Westside Bestside: Guide to 5 Outdoor Hotspots

Westside Bestside: Guide to 5 Outdoor Hotspots

If you’re in Los Angeles during Spring Break, it’s time to experience the great outdoors! Surf, swim, chill on the beach, people watch on the pier & more!  

Venice Beach

Venice Beach & Boardwalk

This is the place to be – there’s something for everyone here and mos’ def something interesting to see. The Boardwalk, aka Oceanfront Walk, has fun shops (touristy but fun); there are skateboard and surfboard rentals at Jay’s, plus eclectic stands with clothes, jewelry, etc. Walk north from Windward Ave and you’ll hit up more shops, cafes, and restaurants! Zelda’s Corner Cafe is a great spot to grab a ginormous, tasty sandwich (vegan and gluten-free options) on Westminster Ave (2 blocks north of Windward) and take it to the beach. Groundwork Coffee is there too for those needing caffeine with some great brew.

PS Zelda’s is one of our VIP Club Partners, offering a 20% OFF Sandwich Purchase for our Members. GET INFO >


 santa-monica-pier- AKFFSanta Monica 

Live up your spring break at the Santa Monica Pier! Are roller coasters and arcade games not your thing? No problem! Just walk a few blocks up and hit up the Third Street Promenade where you’ll find stores like Urban Outfitters, Brandy Melville, PacSun, Forever 21, and so many more!



Japanese Garden – West LA

This hidden gem of tranquility and beauty is located near UCLA. The garden is peaceful and quiet. It features a small waterfall, several footbridges over the fish pond plus bamboo trees and flowers. Drive on Wilshire and turn at Bonsall Av and park past the baseball field parking (while you see signs for a Vet’s garden at the lot, this is NOT the Japanese garden.) Walk back on the road you drove on to get to the parking lot and turn right on Bonsall, walking alongside the edge of the baseball field where you see multiple staircases and walk up the hill. There are signs for the garden and a 9 hole golf course.
11301 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90073 (Note the garden is not actually on Wilshire, this is where you enter the VA property)


Temescal CanyonTemescal Canyon

Just a short distance away from Pacific Palisades on Sunset at Temescal Canyon Dr, you can explore the multiple hiking paths Temescal Canyon has to offer! Is sweating not your thing? We hear you! Pack up your picnic basket and enjoy the green scenery! Park for free on Sunset or park in a paid lot.


Malibu-State-Beach-SurfersMalibu Lagoon & Fishing Pier

While Malibu isn’t technically the Westside it’s close enough for us! If you want a beautiful drive on PCH with the top down, Malibu is the place to do it! Explore The Malibu Lagoon, a bird sanctuary, with a path leading to the beach, where it’s a short walk to the Malibu Fishing Pier. After that catch a few waves, whether it’s surfing, boarding or swimming! Parking is available at a pay lot by the lagoon or free spaces on PCH.

Text by Janet Gervers & Christian Nicole
Photos by Janet Gervers (except as noted)

Need a Space to Work? Try this for FREE!

Yup, some of us are working during Spring Break, so it might as well be in a spot that’s nice and affordable with good coffee and company! AKFF has found the place to be is CulverWorks – that’s where our office is located. The community here is supportive and fun! Tuesdays are FREE days between 9am – 5pm. You must RSVP on the Culver Works Meetup page. Say that AKFF sent you! 
PS- Our AKFF VIP Club Members get a Sweet Deal on CulverWorks! Check it out!
Music, Art, and Cultural Mashup for Venice, Santa Monica, Westside & DTLA: Jan/Feb 2017

Music, Art, and Cultural Mashup for Venice, Santa Monica, Westside & DTLA: Jan/Feb 2017

Boy do we have events for you all! The AKFF Team has rounded up the best events in Venice, Santa Monica, Westside, and DTLA that you can attend. Check them out below!

ALAC-2017-Art Feature-AKFFALAC Art Los Angeles Contemporary

ALAC returns as the premier International Contemporary Art Fair of the West Coast at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica from January 26–29. The event offers an unrivaled perspective to the galleries and artists that shape Los Angeles’ position as one of the world’s preeminent art capitals.
For More Info On Event Check Out Details Here >
3021 Airport Ave #203, Santa Monica, CA 90405


mardi-gras-venice-beach-akff-blogVenice Beach Mardi Gras Parade

Calling all party goers and free spirits! The annual Venice Beach Mardi Gras Parade  is an event you don’t want to miss. With the parade being led by The Mudbug Brass Band and The Venice Electric Light Parade, there is no telling what’s in store for participants! The parade is on Saturday, February 18 at noon. Can’t make it? The Venice Ale House will be hosting a pre-party from 10-11am, offering drink and food specials before the parade. If you want to continue the celebration join The Gumbo Brothers at LARRY’s 24 Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90219
Parade starts at noon on Rose Ave/Boardwalk! See you there!

Kings Ball – Mardi Gras Pre-Parade Party

A Mardi Gras pre-pre party! Won’t be able to make it to the parade but still want to have fun and be a part of the celebrations? The Venice Beach Bar will be crowning 2017 Mardi Gras King Ravi and Queen Toni. Event is from 7-10:30pm on Thursday, February 9. Free Admission.
The Venice Beach Bar, 323 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA

11880649_786861204745123_5508649932591344056_n7th Annual Poetry of Venice
Words & Photography

Head over to Beyond Baroque, Saturday, January 28 for panel discussions (2-4pm) with award winning Venice photographers hosted by Gerry Fialka and a photo show in the gallery (4-6pm).
Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Bl, CA
More Info here >

Subversive Cinema

Join Subversive Cinema Sunday, February 8 at Beyond Baroque for music and political film screenings with fiery discussions. Free admission.
Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Bl, CA

films Venice Beach & EstsideSubversive Cinema Seven Dudley-film reel- Gerry FialkaEartha Kitt Film

Don’t miss Henry Schipper Monday, February 13 at UnUrban Cafe at 4pm to view Schipper’s engaging documentaries on actress, singer, activist, legend, Eartha Kitt’s life and career.
Free Jazz with Films start at 4pm
3301 Pico Bl, Santa Monica, CA 90401 



Jazz-Funk-Fest-Unurban-Santa-MoniicaJazz Funk Fest

On Saturday, February 25, the Jazz Funk Fest will get funky once again the Unurban Cafe! The AKFF has covered and attended this fun event before! We encourage you not to miss it this year. Improvisational rock,  and blues with a touch of jazz plus spoken word is sure to ensure a great night for you and your friends! Starts at 7pm sharp. Check out our coverage on past Jazz Funk Fest events >
3301 Pico Bl, Santa Monica, CA 90401 




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Join AKFF Venice VIP CLUB to receive EXCLUSIVE offers & EXCLUSIVE Events Invites!

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Boomtown Brewery

Celebrate the grand opening of Boomtown Brewery Saturday, February 4 with music guest DJ Lola Langusta with food from Tumaca Spanish Truck, and Boomtown Brewery’s new crafted beers! Boomtown will be open from noon to 1am. Don’t miss it!
700 Jackson St, Los Angeles, CA 90012







Hammer-Museum-Los AngelesHammer Museum

Looking for a fun, free event to go to?  The Hammer Museum will reopen its doors on Sunday to debut their newly reinvented galleries with a re-installed Armand Hammer Collection and exhibitions featuring pieces from Jimmie Durham and Jean Dubuffet. Open Tuesday-Sunday.
10899 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90024

Venice Events Mashup: Networking at Hotel Erwin TONIGHT, Laurie Anderson at The Hammer, Silicon Beach Investors Festival, Night on Broadway!

Venice Events Mashup: Networking at Hotel Erwin TONIGHT, Laurie Anderson at The Hammer, Silicon Beach Investors Festival, Night on Broadway!

The last week of January and start of February bring a cool bunch of haps from Venice and Beach areas to West LA and yes, Downtown LA! Updated Jan 29

First-Fridays-January-1-2016-February 5-2016Mark your Calendars for  First Fridays on Abbot Kinney – February 5, 6-10pm

Abbot Kinney First Fridays in Venice is at it with the monthly smorgasboard of food trucks and fun! See our blog, aka #AKFF #AKFFBlog next week! Are you ready for another contest?
Hint: get snapping!

2 Events in Venice & West LA, Wednesday, January 27:

Networking at Hotel Erwin

The Venice Chamber of Commerce hosts Venice Connect, their monthly mixer at the Venice hotel by the beach! It’s open to all – mingle and mix, $10 for Members, $20 for Non Members. 6-8pm. 1697 Pacific Ave Venice 90291

Hammer-Museum-Laurie-andersonLaurie Anderson at Hammer Museum

The iconic singer. performance artists  presents her film, Heart of a Dog at The Hammer Museum in West LA with a Q&A after the screening with Laurie Anderson. Starts at 7:30pm Free but you must RSVP with the Hammer Museum > 
10899 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90024
(photo Courtesy of Hammer Museum)

Silicon Beach: Investors Festival, February 3-5

A 3-day conference for investors and crowdfunding experts to meet, talk and shape the Future of Startup Investing at Expert Dojo in Santa Monica.  Speakers include Brock Pierce, Richard Wolpert, Carolyn Liikala and more. Tickets are from free to fee.
Get info and tickets for Investors Festival in Santa Monica >
395 Santa Monica Place, 3rd fl Santa Monica, CA 90401

Catherine Opie at Hammer Museum, Sunday January 31

A conversation with photographer Catherine Opie at the Hammer about her portraiture, gender, celebrity, and creativity at play. Starts 3pm.
Free but you must get a ticket  at the Hammer Museum >
10899 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90024

Ashland-HIll-party-Main St-Santa MonicaParty at Ashland Hill,  Friday, January 30, 11am – 1am
Celebrate the 1 Year Anniversary at this bar on Main Street in Santa Monica with $1 House Draft plus food and wine specials.
2807 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405



Night on Broadway, Saturday, January 30, 5-11pm

What, a #DTLA event on #AKFF? Yes, this is a must attend event that we are looking forward to checking out on Saturday night! Free performances from LA’s own Ozomatli and Aloe Blacc on the main festival stage, plus performances at the cool  oldtime theaters on Broadway! There will be art, food, dance, music and fun! Fab & Free!
Get the Night on Broadway scoop here >
Broadway between  3rd & Olympic

Venice Weekend Mashup! Plus Santa Monica, Marina del Rey & West LA!

Venice Weekend Mashup! Plus Santa Monica, Marina del Rey & West LA!

What do Gumbo Brothers, Juri Koll, Uncle Darrow’s and Pamela Des Barres have in common!

Friday, January 9

Gumbo-Brothers-venice-bistro-0314-256px-72dpiThe Gumbo Brothers are kicking it at our fave local Irish pub to jumpstart the weekend with the “laissez le bon temps roulez” vibe at this low key bar. Hipsters, don’t be afraid, there is life outside of Abbot Kinney! Free show, cheap drinks, pool table and nice people that will start dancing once the Gummo’s get rocking’! Get deets on Gumbo Brothers in My Venice Life >
(our sister blog)


Saturday, January 10

George-Koll-abstract-art-veniceArt opening for Artist George Koll, father of Venice Artist, Juri Koll, who curated the show and will also feature his art as well. This will be a real treat at Beyond Baroque from 4-7pm. Around the corner from Abbot Kinney  about a 5-8 minute walk- you can handle it, ok?
See our feature in My Venice Life on the art opening for George & Juri Koll >

Interview with the infamous Pamela Des Barres, known as Queen of  the Groupies at the Unurban Cafe in Santa Monica by Gerry Fialka. According to Fialka, “Pamela Des Barres has many other facets, fascinations and unique talents. Known mostly for her heady dalliances and friendships with classic rock’s elite dandies in the 60s and 70s, she presciently kept copious diaries about those madcap revolutionary days and nights.” She wrote 4 books, shared her history on numerous TV and radio shows, including Oprah and Larry King. This wild card event is sure to hit the jackpot! Need we say more? 4-6pm, 3301 Pico Bl, Santa Monica 90405.

UncleDarrows-Gumbo Brothers15th Anniversary of Uncle Darrow’s with the Gumbo Brothers! Wow, these guys get around! Be sure to catch this show at this cajun restaurant in the Marina from 2-5 and get served up a lot of gumbo!  Good eats at reasonable prices. Live music on the back porch.
2560 S Lincoln Bl, Marina del Rey 90292.

 PS: Remember to see the SPECIAL OFFER JUST FOR AKFF PEEPS from Turning Point Pilates >