6. Nate, Al, Muhammad and VanessaTaschen store (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
Nate 'nl, the deli at 414 N. Beverly Drive, dates to the 1940s. Its furnishings are as glamorous as Chelsea Handler is chaste. You can count on ample supplies of matzo ball soup and perhaps some schmoozing by talk-show icon Larry King, who's been a breakfast regular for years. When you're full, stroll down the block and boldly step into the Taschen store (354 N. Beverly Drive), which is run by the L.A.-based publisher of the same name. But leave the young ones at home. This elegantly arranged shop, which feels more like a gallery, is full of pricey, arty, lavish and often naughty books. Instead of "Harry Potter" and "Silas Marner," you'll find a $70 copy of "Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs," a $15,000 "champ's edition" of the Muhammad Ali tribute volume "GOAT" and a $700 appreciation of porn star Vanessa del Rio, promiscuously illustrated. As you leave, hang your head in mourning, because this is the last bookshop in Beverly Hills.
7. Hotel havenFour Seasons hotel (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Beverly Hills and environs have plenty of famous hotels, including the luxury-laden Peninsula Beverly Hills and L'Ermitage, the celebrity-heavy Four Seasons Hotel (just outside Beverly Hills) and the massive Beverly Hilton. But the elder statesman is the 210-room Beverly Hills Hotel (9641 Sunset Blvd.), which opened in 1912. Just a glimpse of the lobby's golden glow and artful palm fronds hints that fame and fortune are concentrated here, and the rack rates confirm it: $475 a night and up. So maybe you'll settle for breakfast in its Polo Lounge, where orange juice is $8 and the latest issue of Le Monde awaits your perusal. But like Grace Kelly, Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe before you, maybe you'll prefer a place to hide rather than a place to see and be seen. In that case, the Beverly Hills Hotel's slightly pricier sibling, the Hotel Bel Air (701 Stone Canyon Road in a lush canyon 2.7 miles northwest), will reopen Oct. 14 after a two-year-closure to add 12 rooms and a spa. In case you've lost track of who owns both of these lodgings, it's the Brunei Investment Agency — in other words, the sultan of Brunei.
8. SoBev and beyondMuseum of Tolerance (Ken Hively)
First, fuel up in SoBev (Beverly Drive south of Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills) with breakfast or lunch at the affordable, busy Urth Caffe (267 S. Beverly Drive). Now, slowly drive past Heath Avenue and Olympic Boulevard, where you'll spy the backside of Beverly Hills High School (241 Moreno Drive) and the campus oil well, wrapped in what looks like an enormous floral-patterned oven mitt. Three blocks east of the oil well, on Olympic, pause if you like at Roxbury Memorial Park, where there's tennis, soccer, baseball and play structures. Now take a deep breath and ready yourself for a sobering look at multiculturalism, history and the Holocaust, tailored to suit children and adults. That's the mission of the Museum of Tolerance (9786 W. Pico Blvd.; adult admission $15.50), which opened in 1993. Now surely you're wrung out, so consider the 49-room Mosaic Hotel (125 S. Spalding Drive), which is more boutique than resort and sometimes has discount rates as low as $225 nightly.
9. The Bruins' DenUCLA (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Maybe it will help you feel young to see those UCLA freshmen kicking a ball around on the lawn between Royce Hall and Powell Library. Or maybe, recalling that these kids were born in 1993, you'll feel otherwise. Either way, with its 420 acres and nearly 40,000 students, the UCLA campus in Westwood will stretch your legs and brain. Consider alumni such as tennis star Arthur Ashe, basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, director Francis Ford Coppola and musician Jim Morrison (and that's just a sampling from the late '60s). Wander on your own or join one of the free student-led tours for prospective students and their parents most weekdays and Saturdays (www.admissions.ucla.edu/tours.htm). At Royce Hall, the 2011-2012 season's 36 gigs include violinist Itzhak Perlman, author Joan Didion and banjo master Earl Scruggs. On the sidewalks of neighboring Westwood Village, you'll wish for more bohemian hangouts and fewer national brands, but you will find the Geffen Playhouse (10886 Le Conte Ave.), which often features big names on its stage, and the Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Blvd.), which spotlights cutting-edge contemporary art.
10. The stars at rest and a Persian dessertPierce Bros. Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Just south of Wilshire Boulevard, hidden behind a clutch of tall buildings, you'll find the Pierce Bros. Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary, a grassy territory covering barely 2 acres. Marilyn Monroe rests in a crypt (her name surrounded by lipstick kisses) near the northern corner of the property. The graves of Fanny Brice, Truman Capote, Jack Lemmon, Karl Malden and Walter Matthau are nearby, along with others who couldn't resist one more punch line. Rodney Dangerfield's headstone: "There goes the neighborhood." Merv Griffin's: "I will not [underlined] be right back after this message." You'll also notice a lot of Persian names and writing in the neighborhood; thousands of Persians, many of them Jewish, arrived when Islamic fundamentalists took over Iran in the late 1970s. About five blocks south of the cemetery, step into modest Saffron & Rose Ice Cream (1387 Westwood Blvd.), a family business that specializes in Persian flavors. The top seller is an explosion of sweetness known as saffron-pistachio. Buy a scoop for $3.25 and hang on to your bastani (that's ice cream in Persian).
11. Brentwood's Barn and ArkSkirball Cultural Center (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
The Brentwoodtry Mart (225 26th St., Santa Monica) looks like a bad idea. In one of California's elite neighborhoods, a low-rise fake barn? Really? Yet locals love it, and it feeds many a trendy mom's retail dreams. The Country Mart, which opened in 1948 as a smaller version of the Farmers Market in the Fairfax area, has more than 25 boutiques and stalls, a handful of casual eateries, one stylish bookshop and two little courtyards where, on a weekday afternoon, you're likely to find scampering kids in private-school uniforms, or perhaps Reese Witherspoon grabbing coffee. Next, hop on Interstate 405 and head north to the Skirball Cultural Center (2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.), whose exhibits and performances aim to connect Jewish culture with American history. If you're under 10, the highlight is Noah's Ark, an 8,000-square-foot interactive Old Testament playground where lightning flashes on command, a conveyor belt speeds ark embarkation, climbing ropes dangle enticingly and close to 400 large and small toy animals, many recycled from household materials, compete for attention. (There's rubber animal scat too.) You'll want time-certain reservations ($5 a kid ages 2-12, $10 per adult) for visits on weekends, Thursdays or holidays. Crowds are lighter on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
12. Culture castleGetty Center (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
When Southern California devolves into feudalism, the sensible place for the new king will be atop Brentwood in the gleaming, sprawling Getty Center. This museum, backed by billions from late oil man J. Paul Getty, opened in 1997, its campus covering 110 acres. Park underground (parking is $15, museum admission is free) and keep your sunglasses handy: Those white walls, designed by Richard Meier, are fiercely reflective. Take the monorail up the hill and head for the West Pavilion, which houses photography below and Impressionists above, including Van Gogh's vibrant "Irises," the museum's biggest star. From the south-facing balcony, behold a cactus garden hanging in the sky, more or less. Walk (or roll) down the grassy slope to artist Robert Irwin's circular Central Garden, with its floating maze of azaleas. Before long you'll want to snack at one of the center's two cafes, or maybe a fancy lunch farther upstairs at the Restaurant, which has a mountain view. Then, like one of David Hockney's figures disappearing into a deep blue pool, you dive back into the art.