Beverly Hills, California on a Budget; An Insiders Guide is part of our Travel Tips & Tricks series because lets face it. . . who doesn’t love to be out in the mix of the city life while still being conscious of their pocketbook! I think for the most part we’re all happy when we can spread our travel moolah around and get the best bang for our buck! Beverly Hills is one of “those” places that must be seen and experienced when visiting Los Angeles, California. It’s always bursting with the latest in everything trendy from fashion and restaurants plus so much more! Keep reading to learn about the history of Beverly Hills as a place of wealth and beauty which has continued since the days of the Tongva (1700’s Native American inhabitants) who taught to appreciate the abundance of the present while preserving the past.
Beverly Hills, California on a Budget; An Insiders Guide
Main Attractions in Beverly Hills, California
Beverly Hills is a city in California’s Los Angeles County. Home to many Hollywood stars, it features the upscale shopping street of Rodeo Drive. The expansive Beverly Gardens Park has fountains and rose gardens, plus the illuminated Beverly Hills sign. If you were raised in the 90’s then the zip code 90210 will ring a bell! The American teenage drama Beverly Hills 90210 television series ran for ten seasons straight and it really is one of the main zip codes in Beverly Hills.
An evening in Beverly Hills, California on a Budget
I was recently visiting my sister in Los Angeles, California and I noticed that she has developed a knack (after living in West LA for 20+ years) of the Los Angeles “insiders scoop” and how to be apart of the all hustle & bustle while keeping it budget friendly. So, I asked her if she cared that I share some on the blog and thankfully she didn’t mind at all! So lets give her a huge thank you for these awesome tips and tricks today plus in the next few weeks I’ll be writing a couple more posts too. SOooo with that. . . we’re off to explore Beverly Hills, California on a budget! As we were headed out the door Camey and I decided to order an Uber so we could both enjoy the evening without worrying about who would drive after a glass of wine. . . it’s also a nice way to avoid looking for parking in Beverly Hills! AND I always think it’s best to be safe if you’re dining out and planning to enjoy alcohol beverages. 🙂
Caffé Roma Ristorante and Lounge in Beverly Hills, California
First, we headed to Caffe Roma Ristorante and Lounge in the center of Beverly Hills for their Happy Hour which runs Monday-Thursday until close and on weekends from 3-8pm. Happy hour seating is outside on the patio and if it’s a little on the chilly side they’ve got plenty of heat lamps/blankets available to keep you nice and cozy! There’s also more seating inside on the side of the restaurant with the full bar. During happy hour they offer 51% off select wines, beers, and cocktails along with an assortment of 5$ appetizers. She obliged me in sharing a selection of tapas from the happy hour menu because I always love to taste as many items as I can.
From left to right in the photo above:
Some of our favorites are. . . their Arugula Salad with Cheese and that’s exactly what you get but LOOK at all that fabulous cheese!! If you love parmigiano reggiano cheese like I love it then you’ll be in heaven with this salad too. Next, is the Octopus Salad with Red Potatoes and this one is hands-down my sisters favorite dish on the menu! Then, we had the Sweet Potato Fries which are a must-try! (of course, that’s just a given for me whenever I find them on a menu.) We really loved them as we found them to be the perfect combination of softness inside with that perfectly crunchy outside. Lastly, Penne Pasta with Red Sauce and you know how well the Italians do this one. . . enough said there! Delish. It was a perfect way to begin our evening in Beverly Hills! Next we took a little stroll up Canyon Drive for about two blocks to Mastro’s Steakhouse for cocktails and more menu samplings.
Cocktails at Mastro’s Steakhouse Beverly Hills, California
Mastro’s Steakhouse is a classy, high end restaurant where you could spend a small fortune on a meal but not when you are with my sister! We walked through the lower restaurant to the elevator and up to Mastro’s Penthouse on the upper floors where they have piano bar style singers who even take song requests, restaurant seating, and cocktail bars. We also enjoyed another couple of items from the Mastro’s menu!
At Mastro’s Penthouse we had a sampling of the bread basket and butter which is lovely, the Lobster Cocktail and Jumbo Shrimp Cocktails are stunning in presentation, freshness, and flavor! And in the photo below the Roasted Beet and Burrata Cheese which is layers of fabulous flavors and textures! Then last but not least you’ve got to try the famed Mastro’s Lobster Mashed Potatoes and ohhhhh my. . . you’ll simply think you’ve died and gone straight to heaven!
As a side note: if you stick to the starter and side menus they are filling, lovely, and much more reasonable on the pocketbook. You can also just enjoy a beverage and listen to the music on both the second and third floors without even ordering food menu items. Either way you’ll enjoy every minute!
At Mastro’s the piano players and singers are so much fun, the food and service is exquisite, and the ambiance is second to none. Mastro’s Penthouse has got to be on your bucket list when visiting Beverly Hills, California.
Thrift Shopping in Beverly Hills, California
One last tip which I think is truly wonderful are the American Cancer Society Discovery Shops
Featured Events from the Visitors Bureau
One more awesome resource to help you be in the “know” while visiting Beverly Hills is found at the Visitors Bureau website under Featured Events at Love Beverly Hills.com. The Beverly Hills Historical Society has great information on walking tours too!
The History of Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills was a prosperous and sought-after location long before it was discovered by the movie industry. At the beginning, our fabled El Dorado was blessed with the most precious commodity in Southern California: water. The source of this fertility comprises three dramatic canyons: Franklin, Coldwater and Benedict. Moisture gathers on the hills and flows down to form streams that join at the nexus of Beverly Drive and Sunset Boulevard. Native American inhabitants, the Tongva or Gabrielinos, considered it a sacred site, naming it the Gathering of the Waters or, in Spanish, El Rodeo de las Aguas.
Before the arrival of Spanish explorers, the Tongva led a peaceful life nourished by abundant game and meadows filled with wild oats, cucumber, buckwheat, cress and prickly pear. Their everyday lives were guided by animistic religious practice inspired by an environment filled with color: blue lupine, orange poppies, red foxtail, wild roses, fuchsia and golden rod.
The fateful first contact between these peaceful natives and Europeans occurred just north of what are Olympic and La Cienega boulevards on August 3, 1769. Friar Juan Crespi, who served as Chaplain on the legendary expedition of Don Jose Gaspar de Portola, kept a journal. He recorded a magical passage through a “large vineyard of wild grapes and an infinity of rose bushes. After traveling about half a league we came to a village of this region,” recorded the Friar, “people came into the road, greeted us and offered seeds.”
Their “gift of life” proved ironic, for these armed Spanish tourists spelled doom for the Gabrielinos. Their medicinal arts were powerless against an imported smallpox epidemic, which destroyed two thirds of the local Native population in 1844. Mistreatment by European settlers soon did the rest.
Rancho Beverly Hills
In 1838, the Mexican governor of California deeded the land grant El Rodeo de las Aguas to Maria Rita Valdez Villa, the Afro Latina widow of a Spanish soldier. Maria Rita, an early California feminist icon, built an adobe ranch house near the intersection of present day Sunset Boulevard and Alpine Drive. She employed a vast posse of cowboys and proceeded to raise cattle and horses.
As was the custom of a time, Maria Rita permitted her livestock to wander freely, but once a year a festive roundup, another kind of rodeo, was held beneath a huge eucalyptus tree at the corner of Pico and Robertson boulevards.In 1852, three Native Americans ambushed Maria Rita’s rancho. A shoot-out and siege followed in a grove of walnut trees at Benedict Canyon and Chevy Chase Drive. Maria Rita survived, but the battle may have influenced her decision just two years later to sell the ranch to Benjamin D. Wilson and Henry Hancock for $4000. However, the legendary waters deserted the new owners; a drought decimated their crops and their cattle died in parched stream beds. However, their names live on today in nearby Mt. Wilson and Hancock Park.
Birth of a City
In 1900, Burton Green, along with several partners, purchased “Morocco” for the Amalgamated Oil Company and commissioned a new round of oil exploration. After drilling many unproductive wells, they reorganized as the Rodeo Land and Water Company in 1906. Green and his wife renamed the land Beverly Hills after Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. To further stimulate development, the Beverly Hills Hotel was constructed in 1912 at the site of the Gathering of the Waters. It was served by a Dinky railroad, as wondrous in its day as the monorail at Disneyland appeared in the 1950s. The hotel became the center of community life, serving as theater, meeting place and church. The City was incorporated in 1914.
Beverly Hills a Modern City
In the post World War II years, Beverly Hills continued to develop as one of the most glamorous places in the world to live, eat, play and, especially, shop. The Golden Triangle, with Rodeo Drive at its center, was built and marketed to the rest of the world as the shopping destination of a lifetime. Many other glamorous hotels opened, notably the Beverly Wilshire, attracting visitors from all over the world. The City’s iconic image was enhanced with the spread of television shows and movies set in Beverly Hills, among them The Jack Benny Show in the 1950s, The Beverly Hillbillies in the 1960s and, more recently, Beverly Hills Cop in the 1980s and Beverly Hills 90210 in the 1990s.
By the 1950’s, few vacant lots remained and developers cropped whole mountains to ease the housing shortage. Today, such excessive development has stopped and the population is around 34,000 and growing slowly. But the mystique of Beverly Hills as a place of wealth and beauty continues to grow as it has since the days of the Tongva — who taught residents to appreciate of the abundance of the present while preserving what remains of the past with reverence.
The above information is an excerpt from the Beverly Hills City Website
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