101 things to do in Los Angeles
Your essential guide to the best things to do in LA this season, from stair hikes to welding workshops and more.
Van Gogh was known for many things beyond that poster of Starry Night that hung in your dorm room: cutting off his ear, mental illness, a mysterious death and 36 self-portraits, one of which is now in LA. Go see the Dutch Post-Impressionist's Self-Portrait from 1889 on view at the Norton Simon. One of the last things he painted, the portrait shows Van Gogh shortly after his breakdown in Saint-Rémy, after he cut off his right ear. It's only one of three paintings in which he depicts himself as an artist, and this occasion marks its first time on the West Coast.
93. Go on a group ride
The Passage Ride meets every Wednesday around 8:30pm—this group bicycle ride is medium paced (not for beginners, but not a hustle either), and includes some hills and potential off-roading. Short stops include points of interest in the city (which usually remain a surprise until you're mid-ride), and time for socializing. Bonus: When it's raining too hard to ride, the group goes bowling instead.
94. Check out a local brewery
The closure of Angel City Brewery has us feeling a little blue, but there are still great options for local suds. Meet the father-son team who run Eagle Rock Brewery, or grab a bite and a pint from Golden Road Brewery in Atwater. If you’re willing to travel a bit further, Ladyface Ale Companie (at the base of Ladyface Mountain in Agoura Hills) offers up a solid IPA, plus lots of seasonal specials (check its always-up-to-date Facebook page to see what’s new). And there’s always Stone Brewing Co.—with a tasting room in Pasadena and the real deal brewery down in San Diego—a keg of whose Arrogant Bastard Ale is well worth the drive.
Even starving artists need a little inspiration. Get lost in Rauschenberg's combines, Warhol's silkscreens and Cornell's boxes at MOCA, free every Thursday from 5pm to 8pm.
- 250 S Grand Ave, at 3rd St
Spend Monday nights at Rock & Reilly's open-mic karaoke. There’s always a large crowd and barely any standing room as various talents—from agents who’ve had too much whiskey to celebs such as Usher and the Wanted—take the mic. No need to fret, the blaring TVs surrounding the bar are turned on mute for your five minutes of fame.
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- 8911 W Sunset Blvd
97. See art after midnight
Only open from 10pm to 2am, Night Gallery was founded on the idea that as it gets later, inhibitions disappear and art can be viewed more openly (or sleepily). Exhibits change every few weeks, so check the website for what's up next.
98. Be a pinball wizard
Pins & Needles—a tailor shop by day, clubhouse by night—houses 32 classic pinball machines and hosts eight-week league seasons with two weeks of playoffs and finals among three divisions, based on competitors' flipping skills.
99. See a puppet show for grown-ups
This strange, hush-hush puppet show happens once a month on the street. Two guys have been putting it on all by themselves for almost a decade: They roll up on bicycles with trailers attached, and out of the trailers comes an entire show with scenery, props, puppets. It happens late at night and isn't always appropriate for kids. Little creepy, lotta awesome.
Founded in 1888 as the County Poor Farm, this pioneering hospital was a haven for the city’s destitute and mentally ill. The property also included a farm, a dairy, a zoo and a pauper’s graveyard. In the late ’50s, the farm, dairy and mental health wards were closed down (the main hospital now sits in a sprawling nearby complex, renamed the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center). The old mental ward remains creepily fenced up and totally abandoned. Old office furniture, files and even mummified body parts have been found here: In October 2006, U.S. Marines who were using the abandoned building for drills found a freezer in the morgue containing legs, feet and brain bits.
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Okay, so the food here is nothing to write home about. But this Downtown LA mainstay has literally never closed or been without a customer (so it claims) since its establishment in 1924. It’s almost like a rite of passage—you’re not truly an Angeleno until you too step through the Pantry’s lockless doors.
- 877 S Figueroa St
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