Los Angeles Tour: Mid-Wilshire
This inviting and expansive commercial district is home to many a museum and name-brand boutique.
Wilshire Boulevard cuts a wide swath through the city, running from Downtown all the way to the Pacific Ocean. At its approximate midpoint (between Western Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard, aka the “Miracle Mile”), the boulevard was developed in the 1920’s as a grand commercial district that drew comparisons to Paris's Champs-Élysées. Today, this still-fashionable stretch is home to a multitude of museums (earning it the nickname Museum Row) and serves as the backbone for the collection of niche neighborhoods under the “Mid-Wilshire” umbrella. Posh interior design shops, label-conscious fashion boutiques, and refined restaurants line the adjacent roads of La Brea Avenue, Beverly Boulevard, and West 3rd Street, but the low-key residential vibe makes this a great place to connect with locals.
1 Farmers Market
The Farmers Market has been a favorite gathering place in L.A.â€”hence the saying, â€œMeet me at Third & Fairfaxâ€
2 Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
One of Americaâ€™s premier art museums, with an inventory of more than 100,000 works, LACMA is unsung compared with its crosstown rival, the Getty Center. But a multiyear transformation, planned by architect Renzo Piano, is currently under way; when the Broad Contemporary Art Museum opens in late 2008, the hype may finally arrive. In the meantime, LACMAâ€™s permanent collection spans the globe and the millennia, ranging from French Impressionism to Greek and Egyptian antiquities; its Japanese Pavilion is dedicated to graceful artworks dating from 3000 B.C. The museumâ€™s collection of Latin American artists, including Mexican masters like Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo, is also notable.
Tip: Admission is pay-as-you-wish after 5 p.m. every day.
Housed inside a 1929 Los Angeles building constructed by legendary Hollywood architect Roy Sheldon, famous for his opulent, Italian villa-inspired designs throughout Beverly Hills. Sheldon built the structure for film legend Charlie Chaplin, and the restaurant has accordingly named its two main dining rooms after Chaplin and his then wife, Lita Grey. Executive chef Mark Peel has created a menu of contemporary California cuisine, which changes often, depending on his farmersâ€™ market finds. At any one time, it may include such items as a grilled pork chop with saffron orzo and ricotta, or summer squash ravioli.Â
4 New Beverly Cinema
This no-frills neighborhood theater is the last surviving revival movie house in Los Angelesâ€”thanks in large part to its famous benefactor Quentin Tarantino, who stepped in to buy the property when the theater was on the brink of shutting down. The Pulp Fiction director, along with fellow filmmakers like Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman, sometimes steps in to curate the programming, but the selections are always in line with whatâ€™s been screened here since 1978: double features of classic, independent, cult, and foreign films in 35mm. Donâ€™t miss the midnight screenings of camp favorites.
5 American Rag Cie
For that chic L.A. jeans-and-a-t-shirt look, American Rag is the de facto headquartersâ€”the â€œWorld Denim Barâ€