Why L.A.’s Bird Streets are West Hollywood’s top celebrity magnet

Why are so many celebrities drawn to the Bird Streets, a secluded residential neighborhood in West Hollywood? Well, there’s the privacy, there’s the location right above the Strip, there’s the jaw dropping views, and then there’s the history.

Ioana Neamt
16 Min Read
Photo credit: Photo by BP Miller on Unsplash

Before we start talking about the ultra-luxurious, ultra-private Los Angeles enclave known as the Bird Streets, let’s set the ambiance, shall we?

Put on your favorite ’60s or ’70s record, whether it’s Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, or The Doors, pour some whiskey, light up a cigar — whatever it takes to get you in that ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ mood.

Because that’s exactly what the Bird Streets are all about, and we’re going to tell you why. 

And we’ll top that off with some hard data on real estate prices and the type of homes you can find in this coveted area of Los Angeles — with insight from a top local agent: Michael Nourmand, president of leading local brokerage Nourmand & Associates.

Where are the Bird Streets and who lives there?

The Bird Streets is an exclusive neighborhood perched above L.A.’s infamous Sunset Strip, close to major movie studios, nightclubs, and high-end restaurants and shops.

Here, high in the hills and (a few minutes) away from the madding crowd, all the streets are named after birds; for instance: Oriole Way, Thrasher Avenue, Nightingale Drive, Robin Drive, Swallow Drive, Bluebird Avenue, Thrush Way, Skylark Lane, Blue Jay Way, Mockingbird Place, or Hummingbird Place. 

The streets were named between 1920 and the 1960s, and they can be found nestled within the 90069 zip code of Los Angeles, bordering the Trousdale Estates of Beverly Hills to the west, Sunset Plaza and the Hollywood Hills to the north and east, and the Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, and La Collina Estates to the south. 

Over the years, the Bird Streets have served as home to countless A-list celebrities, including Larry Flint, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jerry Seinfeld, Bad Bunny, Jodie Foster, late F.R.I.E.N.D.S. actor Matthew Perry, Herbie Hancock, Christina Aguilera, and many more. 

The list can go on and on.

Lionel Ritchie and Grant Cardone both used to live at 1401 Oriole Drive; Inspector Gadget creator Andy Heward used to live at 1634 Blue Jay Way; Ricardo Montalban lived at 1423 Oriole Drive; Jodie Foster used to own 9219 Flicker Way; while Stan Lee once resided at 9155 Warbler Place. 

Dr. Dre used to own the home at 9161 Oriole Drive, and sold it for a whopping $32 million in 2015. Jennifer Aniston and former fiancé Justin Theroux used to rent a property in the Bird Streets for $17,000 a month.

And just a couple of years ago, Ariana Grande sold her Bird Streets home for $14 million, followed by another $8.3 million sale of a nearby cottage to chart-topping Latin superstar Bad Bunny.  

How the Bird Streets’ Blue Jay Way inspired a Beatles song

Fun fact, Keanu Reeves is also a resident of the Bird Streets enclave, residing in a super-private home on Thrasher Avenue

But perhaps the most well-known resident of this famous neighborhood is the late Beatles guitarist George Harrison. 

Harrison used to rent the house at 1567 Blue Jay Way back in the summer of 1967.

One evening, he was waiting at his 4,116-square-foot home for his friend and publicist Derek Taylor to arrive. Taylor was running late because of a deep fog that covered the narrow, winding roads leading up to Harrison’s place. 

Taking full advantage of the exquisite, unobstructed views of Los Angeles that his home offered, Harrison passed the time by writing the song ‘Blue Jay Way.’

The lyrics were inspired by the events of the moment, as Harrison sang ‘There’s a fog upon L.A., and my friends have lost their way.’

The song was featured on The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, and drew attention to this private, exclusive, celebrity-laden part of Hollywood. 

Why the Hollywood elite keeps flocking to the Bird Streets

So, we’ve already talked about all the extremely famous people who’ve lived on L.A.’s Bird Streets. But you might be asking yourself: why are all these people so eager to live here?

What’s so special about the Bird Streets?

For starters, it’s all about location. This private neighborhood is perched atop the legendary Sunset Strip, which is lined with top-class restaurants, clubs, concert venues, and retailers. 

“The Bird Streets are a bachelor’s paradise,” leading local real estate agent Michael Nourmand tells us.

“The area is known for having the best views in Los Angeles and epic parties. The location is central so you are close to The Viper Room (nightclub), Madeo (restaurant), Sunset Towers (hotel), and Soho House (social club) among many other notable places. And people rarely talk about the ability to take side streets and avoid traffic on Sunset Blvd.”

says Michael Nourmand, President of Nourmand and Associates Realtors®

Then there’s the privacy. The long and twisted roads leading to the mansions on the Bird Streets are not for the faint of heart, but even if you decide to take a stroll and maybe a peek at some celebrity homes, don’t hold your breath.

Each of the homes on the Bird Streets benefits from a high level of privacy, protected by tall trees and vegetation and nestled safely by the Hills themselves. 

Celebrities are willing to pay exorbitant prices for their privacy, but they also enjoy unobstructed views, and the Bird Streets offer just that.

view from a celebrity house on Bird Streets
The view from the terrace of Bird Streets house once owned by MedMen co-founder Andrew Modlin. Photo credit: The Agency

“Celebrities usually prefer to live in the hills because it’s better for privacy. Therefore, they like The Bird Streets because it offers the best views and some of the most expensive homes in Los Angeles,” Michael Nourmand tells us.

This is probably the main reason why so many famous people have decided to settle down here. The streets provide exquisite, yet very private, views of Los Angeles, the Strip, and even the Pacific Ocean.

In fact, much of the area features terraced lots, to preserve this privacy and ensure everyone has access to amazing views.

Bird Streets home prices reflect the exclusivity of the area

Bird Streets homes with the best views will usually sell for twice as much as those with ‘meh’ views. 

It’s because of these magnificent views that the Bird Streets can fetch prices that are usually only found in Malibu’s Carbon Beach.

In 2023, a total of 21 sales closed in the Bird Streets neighborhood, with sale prices ranging from $2,100,000 to $25,000,000. The average price per square foot for a home in the area was $1,772, while the median listing price was no less than $12.9 million. 

But properties here often fetch much higher prices than that, and ‘shovel-ready’ homes tend to sell especially fast.

Teardowns and spec homes are reportedly extremely popular in this neighborhood, as there’s always another celebrity looking to build an extravagant, custom home from the ground up. 

Ask a local agent

To get a better feel of the local real estate market in this coveted enclave, we’ve reached out to Michael Nourmand, a leading local agent and President of Nourmand and Associates, who is intimately familiar with the area, having represented several homes in the neighborhood.

Q: Are some of the streets in this neighborhood more affordable than the others? Which bird-named streets tend to command higher prices, and which ones are more accessible, price-wise? 

A: “There is a wide range of values. The best streets tend to have the best views. Robin, Blue Jay, Oriole, & Tanager are prime streets. The main variables are the view, size of the house, layout (vertical homes are harder to sell), lot size, and access to the backyard.”

Q: What are some of the particularities of the houses in this neighborhood?

A: “Views and privacy. The Bird Streets have many noteworthy modern homes. There were homes done many years ago by prominent architects such as Richard Neutra and John Lautner. And “starchitects” of this era like Zoltan Pali, Osklo, XTEN Architecture, and Paul McClean.”

Q: What do you advise your clients to pay attention to when buying in the area?

A:I tell my clients to focus on the location, view, layout, and access to the backyard even if that means they sacrifice on the size of the house.

Further speaking about the diverse offering of million-dollar homes in the neighborhood, Michael highlighted just how unique the Bird Streets houses are:

A: “I went to the Broker’s Open for 1375 Doheny Dr which is an incredible modern home owned by Tinder co-founder Sean Rad that was in Architectural Digest. And a few doors up, I toured 1401 Doheny which the interiors were done by Tim Corrigan. And I sold a home on Doheny Dr last year for nearly $12M where the landscaping was done by world-famous landscape architect Scott Shrader. Each of these three homes was special and interesting. This is part of the draw to the neighborhood.”

From bird tweets to rock’n’roll: the Bird Streets’ decades-long connection to music

Perhaps when you first started reading this article, you weren’t sure what we were rambling about.

That’s perfectly understandable, as not many people know about the Bird Streets.

As a mostly residential neighborhood, one of its main attractions is the proximity to the buzzing Sunset Strip — which we’re sure you’re already familiar with. 

View of world famous Hollywood Boulevard district in Los Angeles, California, USA at twilight.
View of world-famous Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, CA at twilight. Photo credit: f11photo / Shutterstock.com

The Strip, lined with iconic restaurants and clubs, and a magnet for equally-iconic celebrities, was a celebrity Mecca during the 1960s and 1970s in Hollywood, and its popularity has never really dwindled.

Everyone and anyone wanted to get in one of the exclusive clubs on the Strip, because there was a 101% chance you’d run into a celebrity there.

You might not have heard of Robin Drive or Thrasher Avenue before, but you might be familiar with some of the clubs located along the Strip, just 5 minutes from the Bird Streets.

The Viper Room at 8852 Sunset Boulevard is a nightclub and live music venue founded and previously owned by Johnny Depp. It was a popular hangout-and-party spot for celebrities in the 1990s.

Unfortunately, it’s also where young actor River Phoenix died of a drug overdose in 1993, and where INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence played his last public performance in 1997.

While its crazy days are (for the most part) behind it, The Viper Room is still open today, and hosts live bands pretty much every night. 

A little further down the road is the iconic Whiskey A Go Go, a historic nightclub and music venue that opened back in 1964.

This is where The Doors, early in their careers, once served as the house band — before Jim Morrison infamously got fired.

It’s also where Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, The Byrds, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, KISS, Frank Zappa, and The Ramones graced the stage, among many, many others. 

Just a short walk from the Whiskey lies yet another iconic Sunset Strip staple, namely The Roxy Theater.

exterior of The Roxy Theater in Los Angeles
The Roxy Theater in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Walter Cicchetti / Shutterstock

Located on the site of a previous strip club, The Roxy opened in 1973, with Neil Young and Crazy Horse performing there for the first three days.

A few months later, The Roxy housed Genesis, with Peter Gabriel at the helm — it turned out to be one of the finest performances in the band’s history.

Then, in 1974, The Rocky Horror Show play had its first American run at The Roxy, and just one year later it was turned into the now-iconic movie starring Tim Curry.

Last but not least, Alice Cooper and The Who’s Keith Moon frequently hung out with John Lennon at The Roxy during the Beatles’ 18-month-long ‘lost weekend.’ 

So when celebrities like Leo DiCaprio and Keanu Reeves, who probably grew up listening to these legendary musicians, and dreaming of one day seeing them play The Whiskey or The Roxy, get a chance to live minutes from these iconic venues, they will surely make the best of the opportunity.

Wouldn’t you do the same? 

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Experienced writer with a background in real estate and a fondness for soaring skyscrapers and Victorian-style mansions. With past bylines in several industry publications, including CPExecutive, MHN.com, and CommercialCafe, Ioana has now transitioned into a digital marketing role, leading the content efforts for SRD Media and real estate marketing firm #Markethink.