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It’s a winter-wonderful life along Rodeo Drive this time of year check it out

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After a day of preening (at Nelson j Salon), enjoying happy hour (at Wolfgang’s) and shopping, we decided to check out the spectacular holiday decorations festooning Rodeo Drive. The gilded boulevard—an internationally renowned shopping mecca for the rich and famous—shines brilliantly with more than 100,000 lights illuminated its path, 19 brilliantly lit birch trees, 42 iridescent palm trees, hundreds of red poinsettias, twinkling stars (some the live kind) and one upscale shop after another decorated outside the box (see Cartier on the slideshow).

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(View the 2013 Rodeo Drive Holiday Lighting Video HERE, it's amazing).

Beverly Hills backstory:

Until the 1880s, the area now called Beverly Hills was just a lot of lima bean farms. Legend has it that founder Burton Green picked the original name, Beverly Farms, from a place in Massachusetts where President William Howard Taft vacationed. In 1907, Wilbur Cook designed the present city for the Rodeo Land and Water Company, laying out the triangular grid of business streets at a 45-degree angle to Wilshire and the curving residential streets north to Sunset.

The Olmsted brothers created the picturesque streets that wind through the hills above Sunset Boulevard as though in a landscaped park. One of the first buildings was the Beverly Hills Hotel, which was completed around 1912, but much of the surrounding area remained undeveloped until long after. As late as 1946, agent Leland Hayward was offered a snake-infested tract of hilly land in a prime location at a bargain price; that miserable property is today’s affluent Trousdale Estates.

The city spotlights two showcase streets, Wilshire Blvd. and Rodeo Drive, both with astronomically expensive shops and hordes of tourists who flock there in hopes of seeing stars arriving by limousine to check into hotels, shop or dine. Those who can afford it shop, others browse and dream big.

Rodeo’s main retail area is bounded by North Cañon Drive, Wilshire Boulevard, and Santa Monica Boulevard South—is known as the Golden Triangle. Rodeo Drive, which slices north and south through this gilded gateway, is LA’s answer to London’s Bond Street, Rome’s Via Condotti, and Paris’s Rue du Faubourg-St-Honoré. From Armani to Versace, Cartier to Tiffany, Chanel to Hermès, every top fashion name is represented in this high-rent retail district and along the blocks of Wilshire Boulevard.

Whether you can afford Rodeo Drive price tags or not, the decorations are free and worth heading over for a look. Go in the evening and stop for the happy hour at Wolfgang’s where drinks cost $8 and great tasting dishes go for $9 a plate (the tuna tartare is exceptional).

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