Los Angeles Things to Do Tips by marinarena Top 5 Page for this destination
Los Angeles Things to Do: 1,549 reviews and 2,946 photos
Delicious food at Taste of Soul, Los Angeles, CA
Dubbed as the largest L.A. street festival, Taste of Soul celebrates "soulfulness" in community collaboration, food and drink, music and artistic performance. Drawing over 300,000 attendants to the heart of South LA, the free extravaganza is geared towards families and benefits the community at large. Though the culture presentation is predominantly rooted in black American and African customs and traditions, the festival is a celebration of ethnic diversity and participants along with the attendees represent all ethnic backgrounds.
Place/Times: One day event in October, from roughly 9 AM -6 PM
Food and Drink at TOS:
Favorites of African-American cuisine, such as, fried chicken and fish (often catfish), collard greens, mac and cheese, sweet potato pie, cornbread, pecan pie, barbeque ribs and meats, New Orleans style cuisine (Cajun meat and seafood, beignets,etc), Caribbean dishes, banana pudding, black-eye peas peach cobbler.
African cuisine includes meat/veggie/bread dishes from Ethiopia, Sudan and various West African countries.
Other common foods include American standards: burgers, hot dogs, salads, plus Latin American foods( street tacos, burritos, tamales, pupusas (savory Salvadoran pastries, etc), Asian/ Pacific Islander foods and much more.
There are multiple stages featuring musicians, dancers and other performing acts. Often, acts are locally based. Usual acts include gospel choirs, jazz bands, classic R& B and hip hop artists). Beyond the stage, there are some impromptu performers (break dancers, magicians, spoken word artists, etc)
Free demos, free giveaways (souvenirs, beauty products, etc), free tastings (from some small food vendors and major sponsors like McDonalds). Also, the L.A. mayor, other noted local personalities and some celebrities make appearances.
Taste of Soul is highly attended. Use regular precaution with crowding in consideration. There is a positive atmosphere and safe feeling during the event. There is no major reason to skip out on going to Taste of Soul despite the event taking place in South LA, an area which does experience high crime rates. Good policing and security measures plus the daytime operation of everything makes for a secure feeling.
Good news. This event is very easy to attend via public transit, off the Metro Rail (MTA) Expo Line/ Crenshaw Blvd. There is minimal walking after arriving at stop (5-10 min to get to the gate). MTA buses 210 and 710 are also useful. Free shuttles are available from nearby spots in the neighborhood. If driving, come early. There is a full freeway suggestion guide on the festival website. Warning: Parking gets super tight during the event.
Social Media/ Hashtag:
Directions: Crenshaw Boulevard between Stocker Boulevard and Rodeo Road in South Los Angeles
Lotus Festival scenes, 2005, Los Angeles, CA
Lotus Festival had been on hiatus the past few years but once L.A. has ponied up the funds to run this again. Taking place in July each year, the Lotus Festival is a seasonal event that shows off cultural Los Angeles, celebrating Asian culture in a very broad sense. Cultures from the orient, SE Asia, Pacific Islands and from other parts of the Asian continent are represented in song and dance performances, merchandise, art and food. The backdrop of Echo Park Lake provides a wonderful scenery. Check Facebook site for updated info on festival schedule and much more.
Note for amateaur and pro photographers. Lotus will dazzle your snapshots! Shoot away all around the pond!
Directions: Echo Park Lake, L.A.
off 101 fwy, Glendale Blvd and Park Ave.
or Echo Park and Bellevue Ave.
Phone: 213 847-0096
Farmer's Market, Los Angeles
Once a small produce merchant lot known as Gilmore Island, the (Original) Farmers Market has become a must-experience attraction of Los Angeles. There are many reasons to make your way here, located at 3rd St and Fairfax Ave. Most reasons are food-related! Here one can grab a bite to eat, dine and shop for FRESH fruits, vegetables, meats, candies and other edible delights (FRESH has to be in caps here because so often we Americans go for the quick, frozen foods and sometimes neglect ourselves from eating fresh foods)
There is a huge variety of ethnic foods at the several outdoor and indoor FM eateries. Choose from French, Greek, Middle Eastern, Russian, Brazilian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Cajun, and yeah, even Singaporean- plus more! Of course, there is good ol' American and specialized california craving from which to choose.
Market patrons have their favorite grubbing destinations. Some of the top ones for a great meal are Dupars (Americana style diner), Monsieur Marcel (fancy French. most foo-foo impressive place to dine here), The French Crepe Company (perhaps my fave of all), Loteria! (Mexican) and Bryan's Pit BBQ (oh my, the kitchen smell from pit alone upon entering the main gate makes your lips smack!). The hardest thing to do will be deciding on just where to dine!
Support local businesses well here at FM. Do upscale French inspired grocery and gift shopping at Monsieur Marcel, buy classic and unique L.A souvenirs and even buy attractive jewelry and knick knacks at several FM stalls.
Freeway direction below and on website. Because of the popularity of FM (and the adjoined Grove center), you may want to take public transit. Several public tranist options can be taken to arrive here, including MTA buses 14, 16, 217, 218, 316, 780 (rapid bus) and Dash (LA DOT) Fairfax bus. Also, FM/Grove is an official Starline tourist bus stop.
MORE PICS AND COMMENTARIES TO COME on ALL THAT IS FM!!!
Interesting Notes on FM:
This is FARMERS Market (no apostrophe. It took me so long to realize this!). It was previously known also as The Farmers Public Market.
FM founder Arthur Fremont Gilmore stuck not gold but oil here in these parts, though initially attempting just for drilling water.
The Gilmore family had make the land diverse by sucessfully adding a stadium where baseball, football and auto racing was enjoyed by Angelenos in the mid 1900s.
Walt Disney drew up some of his best designs while dining at FM back in the day.
Several film and TV scenes have been shot here, most notably on the Dick Van Dyke 's Diagnosis Murder.
About 90% of the merchants at FM are independently owned and operated.
Directions: 3rd and Fairfax, Los Angeles (Fairfax District)
FM is north of the 10 Fwy. Off the 10 fwy, exit Fairfax
Nokia Plaza, L.A. Live
Finally, downtown Los Angeles has a mega entertainment-restaurant center in the neighborhood development of L.A. Live. In 2010, the mega-million project is complete, with the premiere of the luxurious and hip JW Marriott and the grandiose Ritz Carlton. There is entertainent galore with Nokia Plaza, featuring Nokia Theater (new home of the Emmys and the ESPY award shows), the Conga Room (venue esp for Latin-themed performance), a huge Edwards cineplex and the Grammy Museum. Several restaurants, including, sushi mecca Katsuya, Boca at the Conga Room and the great steakhouse, Fleming's. For those who like to play, the trendy bowling alley, Lucky Strikes, makes for a fun night out. All of these are just steps away from the well-established Staples Center for major, crowd-pleasing sports and music events.
Warning! Expect traffic and parking nightmares here for events! There are still not enough parking spaces and premium ones can be rather pricey. Also, check out the L.A. Live calendar for new updates. There is always something exciting going on at this place.
Address: 800 W. Olympic Blvd
Directions: downtown LA, off the 110 (see website for detailed directions)
El Alisal, Lumis House, Los Angeles
This is a lovely spot east of downtown, towards the city of Pasadena. Lummis House, or El Alisal, is part of the Museums of the Arroyo (MOTA), an alternative cultural destination that is not as known as LACMA or the Getty but is very respectable and indeed worth seeing. Activist Charles Fletcher Lummis is the namesake of this floral paradise. His house, El Alisal, serves as the home of Los Angeles' oldest historical society.
The little 2 story castle is a bit inconspicuous, nestled with a modest neighborhood. Off the main city corridor of Figueroa St, El Alisal is a little weekend daytrip that may favorably alter your impression of Los Angeles. Take a tour of the 2 story home, filled with local artifacts of note. The handcrafted stone castle is architectural marvel, largely designed by Lummis himself. Local historians are on staff to give you rich information on Lummis, the man and home, as well as the early history of the city of Angels. Besides learning history, come here to walk in and explore the exquisite garden area, featuring a variety of seasonal and attractive drought resistant flowers and plants. Even the floral inspired bathroom wall on the property is impressive!
Come to the MOTA Day event any year if you can. Experience the Lummis and the other museums for free and with exclusive transportation to each location. Check out website for updated events.
MTA: Route 81, 83
Note: There is
Address: 200 East Avenue 43, Los Angeles
Directions: east of downtown L.A,
From Union Station area, go to Broadway/Cesar Chavez intersection and take the MTA 83 bus to Marmion/Ave 43, walk to address (passing Figueroa ST before reaching Lummis)
Natural History Museum fossil display, Los Angeles
Not every beauty is fake or unnatural in the city of Los Angeles. Don't believe so? Think again.
Discover the history of L.A. and the world, including the prehistoric dinosaur world at the very attractive and inviting Natural History Museum, in Exposition Park, by USC.
As one of the staple museums of the entire city and the largest natural history and science museum in the U.S.A, NHM is a must-do for all of you history and science buffs with a few hours to spare in your downtown adjacent L.A. visit. Take that, Smithsonian! Split up into several halls full of rare local and world artifacts, NHM is a delight for the eyes and mind.
If you or your kid goes gaga over dinosaurs, you'll love the several dino-riffic skeleton figures displayed in the magnificent Dinosaur Hall. There is a dedicated Dino Lab that works painstakingly on fossil collections.
Those who are fascinated with Los Angeles as a city, NHM is a perfect place to discover the city's origins and historic highlights from the 18th century to recent past of late last century. The "Becoming L.A". exhibit is a massive permanent feature of the museum which features an impressive 3-D model map of the city, several actual artifacts owned by citizens like clothing pieces, a life-size grizzly bear creation (Grizzly bear is the state animal of California) and much, much more.
Take the family, friends or go solo here. Get to NHM easily by Expo rail line. It's about a 10 min ride from downtown L.A., at 7th/Flower St. Parking can get problematic. It is somewhat limited in the museum lot and street parking costs $10 (cash only).
The museum was open in 1913.
Admission*: $12 adult, $9 students/children. Big school groups are free (lucky locals)
* subject to change
Check out the website for more details.
Address: 900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90007
Directions: USC/Exposition Park, by downtown L.A.
Phone: 213-763- DINO (3466)
Grammy Museum, Los Angeles
L.A. Live downtown is home to the Grammy Museum. The venue includes permanent and short term exhibitions from a great variety of musical artists. Famously, an extensive Michael Jackson memorabilia collection can be viewed. Also, viewed colorful costumes and various trinkets from The Beatles Love production and treasure pieces from Bob Dylan.
If you are lucky, you can see some of the most famous and respected names in music history play here for a very exclusive performance. Previous acts who have stopped include Ringo Starr (Beatles), Mike Wilson (Beach Boys), Heart, Glen Camobell, Lee Ann Rimes, Arlo Guthrie, Annie Lennox, Maxwell, Buddy Guy, Train, Roseanne Cash and Public Enemy. Artists "programs" are sure to sell out. Check often on grammy.com to try to score a much coveted (free) invite.
Outside the entrance, look down at Walk of Fame-ish sidewalk album etched tributes of past winners of major Grammy awards for: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Bets New Artist. Feel free to argue with your travel mates about some of the names cemented who have won.
Admission for the museum is $12.95 (regular/adult), $11.95 (senior 65+), $10.95 (youth/military). Ticket price subject to change. Watch out for coupon deals online for the venue because they often come up for 50% off.
Address: 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Ste. A245
Directions: downtown LA, L.A. Live, off Figueroa St., accessible by MTA AND Dash buses, blue line (Pico), Olympic/Figueroa intersection
This is a great cultural tip that's not on the typical L.A. tour guide. Just off a Gold Line Metro stop is the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, which is a part of the Mount Washington campus of the Gene Autry Museum. As the other museums of Autry, SMAI is dedicated to preserving history, culture and lifestyle of a far gone time. SMAI features intriquing exhibitions and events especially dedicated to local Californian, Northwestern and Great Plains Indians. The museum is not overwhelming, small enough to appreciate the artifacts
SMAI is open on Saturdays only, from 10 AM- 4 PM. A great time to go to the museum is during Museums of The Arroyo Day in May. For this special day and everyday, SMAI has free admission.
Get to SMAI easily by public transit. It's off the Gold Line, Southwest Museum Metro stop. The light rail trip to the museum is fun and easy to do. It's about a 10 min trip from downtown Los Angeles' Union Station Metro Gold Line stop. From the Metro, walk a block to the museum entrance. Signs will guide you there.
Address: 234 Museum Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Directions: between downtown L.A. and the city of Pasadena, off the Gold Line Metro.
Phone: (323) 221-2164
Pershing Square St. Patty's Day waterfall, L.A.
L.A may not be the most Irish city of America and may not be the best place for watching a more authentic, celebratory St. Patrick's Day event. NY and Boston may serve as better options for the patron's day. However, L.A. does put its own unique spin on green, shamrock Irish pride, involving the culturally diverse at large. ( I.E. having Latin actor Erik Estrada of Chips fame in 2008's official St. Patty's as the main guest of honor, instead of having just guest of honors be strictly of undeniable Irish blood). For many years, the city put on an official parade, but due to budget concerns, it was ditched. However, L.A. has done a slightly smaller scale but still fun celebration at L.A Live.
Pics are from the 2008 festivities. After the parade, there was a concert featuring the well-known band, Young Dubliners that drew thousands in and around Pershing Square. Food, drink and other festivity at the square included corned beef, $1 O'Douls beer and an appearance of a number of Laker Girls (or should I say O'Laker Girls :-? )
Directions: downtown streets, parts of 5th St, Main St and others
Chinatown Metro Stop, Los Angeles
OK, riding on the metro is such a mundane thing to do but it's quite interesting (even better- can be free!) here in Los Angeles. Art tours are conducted mainly on weekends. Meeting places and times may change- check website. Free passes or badges are given beforehand, good for use for the whole day of tour.
MTA docents have done something special, though many who are boxed in their cars do not even realize it. Metro has 7 major lines-RED, PURPLE, BLUE, GREEN, GOLD, ORANGE and the EXPO. All are artistic in their own way, with many stops having a unique motif. The most extensive, perhaps most fascinating tour is the RED. Hopefully, LA government will actually make more lines, but of course there's even argument about colors to be chosen for the new lines, besides which routes.
RED & PURPLE are the only all-underground lines, running downtown. Both travel the same route until at the Wilshire/Vermont station. The PURPLE heads ultimately to Wilshire/Western. The RED goes down to North Hollywood. At the Universal /NoHo station stops, there is mosaic artwork on columns displaying historic scenes of Los Angeles & California.
BLUE is an external line that goes from downtown through south LA, ending in Long Beach. At the busy Imperial/ Rosa Parks stop, there are a number of colorful, joyful images of young African-American figures cut out from wooded board.
GREEN is another line running above ground, from Norwalk (south-east from LA) to Redondo Beach (west of LA). At the Harbor Fwy stop (from LA travelogues), there is an archaic feel of the place.
GOLD is a newer line, running over ground from downtown , through Pasadena to Sierra Madre. The most colorful construction along here is the Chinatown stop with harmonizing yellow, green and orange-red.
ORANGE is a bus line which runs through the San Fernando valley. It starts/ends where the red line does, North Hollywood. Ride a bus that imitates a train on its own track. Although not so artistic of a line, it is a nice, fast way to get around LA. The best stops here are the starting/ending points, the artistic NoHo district and Warner Center, close to major Valley shopping.
EXPO is the newest rail line of Metro. Its major end points are Downtown L.A. (7th/Metro) to Culver City. While I can't judge the art work from all the stops in between as I have not yet explored the whole line, the Culver City stop is quite interesting for the impronto mural art along Washington Blvd, just steps away from the Expo rail exits.
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