Make a day out of L.A.’s new Academy Museum with these 8 walkable sights
For those of you driving the 101, the 10, the 405 or any of the other traffic jams on the way to the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and its environs, the idea will have much appeal: Park once and walk. Avoid re-parking!
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has opened as the ultimate celebration of Hollywood history, Oscar lore and today’s movie makers.
In other words, while you’re there, check out other Mid-Wilshire sights and make a day of it. Yes, the Grove and the Original Farmers Market are not far away. So is one of the city’s most celebrated restaurants, République. But Times staff writers have eight other walkable destinations for your consideration:
Sure, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art may appear a mess of construction dotted with outdoor sculptural installations right now, but behind those fences and orange cones is one of the largest art museums in the Western U.S. — undergoing a $750-million reinvention. Have faith: There is art still on view.
Among the five exhibitions in the Resnick Pavilion and BCAM building are a sprawling retrospective of Japanese painter Yoshitomo Nara and an installation of Modern art from the museum’s permanent collection, with an emphasis on American and Latin American art. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Closed Wednesdays. $10-$25; kids 2 and younger are free, and discounts are available for L.A. County residents. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org
— Deborah Vankin
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2. La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
You could say this place is the pits, and you’d be half right: To visit the La Brea Tarpits & Museum is to peer deep into Southern California’s prehistoric past, when mammoths, mastodons, giant sloths and saber-toothed cats roamed the region, occasionally getting stuck in black tar that still bubbles here. You’ll find more than an oversized puddle of the gunk, including the fossilized remains of those aforementioned megafauna, plus interactive exhibits, 3-D educational films (for an additional fee), a working fossil lab for the still-active on-site excavations, and enough models and dioramas to satisfy the most discerning grade-schoolers. 5801 Wilshire Blvd. The tar pit park is open daily and free. The museum is closed Tuesdays; general admission is $7-$15, kids 2 and younger are free. L.A. County residents are free from 3 to 5 p.m. Advance timed-entry tickets recommended. (213) 763-3499, tarpits.org
— Matt Cooper
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3. Petersen Automotive Museum
Like a massive engine block of chrome and flame (thanks to a 2015 renovation of its facade) at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, the Petersen is hard to miss. Housed inside are examples of automotive engineering from nearly every decade: movie and TV cars, luxury sports cars, Formula One racers, lowriders, speed bikes, all-terrain vehicles, electric car prototypes. If it’s got two wheels or more, it’s here. You’ll also find interactive exhibits for aspiring auto designers and race-car drivers of all ages. 6060 Wilshire Blvd. Open Wednesdays-Sundays. $11-$16; children younger than 4 are free. advance purchase required. (323) 930-2277, petersen.org
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4. Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Exhibitions here have run the gamut: contemporary architecture and design, vintage movie posters from Japan’s oldest major film studio, photography of painfully cute bento — Japanese lunch boxes filled with edible cartoon characters. A massive endowment from the Japanese government helps to make the foundation’s arts and culture programming possible. Before the pandemic, the Los Angeles office hosted a traveling show that compared contemporary Japanese comics with 19th century Hokusai artworks. The exhibition gallery is temporarily closed, but a representative said it will reopen this fall. Check for hours and dates. Free. 5700 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100. (323) 761-7510, jflalc.org
— Craig Nakano
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5. Craft Contemporary
Formerly known as the Craft and Folk Art Museum, this small exhibition space has long been a favorite of design geeks. Pre-pandemic exhibitions showcased contemporary Iranian photography, Betye Saar‘s assemblage and Keiko Fukazawa‘s smart, often spellbinding “Made in China” ceramics. In October, Craft Contemporary is scheduled to open a show featuring Pouya Afshar’s work centered on displacement and migration, as well as “Witch Craft: Rethinking Power,” the first solo museum exhibition of Zimbabwean artist Moffat Takadiwa. Open Wednesdays-Sundays. $7-$9; Sundays are pay what you can. 5814 Wilshire Blvd. (323) 937-4230, craftcontemporary.org/visit.
— Craig Nakano
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6. Sprüth Magers
Sprüth Magers feels more like a museum-minded, European kunsthalle exhibition space than a commercial art gallery. Founded by German feminists Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers, who also have outposts in London and Berlin, the gallery across the street from LACMA has presented solo shows by John Baldessari, George Condo, Robert Irwin and Frank Stella. But it’s fiercely committed to highlighting female artists and addressing gender inequities in the art world. It will premiere a solo show of photographs, films and sculptures by Beijing artist Cao Fei in early October. 5900 Wilshire Blvd. Open Tuesdays-Saturdays; make appointment reservations online. Free. (323) 634-0600, spruethmagers.com
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7. 6150 Wilshire
Art gallery neighborhoods come and go, but most arrive prompted by at least one of two factors: proximity to an art museum, where a professional audience thrives, and proximity to a wealthy residential community, where other service businesses flourish. Oh, and parking too. This is L.A., after all. All three are in play at 6150 Wilshire. A three-minute walk west of LACMA (and now the Academy Museum), it’s in a business district midway between the well-heeled mansions of Beverly Hills and Hancock Park — and with a big parking lot out front. Originally a clothing store, built in the 1930s, the complex was transformed into a gallery enclave in 1998. (Landlord Alan Sieroty, a former California state senator and assemblyman who was chairman of the Arts Task Force of the National Conference of State Legislatures, collected art.) The gallery 1301PE is now its anchor, having been there almost from the start, showing mostly L.A. and New York artists. Praz-Delavallade is the American branch of a French gallery (near Paris’ Centre Pompidou museum), and Anat Ebgi, also with an international roster, is the second space of a youngish Culver City gallery. All are free and open Tuesdays-Saturdays. 1301PE, (323) 938-5822, 1301pe.com. Praz-Delavallade, (323) 917-5044, praz-delavallade.com. Anat Ebgi, (323) 272-3418, anatebgi.com. Call for the latest COVID-19 protocols.
— Christopher Knight
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8. Little Ethiopia
Only a half-mile from the Academy Museum, platters of long-stewed doro wot, butter-fried tibs and fragrant lentils arrive on springy sheets of fresh injera — which is used to scoop up the stews and salads — making for some of the best and most interactive dining in the city. Little Ethiopia — along Fairfax Avenue between Olympic Boulevard and Whitworth Drive — has been home to some of L.A.’s most flavorful restaurants since the early 1990s. A stretch of markets, vintage shops and cafes runs only the length of a city block, but the enclave is overflowing with options, especially when it comes to food. The first Ethiopian restaurant to open on the strip, Rosalind’s, is still serving tibs, wots and beloved plantains, and still innovating. A more recent newcomer, Lalibela, offers all the classics, and then some. The kitfo sandwich stuffs lean, chopped steak into a roll for a spin on the iconic dish. Meals by Genet, one of Little Ethiopia’s finest, is now takeout-only, but Genet Agonafer’s destination restaurant is still as worthy of a visit as ever. Rosalind’s, closed Sundays, 1044 S. Fairfax Ave. (323) 936-2486, rosalindsla.com. Lalibela, open daily, 1025 S. Fairfax Ave., (323) 965-1025, lalibelala.com. Meals by Genet, open Thursdays-Sundays. 1053 S. Fairfax Ave., (323) 938-9304, mealsbygenetla.com
— Stephanie Breijo
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