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Stargazing in L.A.: Top Spots for Sighting Celebrities

Celebrities pop up everywhere in L.A. If you spend enough time here, you'll surely bump into a few of them. If you're in the city for only a short time, however, it's best to go on the offensive.

Restaurants are your surest bet. Dining out is such a popular recreation among Hollywood's elite that you sometimes wonder whether frequently sighted folks like Nicole, Kobe, and Harrison ever actually eat at home. Places like Dan Tana's, Mr. Chow, Nobu, the Ivy, Il Sole, Koi, Osteria Mozza, Cut, the Polo Lounge, the Grill on the Alley and Spago Beverly Hills can almost guarantee sightings most nights of the week. The city's stylish hotels can also be good spots -- the poolside cabanas at the Viceroy in Santa Monica are a good bet; the Sunset Tower Hotel draws stars like Jennifer Aniston to its Tower Bar dining room. Shutters' lobby lounge is the rendezvous of choice for famous faces heading to dinner at the hotel's One Pico restaurant; and spotting stars at the Beverly Hills Hotel is almost too easy. The trendiest clubs and bars -- Teddy's, Voyeur, Skybar -- are good for star sighting, but cover charges can be astronomical and the velvet-rope gauntlet oppressive. And A-list sightings aren't a guarantee: Expect a lot of reality show stars from The Hills and any one of the Kardashian sisters.

Often the best places to see members of the A-list aren't as obvious as a back-alley stage door or the front room of Spago. Shops along Sunset Boulevard are often star-heavy, as are chichi shops within the Beverly Center mall. Book Soup, that browser's paradise on the Sunset Strip, is usually good for a star or two. A midafternoon stroll along Melrose Avenue might also produce a familiar face (particularly at Fred Segal), likewise for the chic European-style shops of Sunset Plaza or the Beverly Center.

Or you can seek out the celebrities on the job. It's not uncommon for star-studded movie productions to use L.A.'s diverse cultural landscape for location shots; in fact, it's such a regular occurrence that locals are usually less impressed with an A-list presence than perturbed about the precious parking spaces lost to all those equipment trucks and dressing-room trailers. On-the-street movie shoots are part of what makes L.A. unique, and onlookers gather wherever hastily scrawled production signs point to a hot site.

If you're really intent on seeing as many stars as possible, log on to www.seeing-stars.com, a website that keeps tabs on where all the stars shop, eat, stay, and play in L.A.

Body Double -- Here's a really cheap and easy way to get a great seat at a fancy Hollywood award ceremony: Log on to Seatfiller.com and sign up to be one of those people who makes sure all the front seats are occupied.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.