Incorporated as a city in 1984 (according to the Official City of West Hollywood website), West Hollywood is noted for its trendy nightspots like Mickeys, Rage, the Factory, the Troubador, House of Blues, Whisky-a-Go-go and the notorious Viper Room. The famed Sunset Strip (Doheny to Crescent heights) is within the city borders. West Hollywood is also home to several famous restaurants, including Spago, Lucque, Cafe Med and Jerry's Famous Deli.

West Hollywood's population is about 45% gay, bisexual or transgender (35% gay male, 7% bisexual and 3% lesbian). The city is known for its progressive stance on gay rights and features domestic partnership registration.

The city does not have its own police force and is instead served by the Los Angeles County Sherriff's Department.