Not going anywhere in August? Lucky you! Here’s a short list for treating yourself like a tourist in your own corner of L.A.
Griffith Park with a Twist
Don’t just visit the Griffith Park Observatory, hike to it. About the only thing that’s not totally awesome about the Observatory is the parking. So park along Boy Scout Rd., south of the Greek Theater, and locate the trailhead to the Observatory near where Boy Scout Rd. intersects with Vermont Canyon Rd. A good description of the 1.5 mile hike (round trip) be found at hikespeak.com. Hiking to the Observatory gives you some of L.A.’s most stunning views en route to the always-free Observatory grounds, building and telescope. To add a program at the planetarium costs $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for children ages 5 to 12. (Restrictions are in place for children under 5.) The Observatory is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. For more information: Griffithobservatory.org.
Don’t take the kids to the Zoo, take yourself. “Roaring Nights at the Zoo,” is a summer playtime program for adults (21 and older) at the L.A. Zoo in Griffith Park, where live music meets art meets wildlife. Cocktails are for sale and you can get dinner from L.A.’s best food trucks. The next Roaring Night, themed “Country Night,” is on Friday, Aug. 17. (The last one of the season is on Friday, Sept. 14.) Cost is $21; or $16 for Zoo members. You can buy tickets at: lazoo.org.
The entire family, including the dog, is welcome to an outdoor movie extravaganza on the large grassy area to the south of the Autry Museum of the American West, 4700 Western Heritage Way, across from the L.A. Zoo. Put on by the outdoor event specialists at EatSeeHear, the event includes admission to the museum (no dogs in the museum) and live music before the movie. Bring a blanket and cushions to sit on and a picnic, or buy food from one of the many food trucks. Tickets range from $8 to $15 per person. The museum opens at 5:30 p.m; music starts at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 8:30 p.m. Inglorious Basterds is showing on Saturday, Aug. 11; Easy Rider is showing on Friday, Aug. 24 and Back to the Future is showing on Saturday, Aug. 25. For more info and to buy tickets: eatseehear.com/venue/autry-museum-in-griffith-park.
The Shape of Water
Running through the sprinklers (West coast) or open hydrants (East coast) is a time honored way for kids to cool off in the summer because it does the trick and is a blast. The splash pad at Rio de Los Angeles State Park at 1900 N. San Fernando Rd. in Cypress Park recreates the fun with dump buckets, water cannons and spray nozzles. The park also has meadows where you can have a picnic and restored wetlands with pathways where you can stroll amid native plants or rest on colorful benches. There’s also a children’s playground and playing fields. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The splash pad is open daily through Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Park in the large lot off of San Fernando Rd. and head toward the sounds of happy children. For more info: www.parks.ca.gov.
Art for the Viewing
Staycation is the perfect time to check out the local art scene. You can get an eyeful during the NELA Art Walk, a.k.a. Second Saturday Gallery Night, when galleries and art organizations, mostly in or near York Blvd., open their doors to everyone from the merely curious to the most plugged in.
The next Second Saturday Gallery Night is on Saturday, Aug. 11; most of the venues are open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more info: nelaart.org.
For a deeper dive into local art, you can attend exhibition openings during the Second Saturday artwalk.
There will be an opening at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park for an exhibit arranged by artist and curator Raoul De la Sota; the exhibit will include the works of 30 artists who live in or near NELA and will fill three galleries at the studio. The opening, on Saturday, Aug 11, will go from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. / Avenue 50 Studio / 131 North Avenue 50 / For more info: avenue50studio.org/nelascapes
Another opening during the Aug. 11 Second Saturday art walk will take you off the beaten path of York Blvd. and into the secret garden setting of Taj · Art Studio and Gallery at 1492 Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock. The special guest will be Jeff Iorillo, a sculpturist whose work will be on display through Sept. 30; there will also be live music by Grammy winning guitarist Randy Ray Mitchell and his frequent collaborator, Tisa Adamson. The opening goes from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more info: tajartinc.com