-moving, with bumper-to-bumper congestion not infrequent during rush hour in both directions. However, when traffic is mild or nonexistent, Sunset is an extremely fast thoroughfare as it encounters few (and short timed) traffic lights west of Doheny Drive. Even at rush hours, traffic generally flows well through the Holmby Hills and Bel Air, west of Whittier in Beverly Hills, as the lights are very well spaced and timed.

Sunset Boulevard used to extend farther east, starting at Alameda Street near Union Station and beside Olvera Street in the historic section of Downtown, but the portion of Sunset Boulevard east of Figueroa on the north end of Downtown Los Angeles was renamed César E. Chávez Avenue, along with Macy Street and Brooklyn Avenue, in honor of the late Mexican-American union leader.

In the 1970s the area between Gardner Street and Western Avenue, became a seedy red-light district afflicted with street prostitution. It was at the corner of Sunset and Courtney Avenue that actor Hugh Grant pulled over and picked up prostitute Divine Brown in the early morning of June 27, 1995. He then drove a few blocks east and parked at the corner of Curson and Hawthorn Avenues. Police arrested him and the prostitute for lewd conduct in a public place and he was later fined $1,200. Shortly after this police raids drove out the majority of prostitutes in this area and the majority of those turned to on-line escort services, thus diminishing the long held red-light district.

Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood is also sometimes called "Guitar Row" due to the large number of guitar stores and music industry-related businesses, including the legendary recording studios Sunset Sound Studios and United Western Recorders. Also, many young, struggling actors, musicians, and other artists continue to live in the area.

The best-known section of Sunset Boulevard is probably the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, which is a center for nightlife in the Los Angeles area.

The portion of Sunset Boulevard from the western city limits of Beverly Hills to its eastern end was at one time named Beverly Boulevard.

The boulevard is commemorated in Billy Wilder's famous movie, an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, and a hit song in 2005 by Scott Grimes. 77 Sunset Strip was also the name of a 1950's television series. Jan and Dean's 1960's hit song Dead Man's Curve immortalizes a section of the road near Bel Air estates just north of UCLA's Drake Stadium. Disney's Hollywood Studios has a recreation of Sunset as a backdrop for its The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster rides. []

Landmarks include (past & present)

*Amoeba Records
*Beverly Hills Hotel
*Blessed Sacrament Church
*Book Soup
*CBS Columbia Square
*Chateau Marmont
*Cinerama Dome
*Comedy Store
*Crossroads of the World
*Designer Donuts
*Dino's Lodge
*Directors Guild of America headquarters
*Dudley Do-Right Emporium
*Earl Carroll Theatre
*The Garden of Allah
*Gower Gulch
*Hollywood Athletic Club
*Hollywood High School
*Hollywood Palladium
*Hotel Bel-Air
*House of Blues
*Hyatt West Hollywood
*The London Fog
*Los Angeles Film School
*Metromedia Square (the former Fox Television Center and KTTV studios)
*Ole Henriksen Face/Body
*Palisades Charter High School
*The Pink Palace
*Rainbow Bar and Grill
*Rock 'n' Roll Ralphs
*Rock Walk
*The Roxy Theatre
*Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine
*Standard Hotel
*Sunset Gower Studios
*Tiffany Theatre
*Tiki Ti
*Viper Room
*Whisky a Go Go
*Will Rogers State Beach
*Will Rogers State Historic Park

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