With the 405 shutting down, I find myself excited for my upcoming Westside staycation. City officials may encourage us to leave, but this short list of the amazing things we can do locally illustrates just how great being a Westsider really is. The following suggestions are generally within walking or biking distance of home. And while I'm providing some things I will be doing over the weekend, I encourage you to add your own.
This will be a two part article, because 40.5 ideas can feel lengthy. Part one attempts to cover Sepulveda to Lincoln and LAX to Pacific Palisades. This is a huge undertaking, so help this Westside girl out.
1. Set up a lemonade stand at Sepulveda/West Centinela and make millions of dollars slanging your tasty beverages to poor suckahs on the road. Ditch the lemonade stand when cops show up and try to ticket you for not having a permit and catch Harry Potter at The Rave. It's playing all day, in three different theaters, two of which are 3D, one of which is IMAX.
2. Return to the lemonade stand with a kid (yours or your friends) and claim the lemonade stand was the kid's idea to invoke pity from the cop. Cut the cop in on your lemonade profits, commence sales.
3. Have a picnic in the park outside the V.A. Hospital (West L.A. Medical Hospital). Watch the clouds morph into animals and enjoy the 53 hours of fresh air. Read a book.
4. Walk south on Sawtelle and hit the karaoke bars. If you are solo and at Max Karaoke, request a private room and leave the door open while singing "One Is the Loneliest Number" until someone comes to close the door. Leave immediately. Between karaoke bars, explore the Westside's Little Tokyo sushi bars, eating two pieces of your favorite sushi at each sushi joint you cross. Skip Sushi Mac. Hide Sushi is a must. Post reviews on Yelp and Huffington Post L.A.
5. Make mini tasters of various yogurts at Yogurtland, Menchies, or Tuitti Fruitti's, complete with toppings of your choice. Try to purchase a taster sized portion of yogurt just for kicks.
6. Get boba at Volcano Tea. I've never had it but that place is ALWAYS poppin'.
7. Discover the joys of riding any of the 20 different routes on the Big Blue Bus. From the Palisades to Playa or the 405 to the ocean, meet super interesting people, all for a dollar a ride. See where the bus can take you.
8. If you're just west of the 405 and 10, hit a 90-minute yoga class at Bikram Yoga College off Olympic and Sawtelle and sweat like you didn't know you could. Or zen out at The Hub off Barrington, a quiet and intimate studio that offers a super sick deal for new students ($40 for the first month, unlimited classes!)
9. Try every piece of workout equipment in Sports Chalet off Olympic. Buy three-pound weights and leave.
10. Walk (or jog, run, bike or bus!) to the Santa Monica Airport and watch guys play soccer on the super nice field. Games generally go from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Family friendly and cool kid playground as well as picnic area and dog park. Or watch the little mini-planes land and take flight. Relive the scene between Wayne and Garth where they talk about Tia Carrere being Baberaham Lincoln.
11. If you're near Sunset Boulevard, hike through Topanga State Park and you can connect to other trails like Will Rogers and The Backbone. Bring snacks, sunscreen and plenty of water, but no dogs. :(
12. If you are like me and sans pool, grab the biggest plastic tub you can find, fill it with ice cubes and hose water, and enjoy your front yard with cool feet and a cool drink. Play country music and act like you don't live in Los Angeles. Speak with a southern accent. Continue hanging out in your front yard until your neighbors get nervous and come outside to see what you are doing. Then introduce yourself and make some new friends.
13. Make your new neighbor friends have wheelbarrow, potato sack and three-legged-man races with you on your front lawn. Hilarity will ensue.
14. Wear nude-colored spandex shorts and go semi-streaking through the Penmar Golf Course. When you are caught and asked to leave, DO NOT say I said it was a good idea.
15. Walk down Montana Avenue. I swear, just walking down that street will make you a more interesting person.
16. In fact, if you're on Montana at night, hit up R&D for the constantly rotating menu and then catch a double feature at The Aero Theater. Friday is Swing Time/Follow the Fleet and Saturday is Top Hat/Shall We Dance (a three night tribute to Ginger Rogers!). Showtime 7:30p.m.
17. Take your dog (or cat or boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband etc.) to the asphalt for a 40.5-yard dash. Animals on leash of course. Humans off.
18. Start your own late night bicycle gang like Critical Mass or Midnight Ridazz. Call yourselves the Westsyde Rydaz, mob beach cruisers and blast Bob Marley tunes. Slowly make your way west.
19. Start a water balloon fight with your neighbors, or your neighborhood kids. There are far too few water balloon fights in adulthood.
20. Bring your family and friends to any of the Westside parks and play wiffle ball. Enforce the "forehead to bat, spinning at home plate before running the bases" rule. Laugh until your stomach hurts. Walk home.
List of Parks from LAX to the Palisades, between the 405 and Lincoln, here for our enjoyment: Westchester Recreation Center, Playa Vista Park, Glen Alla Park, Culver West Park, Culver/Slauson Park, Mar Vista Gardens Recreation Center, Clover Park, Santa Monica Airport Park, The Growing Place at Marine Park, Penmar Recreation Center, Virginia Avenue Park, Memorial Park, Douglas Park, Stoner Recreation Center, Ohio and Bundy Triangle Park, Los Angeles National Veterans Park, Barrington Dog Park, Rustic Canyon Recreation Center, Will Rogers State Park.