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Must Do: Clearwater Farms


Of the many fabulous farmers’ market vendors, mushroom whisperer David West, who owns Clearwater Farms, impresses with his selection culled from Northern California foragers as well as his eagerness to tell you the best ways to prepare the fungi once you get them home.

How to do it: You can find West at the Wednesday and Saturday Santa Monica farmers’ markets; morel prices start at $16 a pound. While you’re at the market, don’t forget to pick up Rancho La Viña’s walnut oil to sauté the shrooms.

Must Do: Decorate a Rose Parade Float


Watching motorized floral creations make their way down Colorado Boulevard is a time-honored New Year’s Day tradition. Bringing one to life is even better.

How to do it: Sign up now (tournamentofroses.com) to volunteer; come November and December, you’ll be enlisted to shave bark, cut dried flowers, and sort seeds. Diehards bring their own gloves and shears.

Must Do: Autry National Center


From Pueblo pottery to John Wayne movies, this 26-year-old museum showcases the history of the American West.

How to do it: Take advantage of the frequent movie screenings (free with admission).

Must Do: The Dresden


Share a tune with Marty and Elayne, the jazzy pair who’s been performing here for 32 years.

How to do it: Tuesday is open-mic night. Bring sheet music and some swagger. 

Must Do: Dugout Club at Dodger Stadium


This could be our World Series year, so get close.

How to do it: Dugout Club memberships range from $24,000 to $60,000 for seats behind home plate. With 80-plus games, that’s almost a bargain.

Must Do: Hollywood Forever


Our Père Lachaise is the finest place to watch John Huston’s classic (he’s buried at the cemetery) or any of the flicks projected on Rudolph Valentino’s mausoleum nearly every Saturday night in the summer.

How to do it: Buy tickets through Cinespia, and bring blankets and snacks. A parking pass is $15. Show up early: The line is long.


Must Do: Runyon Canyon


The 160-acre park offers Hollywood types and packs of smelly canines, but stick with it for the killer city views.

Must Do: Sail the Santa Monica Bay


Fresh air, the open water, and the same view of the coastline (minus the Ferris wheel) that Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo had in 1542.

How to do it: Charter a boat, like the 40-foot wooden ketch Nirvana, for the day from Free Spirit Sailing Adventures. A trip for two runs $150 per hour (two-hour minimum).

Must Do: San Antonio Winery


Five generations of Italian vino makers have filled the casks at San Antonio Winery since 1917. When founder Santo Cambianica chose this spot, grapes grew nearby. Today the fruit is harvested in Paso Robles, but the fermenting magic still happens in downtown L.A.

How to do it: Free daily tours depart on the hour. Make a day of it by visiting the restaurant and gift and gourmet shops. Lectures by expert vintners are also offered.

Must Do: Sullivan Canyon


Most of L.A.’s birds—and there are thousands—live like elves in the urban foliage. They twinkle for a moment, then disappear.

How to do it: To take in their sounds and movements, wake up when they do, just before sunrise. Make for the recesses of Sullivan Canyon, where the convergence of creek, rocks, and ancient growth promises a big show. By late morning the avian wonders will be sated and sleepy, as will you.