Four Hours: Laid-back Mar Vista is a calm haven amid the bustling Westside
Mar Vista is changing things up. The neighborhood sandwiched between Culver City and Venice lost its longtime Sam: Johnson’s Bookshop this year, but it gained a new beer garden that serves plenty of German and Belgian brews.
The neighborhood’s Oaxacan joint gets raves on Yelp for its “pizza” and mole. And who could resist a detour into the fourth dimension at Time Travel Mart, which benefits Dave Eggers’ writing program for kids?
Walk this stretch of Venice Boulevard to find a good mix of old — the Grand View Market will make you feel like a local — and new.
3 p.m. Begin with a house-roasted coffee or Pirate’s Chai at Alana’s Coffee Roasters at 12511 Venice Blvd., a mellow community gathering spot that somehow always seems calm no matter how many people are clustered around its tables talking and writing.
After you get your drink, find a seat and kick back on Alana’s leafy patio. If you’re lucky, a few local musicians will be settled around the vintage trailer-turned-stage, plucking out slow and easy rhythms.
3:30 p.m. After Alana’s, pop over to Time Travel Mart, just a door away. All proceeds from the delightfully strange gift shop go toward 826LA, a nonprofit created by author Dave Eggers that seeks to inspire students to write and flex their word power.
Complete with a “poembooth” and supposed portal to the fourth dimension, it’s a place to find quirky, vaguely time-travel-themed gifts, such as an Albert Einstein candle or a book called “Letters to My Future Self.”
3:45 p.m. If you haven’t had your fill of window shopping, head east on Venice across Centinela Avenue to Robinson Beautilities, purveyor of neon wigs, a truly alarming assortment of rubber masks and so much more.
Whether you’re trying to become a ’60s queen or Roman soldier, Marge Simpson or Donald J. Trump, the dizzying costume labyrinth in this store can make it happen.
If browsing what claims to be the largest costume house in Los Angeles isn’t your idea of a good time, keep going, but make a mental note to return next Halloween to find a costume that will put the rest to shame.
4:15 p.m. Feeling hungry? Grab a snack at Grand View Market, a spacious, country-style mart that seems like a place you’d find along a lush rural highway. It’s a good place to stock up for the week ahead. Pick up some produce and kombucha from the market’s impressive health drinks selection, or visit the varied beer and wine section, with a package of cookies to go. Take a peek at the market’s music schedule while you’re at it. There’s live music on Fridays and special bluegrass nights once a month, reason enough to make a trip back.
4:45 p.m. After the market, take a right onto Grand View Boulevard. Make a note to come back here to the Mar Vista Farmers Market on Sunday mornings. Pro-tip: Don’t leave without getting some locally grown gourmet mushrooms at the Kane’s Family Farm stand.
Then step inside the recently opened Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Garden (a favorite in Long Beach) to try one of its 35-plus German and Belgian beers. Bypass the often-crowded main dining area and make your way to the covered, laid-back patio.
5:30 p.m. Hope you saved room for dinner. Head back to Venice Boulevard and go west to Quiadaiyn at 12326½ Venice Blvd., a small, family-run restaurant that serves dishes its owners grew up eating in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Split a tlayuda, which some call a Oaxacan pizza, with a friend, and then opt for one of the restaurant’s signature moles. Don’t miss Quiadaiyn’s horchata either, and make sure to order it with a prickly pear snowball on top.
6:45 p.m. One last stop: Track down dessert at Mitsuwa Marketplace, a Japanese grocery store at 3760 S. Centinela Ave. Whether you’re into boba, mochi or Pocky sticks, you’ll have no trouble hitting your sweet spot.
Get The Wild newsletter.
The essential weekly guide to enjoying the outdoors in Southern California. Insider tips on the best of our beaches, trails, parks, deserts, forests and mountains.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.