Some places are practically obligated to offer wireless Internet. It’s commonplace to walk into a coffee shop, library, hotel lobby, college campus, train station or airport and find people plugging away on their laptops. And by next summer Delta Air Lines, the nation’s third-largest carrier, will begin offering Wi-Fi on 330 planes.
But the following L.A. Web “hotspots” might leave you scratching your head. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
If you buy Barack Obama’s claim that proper tire inflation will solve the country’s gas problems, not only can EZ Lube “pump you up,” as the classic Saturday Night Live skit says, but you can surf the Web while they do it.
After you clean out the pennies from your ashtray, you can grab your laptop from the backseat because every EZ Lube location in L.A. is Wi-Fi enabled, says a company spokesman. (Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times)
Rossmoor Car Wash
Now that your tires are taken care of, it’s time to hose off those greasy fingerprints the mechanics left on your hood. This car wash in Rossmoor has an Internet-enabled computer station and Wi-Fi available to customers.
Never again will you have to wait a few minutes for a car wash without the ability to watch videos of mellowdramatic cats. (Brad Hooper)
Whole Foods Market
Grocery shopping doesn’t usually entail hanging out for long periods of time with the opportunity to surf the Web. But for those who feel the urge to read about food while shopping for food, this grocery chain has got you covered, with free Wi-Fi in stores nationwide, says a spokeswoman.
“We really want customers to feel at home and a real sense of community when they come to visit us,” a spokeswoman for the West L.A. store (pictured) said in an e-mail. Be careful what you wish for, Whole Foods. With a high-speed Internet connection and an endless supply of snacks, we might never leave. (Kelly Layne)
This outdoor concert and event center in downtown L.A. offers free wireless Internet, though reception can be a bit spotty. If you’re looking for somewhere to check e-mail without getting hounded for spare change, Pershing Square’s Wi-Fi website lists other hotspots nearby, including libraries and Burger Kings. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Marty’s Cigar and Divan
It’s always nice to work from the couch, and Marty’s cigar shop offers just that. “I have people come in here, and do honest to God work while they’re able to happily smoke a cigar,” said Rio Fiumara, the store’s owner.
If you don’t mind the potential of smoke permanently yellowing your laptop’s exterior -- I’ve seen it happen -- Marty’s seems like a comfortable place to get your download fix. (Rio Fiumara)
Dr. Vasserman’s Dentist Office
Dentists are notorious for waiting rooms piled with outdated, boring magazines. Well, Alexander Vasserman’s dentist office in Beverly Hills gives you one less reason to complain about getting your teeth cleaned -- and you need it, cigar breath! Vasserman says patients appreciate the luxury.
But you might not want to bring the laptop into the operating room if you don’t want excess drool getting on your screen. (Alexander Vasserman)
Luxurious laundromats are a dime a dozen in San Francisco, but in parts of L.A., where many houses and apartments have their own washing machines, they’re harder to come by. This laundromat on Pico Boulevard in West L.A., a.k.a. Sparkling Coin Laundry, offers Wi-Fi to customers while they wait.
While you’re in Hollywood with your shiny teeth and newly cleaned clothes, why not spruce up for a night on the town. And you can even stay plugged in while you wait to get your hair cut. Crazy Cuts Salon on Sunset Boulevard does have Wi-Fi, but that doesn’t mean you can sit there for hours surfing the Web.
“We don’t really have a place to sit down,” said salon owner George Leakos. “Most clients are in and out in 10 or 15 minutes.” It’s also probably not a good idea to take your laptop with you to the styling chair -- hair clippings can be pretty tough to clean out of a keyboard. (George Leakos)
Some person’s house in Rosemead
It’s no mystery that open wireless access points can be found by driving down just about any neighborhood in L.A., but few people actually advertise it. On an iLoveFreeWiFi.com listing, an address in Rosemead, labeled “Slaptech South San Gabriel Outpost,” claims to offer free Wi-Fi.
“This is my home, and there’s no place for you to hang out,” it reads, “but the WiFi is usually open and not bogged down. Don’t download huge files.” Well that’s cool, I guess, but why doesn’t he want to hang out? (Google Maps)
Rounding out your Wi-Fi night on the town, head over to a quiet, romantic spot on Hermosa Beach and break out your ‘Net-enabled gadget. According to the Hermosa Beach website, a third of the city can access the wireless transmissions.
A few words of warning: Watch out for the tide. ()
USC Hillel: Center for Jewish Life
After your night of Internet-enabled debauchery, it might be time to seek spiritual guidance. Thankfully the Jewish center on the University of Southern California’s campus is there to help.
And more important, they have free Web and printer access -- because even a house of God supports free Internet. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)