Chock-full of trendy shops, colorful galleries and tony restaurants, West Hollywood's streets are perfect for strolling. And with an arts open house and an Art in the Park festival, why not spend time in WeHo?
Following the success of March's Design Walk '98, the West Hollywood arts district is hosting a similar event, Open House on the Avenues: An Evening of Art & Design, to launch the fall arts season. Galleries, furniture and antiques stores will be open late, from 6 to 9 p.m., many hosting special events. The Kantor Gallery (8642 Melrose Ave.) will host a reception for a new exhibit, "Andy Warhol: Portraits," while "Picasso: Face to Face" opens at the Louis Stern Fine Arts (9002 Melrose Ave.), and the Daniel Saxon Gallery unveils two new paintings by Gronk at the Feldman Gallery Building at the Pacific Design Center. Chef Celestino Drago will welcome visitors to his restaurant L'Arancino with free appetizers; Il Piccolino, Replay Cafe, Urth Caffe and other eateries will also offer food tastings. West Hollywood arts district, Melrose Avenue, Beverly and Robertson boulevards, between La Cienega Boulevard and Doheny Drive. Admission to the event and all metered street parking are free. Reduced-rate parking is available at the Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave. (323) 650-2668.
West Hollywood residents have a love-hate relationship with the Sunset Strip because of the problems that come with having a slew of popular nightclubs in your backyard. But every once in a while you have to spend an evening on the Strip--it's down and dirty and totally L.A. You can jive to the disco sounds of Bootie Quake at the Viper Room (8852 Sunset Blvd.,  358-1880), rock out with Freakdaddy and others at the historic Whisky-A-Go-Go (8901 Sunset Blvd.,  652-4202) or chill out at Red-rock (8782 Sunset Blvd.,  854-0710), the Strip's answer to a neighborhood bar. If you are underage, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (8591 Sunset Blvd.) is as much of a scene as any place that serves alcohol.
Spend the morning browsing along Robertson Boulevard, one of the best shopping neighborhoods west of New York's SoHo. Begin just south of West Hollywood, stopping at Madison (106 S. Robertson Blvd.,  275-1930) for a great selection of the latest in fall flats and Mary Janes. Agnes B (100 N. Robertson Blvd.,  271-9643) is undergoing renovation but is still open, and next door is Robert Clergerie (108 N. Robertson Blvd.,  276-8907) for classic shoes. Across the street, Freelance (113 S. Robertson Blvd.,  247-8727) has more funky footwear, while Kate Spade (105 S. Robertson Blvd.,  271-9778) stocks the designer's signature box-like purses, as well as her new address books and agendas. Curve (154 N. Robertson Blvd.,  360-8008), hip boutique du jour, has clothes and accessories you can't live without.
For lunch, try a salad from Ivy (113 N. Robertson Blvd.,  274-8303.
After lunch, walk up to West Hollywood Park (Robertson Boulevard between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard), where more than 25 artists will display a sumptuous feast at Art in the Park, presented by the Community Arts Center. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Free admission. (323) 993-1428.
In addition to night life, art galleries and shopping, West Hollywood is a place for laughs. Check out alternative comedy with special guests Bob Goldthwait, Julia Sweeney, Margaret Cho and Moon Zappa at LunaPark's "Uncabaret" (665 N. Robertson Blvd.,  652-0611) at 7:30 p.m., or open-mike night at the Comedy Store (8433 Sunset Blvd.,  656-6225). Along with coffee and AIDS awareness materials, the Weho Lounge (8861 Santa Monica Blvd.,  360-0430) serves up a comedy improv show, "Uninvited Guests," Sundays at 8 p.m.