Your Guide To The Guides: CicLAvia
By Sarah Chamberlain
Sunday's CicLAvia route will close streets to cars from Figueroa at Expo Park all the way to hubs in Chinatown, MacArthur Park and Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, giving those regularly stuck behind the wheel a chance to dust off their bikes, roller skates, skateboards, unicycles and tennis shoes. The route stays open from 10am to 3pm, giving you a five-hour window to explore downtown at street level. We rounded up advice (and offered some of our own) on how to get there and what to see, eat, drink and do.
How to get there:
If you're a bicycle purist, you can meet up with one of several feeder groups that will ride from their respective neighborhoods to one of the route's hubs. CicLAvia's website has a pretty comprehensive list of feeder rides, but check Facebook if you don't see your neighborhood listed—we found an El Sereno group that hadn't made the list yet.
Westsiders and their wheels can hop on the Metro Expo Line and get off at Expo Park/USC station. Other hubs are accessible via the red, purple, gold and blue lines. CicLAvia's directions site has a full list of stops that will get you there. Stick to the trains and leave your car at home—parking could be a nightmare, and several bus routes will be disrupted. Metro has a full list of closures and detours, as well as tips for those bringing their bikes on the train.
What to do once you're there:
When you're traveling less than 20 miles per hour, it will be easy to admire our city's beautiful culture and architecture. Militant Angeleno has a great guide to 34 fascinating and historical landmarks along the route. Downtown also has a wealth of public art you may never have noticed. These attractions will be covered in the official CicLAvia map, but you can get a digest version now at KCET's Departures blog.
Music nerds can grab some water and tour the historic Neighborhood Music School on Boyle and 4th Street. At Mariachi Plaza, grab some fall reading at Libros Schmibros. At the Chinatown hub, participate in Living Streets LA's interactive “I Wish this Street Was...” project. Grab some riot-grrrl merch from the the Ovarian-Psycos Bicycle Brigade (which we've written about here), who will be directing traffic at 1st and State Streets. If you're on foot, enjoy a guided group walk with LA Walks' WalkLAvia from 8th and Figueroa to the Expo Park hub. CicLAvia's central hub will be in Grand Park, where there will be live music and DJ sets for the duration of the event. You can also indulge your inner hippie and jam at Active Arts' Remo Rhythm Ride drum circle. Keep track of official events at CicLAvia's blog.
What to eat and drink:
The CicLAvia blog has an overview of the food trucks and sponsored snacks at each hub—the 5th Annual Mole Festival will be going down on Olvera Street by the Chinatown hub! LAStreetsBlog's coverage includes restaurants and bars that will open early to accommodate the event.
The LAist team has some of our own recommendations on or near the route that might be good on the route—or afterward when you've worked up an appetite. In Chinatown, we love the Phoenix Bakery for Mexican wedding cookies, Pho 87, Empress Pavilion for dim sum, Spring Street Smoke House for beer and Rainbow Bakery for really cheap banh mi. On the way to (or from) Expo Park, we love the Mercado Paloma, which houses Chichen Itza among other restaurants. We love the mulitas over at La Taquiza near USC. Guisados and Antojitos Carmen Restaurant aren't too far from the hub in Boyle Heights. Langer's near the Macarthur Park hub is a no-brainer. There's a ton of stuff right in the middle of the route downtown: we like Bäco Mercat, Blossom, Umamicatessen, Bottega Louie and Mo Chica.
What to do after your trek:
The Chinatown hub will host a party until 4pm with a craft beer garden courtesy of Eagle Rock Brewery, a live music stage, food trucks and games.