Places to check out in Venice / Santa Monica
May 3, 2010 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Walking in Venice/Santa Monica... so I'm in CA for another week. I'm a big walker... where should I walk? What are the great shops for music, books, film, sights, eats, drinks? Any great concerts, readings, plays I shouldn't miss? Or if there's something a single bus ride will get me to that you can recommend, please do so with specific boarding instructions. Thanks!

My friends here are surprised at how far I've been walking whereas I've been surprised at how... lazy they're coming across as.

And... is there anyplace that actually sells Rose's Lime Cordial? I've found Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice but by no means is it the same thing.
posted by dobbs to Travel & Transportation around Venice, Italy (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I assume you will get plenty of great recommendations at the meetup, but that's still a few days away, so...

Have you been up to Bergamot Station yet? A huge number of art galleries are housed there. There's also lots of public art to roam around and explore. (You can probably preview most of this stuff on Flickr too.)

There are ten billion zillion cafes/restaurants in Santa Monica/Venice, but my personal favorite places are the French Market Cafe and Lemonade, a few blocks away from each other on Abbot Kinney.

Palomino by David Cale is playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. They're part of the Centre Theatre Group, one of L.A.'s best professional houses. And Tim Robbins' Actors Gang is right down the street if you want something a little more underground. Also in Culver City: the awesome Royal/T Cafe. (You can take the Metro Local 33 Bus from Venice Beach to Culver City Center.)
posted by mykescipark at 10:21 AM on May 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh, and you can get $20 "Hot Tix" to Palomino if you call the Center Theatre Group directly and ask them. They don't sell 'em online; you have to call.
posted by mykescipark at 10:22 AM on May 3, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers thus far. It appears that today I'm heading out to Echo Park for a dinner party so any suggestions for out there would be great as well.
posted by dobbs at 10:24 AM on May 3, 2010

Oh man. Echo Park? That would take ten posts to cover. *sigh*

Echo Park is (along with neighbor Highland Park) one of the hipster havens of L.A. right now. As a result, there are a LOT of awesome little gallery spaces, live venues, restaurants, etc., to choose from. AND you're close to Silver Lake, which has gentrified a little from its prior position atop the hipster heap and still has lots of great stuff to offer. If I didn't have a day job, I'd post links for you all day.

So, um, google the following: Echo Park Time Travel Mart. Echo Curio Curiosity Shop & Art Gallery. Machine Project. Echo Park Film Center. Five Thirty Three. Outpost for Contemporary Art. Pazzo Gelato. The Echo/Echoplex. Sea & Space Explorations. workspace. Synchronicity Space. Also: the awesome blog Echo Park Online tells you what's going on there right now.

Sadly, Santa Monica doesn't have such a great blog yet. There is Yo!Venice!, but it isn't updated that often and mostly has info pertinent to locals/residents, not visitors.
posted by mykescipark at 10:51 AM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for outdoor walks in the Echo Park/Silverlake area, I'd recommend either Elysian Park or the Silverlake Reservoir.

Also, Griffith Park is between the west side and Echo Park. You could hike from Fern Dell up to the observatory. If you do, be sure to stop by the Trails cafe for amazing vegetarian food!

Sorry, too rushed to post links, but Google will have info on all of these options. Enjoy!
posted by chicainthecity at 11:16 AM on May 3, 2010

If you haven't gotten into the Santa Monica Mountains to hike yet (and you're into that sort of thing.) This is actually a great time to get out there. The weather is beautiful and not too hot. We've had a decent amount of rain and consequently, there's a decent amount of wildflowers in bloom right now.

If you're looking for a good hike accessible by bus, I recommend hiking into Temescal Canyon out of the Presbyterian conference center in the Pacific Palisades. You'll get to see two of the major ecosystems in the Santa Monica Mountains, riparian woodlands in the canyon and chapparal as you hike up to the ridge. Each has their distinct flora and fauna. The number nine Big Blue Bus (the Santa Monica bus system) will take you from downtown Santa Monica to the corner of Sunset Blvd and Temescal Canyon Blvd in about 15-20 minutes. Pacific Palisades high school will be on the left and the conference grounds will be on the right. Go into the conference grounds, the trails are well marked and there's often a ranger near the entrance who can help you out. The Temescal Canyon Loop is a great hike.
posted by pahool at 11:43 AM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Walk Marina del Rey. It's close. Walk up the hill to Playa del Rey- some nice views down to the Marina.
posted by Doohickie at 12:00 PM on May 3, 2010

posted by Doohickie at 12:05 PM on May 3, 2010


...something like this.
posted by Doohickie at 12:06 PM on May 3, 2010

Temescal is really lovely, as pahool suggests. Will Rogers State Beach is on the way too.
posted by mykescipark at 1:50 PM on May 3, 2010

I don't know how much of LA you've seen, so apologies if I'm mentioning stuff you already did.

As soon as you said "single bus ride," I thought of my favorite LA bus trip, which is riding the 20 down Wilshire. I used to take it from downtown to visit my friend at UCLA, but you could go in the opposite direction. Also, you might prefer to take the 720, which is the rapid version, because it makes fewer stops. ( is your friend for public transportation across LA, if you haven't found it already. Things like the Big Blue Bus or DASH routes can be cheaper or more effective for local travel, though.)

You can get on the 720 bus in Santa Monica at 4th and Colorado, or else 4th and Wilshire. The ride alone is fun, because you see a lot of different faces of LA. You get everything from Beverly Hills to Koreatown to Macarthur Park to downtown. You'll go down the Miracle Mile, you'll pass the La Brea Tar Pits, and you'll see Googie architecture like Johnie's Coffee Shop.

If you're into walking more than riding, though, here are my two favorite options along the route:

- get off at Wilshire and Westwood to walk in Westwood. It's one of the few areas where there is actually a large concentration of small shops to poke around in, and where you can be relatively sure that you won't get mugged. I still miss Diddy Riese cookies. There might be a movie premiere going on. UCLA has a pretty campus, and lots of events (though one of my favorites, the LA Festival of Books, just passed).

- get off downtown, at 6th and Main. The USC geography department has a very nice site on things to see walking downtown here, but here are some of my highlights:

You can walk north* on Main to 1st St. Straight ahead of you: LA City Hall. Right (to the east): Little Tokyo. It's a small area, but there's good arts, shopping, and restaurants packed into it. Left (to the west): the Disney Concert Hall is at Grand Ave. If you're a Blade Runner fan, you can stop by the Bradbury Building at 3rd and Broadway (two blocks west of Main). Grand Central Market is close too. One street further west from there, on Hill St., is the Angels Flight funicular railway, apparently just reopened for rides. Further southwest, on 5th St. between Flower and Grand, is the central LA Public Library, which is beautiful inside and out. Note that many streets run one way only downtown, so although you'd get off the bus on 6th St. coming east, you'd need to board on 5th St. to go back west. There are stops at 5th and Main, 5th and Hill (Pershing Square), and 5th and Grand - right at the library, if you do end up there.

(*streets are angled downtown. The direction I'm calling "north" is actually northeast. Also, there are signs posted around to help point you in the direction of most of the places I'm mentioning.)

There are plenty of museums (the Hammer, MOCA, LACMA, the Page, Petersen Automotive, etc.) and other things I didn't mention along the way.

Lots of good ideas from other people here too. Oh, and I assume you're tired of people-watching on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and the Venice Beach boardwalk of course?
posted by sigmagalator at 2:33 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you like BBQ, Baby Blues Barbecue is pretty good. it's on Lincoln just south of Rose.

If you like Itallian, there's a little place called Alejo Presto Trattoria in the stripmall at the corner of Lincoln and Washington, next to the 7-11. That's great. C & O Trattoria can also be good. That's on Washington right by the beach.
posted by willnot at 5:09 PM on May 3, 2010

Book Soup on Sunset, the UCLA bookstore and film series, the Aero, New Beverly and Egyptian theaters, Skylight Books.

The free weeklies and Sunday LA times have arts listings.
posted by brujita at 8:54 PM on May 3, 2010

Santa Monica has an amazing bus system: clean, relatively punctual, inexpensive (75 cents, 10 cent transfers that are accepted by the L.A. Metro system) and, inexplicably, often carrying just a few riders. This link has a listing of attractions (including most, if not all, of the suggestions so far) organized by type (arts & leisure, beaches and parks, shopping, etc.) with complete route info for each one. If you are considering a day pass, there is a small storefront on Broadway between 2nd and 3rd for all your big blue bus needs.

I'll go for the obvious and suggest you try Bay Cities Deli, on Lincoln, just south of Broadway. The hands-down favorite here is The Godmother sandwich, but they have a full selection of sandwiches, salads, and hot entrees, too. There's always a massive wait at lunchtime, but if you place your order online you can bypass the madness and head straight to the back of the store to pick it up.

Finally, if the weather's right, take a stroll along the bike path just north of the Santa Monica/Venice border to see if the giant kite folks are out.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:03 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

And... is there anyplace that actually sells Rose's Lime Cordial? I've found Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice but by no means is it the same thing.

According to
Rose's brand is owned by Coca Cola.
Rose's Lime Cordial is called "Rose's Lime Juice" in America. It was sold as "Cordial" in Canada up until around 2005, when they switched to the American wording?
Google found some at Wally's in Westwood.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:23 AM on May 4, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers, folks!

Room 641-A, thanks--I've found that stuff everywhere but it's not the same thing. Outside America, it's made with cane sugar and is green like lime juice and has the sourness of limes. That stuff looks like gingerale, has HFCS and is sweetened. Nasty.
posted by dobbs at 9:54 AM on May 4, 2010

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