CicLAvia pedals its way back onto the Westside with a 6-mile route between Culver City and Venice. The last time the bike-friendly fest made its way to the beach, it started all the way over in Downtown LA. You'll find a much more manageable route this time around, and though a decent chunk is residential, there's still plenty to see and do in historic Downtown Culver City, through easygoing Mar Vista, near posh Abbot Kinney and along eclectic Venice Beach.
The CicLAvia Culver City Meets Venice route
Things to see and do
We'll be starting from Culver City and ending in Venice—because why wouldn't you want to wrap up along the ocean?—so follow along as we move westward.
Downtown Culver City Hub
Take a bike safety class, listen to live music and explore the walkable neighborhood. Accessible by Metro Expo Line.
This century-old, former streetcar substation is now home to the Actors' Gang's 99-seat theater. Tim Robbins, who co-founded the company in 1981, remains in charge of its hard-edged material. Stop by during CicLAvia for a free, kid-friendly staging of a Harry Potter-themed Hamlet.
Don't be fooled by the name: this is not some kind of Spielbergian dinosaurland. Fact is mixed with the fantastical through the elaborate and beautiful treatment accorded to everything from the history of trailer parks to 17th-century Renaissance man Athanasius Kircher. Which exhibits, if any, are bona fide? Which, if any, are satirical? And, most crucially of all, does it matter?
This historic hotel played part-time residence to Old Hollywood stars like Clark Gable and Buster Keaton. Charlie Chaplin supposedly sold the hotel to John Wayne for a buck, while tales of apparitions surround the Neo-Renaissance–designed hotel; locals and tourists alike can drop in for a nightcap at the hotel's lobby bar.
Though its footprint is much smaller than its days as the iconic MGM Studios, you can still tour the Sony lot's soundstages and Art Deco facades during weekday walking tours. It won't be open for tours during CicLAvia, but you'll still be able to spot the studio's 94-foot-tall rainbow, an homage to the filming of The Wizard of Oz.
Tellefson Park Hub
You'll find the CicLAvia Old School Merchandise booth in this pint-sized park.
Stock up on “time travel” curiosities—Robot Toupees, Barbarian Repellent, Primordial Soup In a Can—at this quirky storefront from 826LA, a nonprofit organization which tutors kids ages 6 to 18. Unlike the Echo Park location's convenience store theme, the Mar Vista outpost has more of a nautical flair.
Love it or hate it, this swanky street is certainly Venice's most stylish 'hood. Within a few blocks of the CicLAvia route you'll find casual hangouts like Intelligentsia alongside upscale favorites like Gjelina and the Tasting Kitchen—all great spots for people watching. And since this is a bike-friendly event, make sure to stop into the Linus and Timbuk2 shops.
Cool off with a paleta from Artesana Pops before making your way over to the beach.
People-watching is the raison d'être at Venice Beach, which effectively continues from the southern end of Santa Monica Beach without a break. Jump into the flow of the winding Venice Boardwalk, where you can skate or cycle, watch or play volleyball or basketball, and check out the pumped-up gym obsessives who work out at Muscle Beach. For a completely different side of Venice, take a stroll through the idyllic Venice Canals (centered around Venice Boulevard and Dell Avenue).
Where to eat and drink
Check out some of our favorite spots to eat and drink in the area, both on and off the CicLAvia route. Bring a Time Out spoke card with you (available at the Mar Vista hub) for a few discounts.
Housed behind Fin, you'll need to walk through an "Employees Only" sign to enter this "secret" bar. Once you’re through the door, an ornate painting of a peacock lets you know you’ve either arrived at the right place or stumbled into the most lavish break room imaginable.
One free bartender's choice cocktail with spoke card.
A cozy culinary and libation retreat, this spot feels like a neighborhood place where everybody knows your name. Exposed red brick meets dark wood paneling under Edison-approved lighting, along with drinks and bites that are reliable and flavorful.
$10 off a purchase of $25 or more with spoke card.
Roy Choi has revamped his popular restaurant into a Hawaiian-centric eatery, now sporting poke and baby octopus and macaroni salad. Cocktails, too, have a tropical flair, with names like Hibiscus Habit, Lei Me Down and Zombie Isle—umbrellas included, of course.
15% off total bill with spoke card.
Menotti's Coffee Stop—emphasis on the "stop"—feels like a friendly refuge from the neighboring Venice Boardwalk. The interior is welcoming but spartan, with most of the attention focused on the bean selection and, behind it, a stack of vinyl and a taxidermy armadillo.
The Del Monte Speakeasy, Townhouse's basement bar, has been a hidden hideout since 1915. Today, the hooch is done, replaced instead with fancy-pants handcrafted cocktails, as well as live entertainment including local bands, comedy, jazz and vaudeville acts.
10% off total bill with spoke card.
In addition to being able to rest your head in a beachfront room, this Venice hotel also offers "refined hillbilly" fare at Barlo Kitchen & Cocktails and drinks with an ocean view at the High Rooftop Lounge.
15% off an entrée with purchase of a cocktail—Mon-Thu at Barlo—with spoke card. 10% off guest rooms (mention Time Out Los Angeles).