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The Case For Loving — And Exploring — LA's Mid-City

A dark-skinned Black woman in a black and blue hoodie stands in front of her house in Mid-City.
TV Producer Nisa Ahmad stands in front of her house in Mid-City.
(Chris Farias
LAist )
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If there’s one neighborhood where I have fond memories of growing up in Los Angeles, it’s Mid-City. Back in the good ‘ol days, my mom and I would go skating at the famous World on Wheels, which unfortunately closed back in 2020 (the late rapper Nipsey Hussle revived the rink back in 2017 after it shuttered the first time). And my parents actually met bowling at the Midtown Lanes bowling alley back in the 1980s, which is also no more.

Mid-City Is Food, Fun And History

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The neighborhood has definitely gone through a number of changes throughout the years, but there’s still a lot going on in this part of the city. That’s why it’s the next stop for my How to LA podcast colleagues as they explore all areas of L.A. This time, listener and TV producer Nisa Ahmad answered our query about where we should visit. Her love of Mid-City lured us in.

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A brown-skinned Latino man and a dark-skinned Black woman examine a garden in Mid-City.
TV Producer Nisa Ahmad and How To LA podcast host Brian De Los Santos examine Ahmad's garden at her Mid-City house.
(Chris Farias

Angelenos like to debate exactly where Mid-City begins and ends but the maps tell us that it roughly stretches from the 10 Freeway to Pico Boulevard and from Crenshaw to Robertson. There are a lot of neighborhoods within the neighborhood — PicFair Village, Brookside, Victoria Park — and it's one of the city’s most ethnically diverse areas.

“I love seeing older Asian couples. We've got queer couples, we've got interracial couples, literally all different ages, all different types of people, and it just feels like a little slice of heaven,” said Ahmad.

Ahmad’s family moved to central L.A. during the second wave of the Great Migration, a time when many African Americans were moving from the South to northern and western states like California (like my grandparents in the 1950s). After serving in the Korean War, her uncle found a place in Mid-City — an area where he could buy a home as a Black man. Redlining in L.A. made several neighborhoods unattainable to people of color and, as Nisa explained, her family wanted a sense of upward mobility and “to live in a dignified neighborhood with other dignified Black people.”

After years in Hollywood, Ahmad found her way back to Mid-City, drawn in by its suburban feeling in the middle of the city: cute houses and tree-lined streets that are within walking distance to restaurants, shops and even live jazz. She’s friends with the neighbors and even has a good bartering system worked out — exchanging her homegrown peppers for Jamaican jerk sauce. “That's the beauty of living in a diverse neighborhood,” Ahmad said, “and having landlords that don't care if I dig up my front lawn and plant vegetables.”

Listen to Ahmad’s tour of not only her garden but also the surrounding neighborhood — a stop at Roscoe’s Chicken N’ Waffles for lunch, Rubio’s Bakery for dessert and a surprise treat of live music at Pip’s On LA Brea. The latter is a 13-year-old jazz club tucked into the east side of the street — drive by too fast and you might miss it!

Listen to the podcast episode here.

If you’d like to tell us what neighborhood to visit next, give us the details here.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

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Wait... One More Thing

What Restaurants To Try Out This Weekend

An image of a piece of flan on a plate.
Flan with cream caramel custard & almond tuile at Tapizon in El Segundo. The restaurant is celebrating Brazilian Carnival on Sunday, Feb. 26.
(Courtesy of Tapizon)

The weather might be chilly and rainy this weekend, but that shouldn’t stop your fun (just be safe!) ... especially when it comes to having a delicious meal. If you are considering an outing, LAist has some good suggestions to check out this weekend.

I’m particularly interested in heading to Tapizon Restaurant in El Segundo to celebrate Brazilian Carnaval this Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. You can’t beat live music from a female DJ, dance performances AND Brazilian food. I’m talking about picanha steak, Brazilian feijoada, and pão de queijo.

While we’re on the topic of food, did you see actor Danny Trejo as a judge on the “Everyone’s Taco’ing About It” episode of Hell’s Kitchen? Chef Dafne Mejia and her team won the elevated taco competition and to celebrate she is teaming up with Trejo’s Tacos to bring her winning recipe to his Hollywood location. Her “HELLrizo” taco will be served through Feb. 26.

If you are a fan of South Korean fried chicken like I am, there’s a new spot at The Original Farmers Market. It’s called BHC Chicken.

Last but not least, make sure you check out all of the cool events this weekend here.

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