Bordered by two major thoroughfares, Wilshire and Olympic boulevards, and two Expo Line stations, this easily accessible neighborhood gets plenty of attention for its arts and entertainment offerings, particularly 18th Street Arts Center, Bergamot Station’s galleries and The Broad Stage’s shows, as well as top-notch eateries. No wonder it’s home to a growing crop of interesting restaurants and shops.
Treat yourself to a finely crafted coffee or smoothie, sandwich or pastry at 18th Street Coffee House. Get comfy inside or on the outdoor patio, but per this Wi-Fi-less café’s policy, plan to keep your cell phone in your pocket.
Located within Santa Monica’s Gateway Hotel, Socalo is a beachy, all-day California canteen and Mexican pub from award-winning chef/owners Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken. Socalo serves conscientiously-sourced, seasonal SoCal Mexican fare with quick counter service at brunch and lunch while dinner shifts to full-service dining alongside cocktails featuring small-batch spirits, Mexican wines and craft beers on tap.
Poké, a classic Hawaiian dish featuring raw fish, vegetables, rice and sauce in one easy-to-eat-from bowl, is a SoCal staple, and so is Sweetfin Poké. Promising “pole to bowl” freshness, this popular chain serves up fresh, scrumptious and made-to-order tuna, salmon or veggie-only bowls.
Cyclists of all ages, levels and preferences will find what they need at Cynergy Cycles, thanks to this shop’s highly knowledgeable staff and expansive inventory of bikes. Apparel, equipment and gear are also plentiful, and the store offers a full-service tech department, group rides and clinics.
Launched just as modern-age skateboarding was born in the late 1970s, Rip City Skates has seen—and carried—it all. Peruse the vintage boards that adorn the walls as you check out the latest in decks, longboards, and cruisers, trucks, wheels and hardgood accessories.
The Activity Center offers games, arts and crafts, and enrichment classes and programs designed for children ages 6 to 12. There’s also a day camp, age-specific events and services for you to host your little one’s next birthday party.
A trolley depot in the 1950s, the Bergamot Station complex now features over two dozen art galleries, the City Garage Theatre and its own on-site café, enabling art-loving visitors to make a day of it.
Whether you’re a seasoned artist or have never wielded a paintbrush, this walk-in studio is for you. For one lab fee, PAINT:LAB provides workspace, supplies, instructional materials, models and professional guidance. Classes for kids, teens and adults are available, or rent the space for your own creative event.
Devotees of the studio’s Sweat Yoga swear by the ability of the high-temperature environment (98 to 100 degrees F) to loosen muscles and joints and facilitate a satisfyingly cleansing experience. In addition to classes, the studio offers social mixers and workshops.