Zip, chug, or plod your way up the 405 for a long weekend clustered around LACMA, the Los Angeles Museum of Art.
Sneak out of work early on a Friday, or take the day off entirely, to get to the mid-Wilshire district by mid-afternoon. Get yourself a loaf or three of challah at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf before they sell out. Then with challah and assorted liquids in hand, head to the LACMA for a free jazz concert on the patio amidst the Chris Burden Urban Lights sculpture. The jazz series features some of the finest musicians this side of heaven – and appropriately-sized crowds. Claim your seat early.
While waiting for the performance, stroll through the museum’s outdoor exhibits, including Alexander Calder’s Hello Girls and Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass.
Apres-concert, walk over to The Grove for dinner. This shopping center comes alive at dinner-time with lots of small ethnic restaurants, including something that San Diego doesn’t have: Indonesian food. For a caffeinated nightcap, head to Swingers, where Hollywood stars reportedly go for late-night deep-fried inspiration.
Need a break from the museum? The enormous Los Angeles flower market in downtown Los Angeles really blossoms early on a Saturday morning. Buy yourself an otherworldly potted orchid and a late breakfast.
Latin Sounds take the stage back at LACMA of a late Saturday afternoon. This series has hosted such luminaries at Chuchito Valdes, a pianist whose enthusiastic thumping actually has the grand piano bouncing on the stage. Did I mention that it’s free?
Where would you want to be on a Sunday but in the museum, perusing the permanent or special exhibitions? Check out Richard Serra’s Band, an immense, ribbon-like steel sculpture that evokes the slot canyons of the desert southwest. Check out Pablo Picasso’s Weeping Woman with Handkerchief. Count the calla lilies on the Diego Riveras. Hello, Roy Lichtenstein, give me the Cold Shoulder.
And since you don’t want to get home too early, take in some tunes at the Sunday chamber concert series, in LACMA’s lovely Bing Theater. Guess what? It’s free.
Although you can’t go wrong, maybe next year you’ll want to review the concert schedule before scheduling your LACMA weekend. This never gets old.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art