This weekend CicLAvia, the car-free event that celebrates bicycling culture, takes over a stretch of the city from East Los Angeles to Echo Park with stops in Boyle Heights and downtown along the way. Planning on participating? Check out these hot spots along the route:
EAST LOS ANGELES
CicLAvia “starts” at Belvedere Community Regional Park, a beautiful, family-friendly park with tennis courts and a skate park. Unfortunately the Vincent Price Art Museum is closed on Sundays, but it’s worth making a return trip to see the museum, which is located on the campus of East L.A. College. For an art fix, keep your eyes open as you mosey down Cesar Chavez Avenue; this part of the city is known for its murals. El Corrido de Boyle Heights at 245 n. Soto St. is one of our favorites.
Further west in Boyle Heights, Los Cinco Puntos is a must stop for tamales. You could even eat one of these treats as you gaze at Evergreen Cemetery; it’s a bit morbid but the graveyard has some remarkable aesthetic features. Entering the Mariachi Plaza Hub, two other delicious destinations should be noted: taco heaven Guisados and Jim’s Burgers, a mid-century classic. Finish off your Eastside saunter with a stop at L.A. literary hub Libros Schmibros.
DOWNTOWN, ARTS DISTRICT
If you make any pit stops downtown, visit at the 4th Street Bridge. This is one of Los Angeles’ most iconic filming locations; you’ve seen it countless times in movies and commercials. It also happens to offer a pretty good view of the (unfortunately dry) L.A. River. The CicLAvia path will spit you out near the Arts District where there are three noteworthy spots. The athletically inclined can go for a climb at LA Boulders, the fashionably minded can browse at 12345, and everyone should visit Sci-Arc, the architecture school that’s surrounded by cool structures (and, no, that is not a reference to The Great Wall Of Downtown).
Broadway is one of downtown’s most important streets, and it offers a lot to see and do. While many will be seduced by the Ace Hotel, there’s also the excellent gallery CB1 a few blocks north and around the corner on 5th Street. The Bradbury Building is an architectural classic that was made famous by Blade Runner, but it’s been in tons of films and TV shows. Nearby is Grand Park, one of L.A.’s best hidden-in-plain-sight hangouts (Jay-Z’s into it).
Don’t mind a five-minute ride north? You’ll be in Chinatown where you can pop into Fifth Floor Gallery. If you’ve got time for just one stop, visit Human Resources for a special political performance by Jennifer Doyle happening Sunday.
The final leg of this CicLAvia leads to Echo Park via the 2nd Street Tunnel AKA downtown’s most futuristic bike lane. Once you’re through the tunnel, 2nd Street will eventually become Glendale Boulevard at the juncture in front of Bob Baker’s Marionette Theatre. If you’ve never seen a puppet show here, clear 2:30 p.m. from your schedule and get thee to Bob. Seeing a show at this venue is an Angeleno rite of passage.
The trip wraps up at Echo Park, where you can paddleboat around Echo Park Lake—if you still have the energy. If not, find yourself a patch of grass and enjoy the return of late “summer” heat. Then reward yourself for a day well spent with a glass of wine at El Prado or a beer at 1642.
Kyle Fitzpatrick is a writer, an infrequent performer, and a lover of dogs, art, shorts, champagne, and L.A. You can find his musings Fridays on CityThink. For more, check out his locally focused art, design, and culture website, Los Angeles, I’m Yours, or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.