Rae's at Pico & 29th, a classic American diner. Not one of those silly themed "50's cafes" - this is the real deal. What one blogger calls a "Time Machine".
Both the interior and exterior of Rae's has been used in numerous movies, TV shows, and commercials including Starsky and Hutch, Bowfinger (with Steve Martin), True Romance (with Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater), The Next Best Thing (with Madonna), The Lords of Dogtown, and Not Another Teen Movie.
A few yards up from Rae's is Artesanias Oaxaquenas, specializing in Mexican folk art. While I'm generally trying to get rid of stuff rather than buying stuff (including artwork, Mexican or otherwise) I liked the choice of color of the sign and building - UCLA's colors. No relationship.
Across the street was the Shampoo Lounge. It's not a "lounge" - it's a hair salon. According to their website (worth visiting just to listen to the really cool music) haircuts start at $50. Guess that's the going rate. I pay $12 over on Lincoln Blvd.
A couple of blocks up is Trader Joe's. We go here all the time. Great store but (like much of the westside) terrible parking. I've often parked on the street and walked a block to avoid their lot. Nice Santa Monica themed murals out front along the street, though.
The Triathlon Lab is pretty self explanatory: everything you need for swimming, running and biking. Looks a bit pricey. If you want to save some cash, try Big Five on Wilshire.
Pico Blvd dips under the Santa Monica Freeway at Pico & 34th. The City of Santa Monica ends a block later at Pico & Centinela and West Los Angeles - part of the City of Los Angeles - begins.
Crossing over Centinela, and into Los Angeles City limits, the addresses suddenly jump from "3400" (meaning 3.4 miles from downtown Santa Monica) to "12300" (meaning 12.3 miles from downtown Los Angeles).
Los Angeles obviously has different zoning restrictions than Santa Monica. I liked the artwork above the door to "Grace" - and the reflection of the street is pretty cool, too. I found out later "Grace" is a medical marijuana dispensary. Uh, not what I would have guessed.
Another block east is "Mr Ceil's California Ribs". What caught my eye was the interesting architecture. Mr. Ceil looks like Colonel Sanders from KCF fame.
Bright (and I mean bright) green building at Pico & Amherst is home to the Westside Pregnancy Clinic. If you miss the building, there's also a billboard on the roof. Many thanks to friends and others who volunteer here on a regular basis.
Pico & Bundy, looking north. Santa Monica Mountains in the distance. Very typical Southern California streetscape.
The Arsenal. Interesting name. Is it a bar? A restaurant? I guess both. Never even noticed until I was on foot. The advantage to walking . . .
Another typical Southern California streetscape. Mini mall with obligatory palm tree. While it could be anywhere, this is at Pico & Westgate.
What I like, really love, about this stretch of Pico is the street trees. Really nice. These are sycamore trees, one of two trees indigenous to Los Angeles (the other being the California Live Oak).
Don't they look great? Really beautiful trees. What a contrast to, say, Lincoln Blvd.
Continuing on, I liked this small office complex on the corner of Pico & Granville - West Los Angeles. The architecture reminds me of the old "Super City" building set I had as a kid. Palm trees up against it = great.
I wonder what the cost of a haircut at this barbershop is compared to "The Shampoo Lounge" down the street. I also like how they made use of the "lighthouse" architecture.
Pico & Exposition - West L.A.
Exposition Blvd starts in Santa Monica - and continues east all the way to USC and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum south of downtown L.A.
image: Los Angeles Times
The Expo Line from Downtown Los Angeles to Culver City is now open. It's currently being extended to Santa Monica along either Pico or Olympic all the way to the beach - which will be FANTASTIC.
At about 3 miles up from the beach, at Pico & Exposition, I came across "Rolls-Royce of Beverly Hills." They apparently also service Bentleys. Wait a minute . . . Beverly Hills is several miles away.
There also weren't any Rolls-Royces or Bentleys. In fact, their lot was pretty empty.
If I was really looking for a "Beverly Hills" dealership (I'm not) I'd want it to be in Beverly Hills. And I'd want it to have at least a couple of cars they sell or service on the lot. Call me crazy ...
Across the street from Rolls-Royce of Beverly Hills was this less than stellar parkway. Actually, I took a picture of this because this was the only trashy looking area of my entire walk.
And this being Los Angeles, a palm tree in the photo can even make a dumpy parkway look good - or least better.
One of the many small office towers along Olympic Blvd, about four blocks away. Olympic parallels Pico through much of Los Angeles. The city has toyed with the idea of turning each of them into one way streets between downtown and Santa Monica - to help with traffic flow. This being Los Angeles, the local residents are absolutely against it.
What in the world? On a relatively large parking lot at Pico & Corinth is "The Jean Repair Shop" - a tiny shack that buys and sells used jeans.
A block away at the corner of Pico & Sawtelle is "Big Tomy's" - yet another knock-off of the successful "Tommy's" hamburger chain. I love the original "Tommy's" - to me these knock-offs just clutter the landscape.
Corner of Pico & Sawtelle Blvd, looking north up Sawtelle. In the distance is the Getty Center complex.
Pico Blvd passes underneath the massive San Diego Freeway - often referred to by it's number: The 405.
The chaos of West L.A. is really apparent here - these few blocks around the 405 were the least pleasant of an otherwise very enjoyable four mile walk.
A block south of Sepulveda is Adventure 16. They've been around forever - actually, according to their site www.adventure16.com since 1962.
Apparently, they originally had ties with the Explorer Scouts (a branch of the Boy Scouts), so I guessing their name came from gear designed for 16 year old Scouts? Just a guess. Nice store - I've bought maps and guides for local hiking here.
The intersection of Pico & Sepulveda. Thanks to the 1947 song by bandleader Freddy Martin, the song "Pico & Sepulveda" made this otherwise non-descript intersection famous.
Here's a link to a previous blog post with more information.
A couple blocks up Pico is Norms Restaurant. I like the mid-century "googie" architecture, but what really caught my eye was . . .
. . . the Rolls-Royce coming out of the parking lot. Where else but L.A. would you see a Rolls Royce coming out of Norms?
Maybe stopping off for the "$7.99 sirloin steak & eggs special" before heading over to our friends at Rolls-Royce of Beverly Hills - in West L.A.?
Walking towards Westwood Blvd, I was impressed by the beautiful tree-lined residential neighborhoods right off Pico Blvd. This area is considered the southern most edge of Westwood.
Despite the downturn in the economy, homes in these neighborhoods are not cheap. The proximity to the rest of the westside put these single family homes between $750,000 - 1.5 million dollars. The above photo is of Midvale Avenue, looking north from Pico Blvd.
Turning around 180° and looking south across Pico . . .
is the Landmark Theaters complex, part of the massive Westside Pavilion shopping center.
The contrast between a tree-lined neighborhood in the previous photo and this huge mall at the end of their street was, well, a bit jarring.
Continuing on a block to the corner Pico & Westwood Blvd.
The Westside Pavilion shopping center runs along Pico for five and a half city blocks. It's got the usual assortment of retail chains you've find in your average mall (aka "maul"). What is unique is how the building comes right up against the street. There is a large parking garage (after all, this is Los Angeles) around back.
Looked at my watch, er phone. 8:20am. Had to get back to Santa Monica - and my car - by 9am to avoid a ticket.
Hopped on this bus here, the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Number 7 Express.
Great choice. Express = limited stops. It really moved.
Made it all the way back down to where I started in about 25 minutes. That's my car, the white Honda Accord, across the street on the left of the photo (which I sold on Craigslist just before we moved).
Santa Monica still shrouded in cool coastal fog. Really enjoyable morning walk.
I ended up doing a similar walk up Pico (and going about twice as far) a week later. I'll try and re-post that again sometime soon.
© 2013 www.experiencingla.com - originally posted 9/18/2010