CicLAvia returns to the Valley during this weekend's staging of the bike-friendly festival. Whereas last year's installment shut down Ventura and Lankershim boulevards, this year's is heading deeper into the SFV. The four-mile route along Van Nuys Boulevard will pass through Pacoima, Arleta, North Hills East and Panorama City. We have a feeling you're probably not as familiar with those areas as you are the popular Downtown route, so before you pedal your way out there this weekend, brush up on these five things to see and do.
1. Scope out the street art
Pacoima is home to a marvelous collection of murals, which CicLAvia has handily marked in its interactive map. You'll find more than a half-dozen worthwhile works between Arleta and Lehigh avenues—often dubbed "Mural Mile"—including "Dream Without Boundaries," a new mural that artist Levi Ponce will be completing during Sunday's ride.
2. Practice curling
Stop by the LA Kings Valley Ice Center to try your hand at Canada's favorite pastime: curling. Though most of Sunday's action will take place in the Panorama City parking lot, you can always return after CicLAvia to attempt the shuffleboard-like sport on ice.
3. Stroll the Plaza del Valle
Panorama City's colorful shopping plaza contains about 100 small retail shops and restaurants. While many of the stores here cater to local services, take a walk underneath the market lights and you'll find some hidden gems, from mom and pop taco shops to refreshing raspados.
4. Socialize at Bradley Avenue Plaza
Like Silver Lake's Sunset Triangle, this city street-turned-pedestrian plaza has become a new community space in Pacoima. During CicLAvia, show up for a block party with music, traditional folklorico dances and live art.
5. Relax at Hansen Dam
Though technically not on the CicLAvia ride, the entrance to this massive park sits only a half-mile from the eastern end of the route. Once inside, you'll find cross country trails, a public golf course, skate park, playground and the Discovery Cube museum. Though the oversized swimming pool is still closed for the season, the recreational lake is open for boating and kayaking.