Ah, summer. The days are longer, the nights are warmer, skin is sun-kissed and the potential for fun is at an all time high. The beautiful thing about our city is that, with the right company, you’ll never run out of things to do if you know where to look. Here is a list of places that offer a refreshing taste of the variety of events happening during the best 100 days of the year.
W Los Angeles
930 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024
With all the eating and drinking you’ve got planned, W Los Angeles is here to offer balance to all of that at Wellness Weekends. First, sweat it out with a complimentary poolside Pilates class led by celebrity trainer Kit Rich, a finalist for Women’s Health Next Fitness Star. Next, stay for a complimentary mimosa and 20 percent off brunch in The Backyard with food by executive chef Dakota Weiss, a former “Top Chef” competitor. There couldn’t be a more perfect way to start the day! This complimentary 60-minute Pilates class starts at 9 a.m. every Saturday from now through Aug. 31.
Summer Beer Garden
525 S. Flower Street (City National Plaza)
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Not many traditions compare to that of beer and barbecue in the summertime. For all of the fun and none of the work, head to the Summer Beer Garden at CHAYA Downtown for a feast of Japanese-style BBQ items. Start of with the refreshing Farmers Market Yellow Peaches (with burrata cheese, balsamic must, hazelnuts, arugula) and check out the Hawaiian BBQ Half Cornish Hen (pineapple mint salsa, balsamic must) for an island-inspired bite.
With hot weather comes thirst to quench! Order a Kirin Beer topped with a premier frozen beer foam technology that insulates the brew below, keeping it impressively ice cold for a cool 30 minutes. You’ll want to check this out, since CHAYA is the first restaurant in the U.S. to have it. When you’re ready for more, try out the rest of the offerings, such as fresh seasonal cocktails, a sake flight or premium Japanese whiskey.
Executive Chef Atsushi Kenjo offers a variety of mouth-watering, grilled-to-order Kushiyaki Skewers including Beef Tongue, Shrimp and Shiitake for just $2 to $3 each!
The Summer Beer Garden is offered exclusively at CHAYA’s Downtown L.A. location from now through Aug. 30 on Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to close, and all day Sunday noon to 8 p.m.
Come out to LA’s ultimate traveling outdoor movie series, offering 19 tour stops throughout Greater LA through Sept. 14. Angelenos of the human and four-legged kind gather here to watch their favorite movies, and they also get to discover scenic and iconic venues where the events take place. The nostalgic addition of the “pop-up” drive-in is also available at select venues.
Pack a picnic, blanket and a jacket, find a good spot to claim and get comfy, because you’re going to want to stay for a while. The day starts at 5:30 p.m. with live local music performances and a tasty lineup of food trucks to provide what your picnic basket lacks. Come sundown, a movie is digital HD projected on a three-story high, 52-foot wide inflatable AIRSCREEN that boasts state of the art audio. Eat|See|Hear is partnered with Best Friends Animal Society LA, who will be bringing adoptable animals to several events. Better yet, when the event series comes to a close, a portion of the net proceeds will go to this charity.
Purchase advanced tickets online for $10 (plus small service fee). Children 12 and under are $8 (kids under 5 and dogs are free). Go paperless by sending your ticket to your mobile phone and scan at the door. Special “Fashionably Late” tickets for $20 are available (online only) for the best seats in the house that allow for arrival at 8 p.m. If you go this route, be sure to purchase tickets early because once they’re sold out, you’re out of luck. Limited tickets will also be sold at the door for $12. Vehicle tickets (for drive-in venues only) are $15 with a two-ticket minimum per car. Parking at each venue varies, so be sure to check the full schedule for details.
Clambake on the Beach
17300 Pacific Coast Hwy
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
For all-you-can-eat seafood with a view, this is the place to be. The Clambake runs the first Sunday of every month from noon to 4 p.m. now until Aug. 4. Menu items are served full buffet style, featuring a variety of options that include salads, freshly baked bread and of course, their famous clambake. Traditionally, the buffet takes place on the restaurant’s outdoor deck for a true beachside dining experience. When making reservations, specify the Clambake menu ($44.95 for adults and $19.95 for children 12 and under).
Grand Park LA Performance Lawn (between Grand and Hill)
200 North Grand Avenue
Los Angeles,CA 90012
If you have yet to check out the new “park for everyone” in Downtown Los Angeles, Sunday Sessions is the perfect occasion to do so. On the fourth Sunday of every month from now until Aug. 26, Eduardo Castillo (The Eclectech) brings electronic music of local and international DJs/producers to the heart of the city for an all-day dance fest (1 to 8 p.m.) You’ll be sure get the irresistible urge to fist pump with reckless abandon on the grassy dance floor.
For a list of scheduled performances for this free event, check out the calendar on the Grand Park LA website. A variety of food trucks will be on deck and cocktails by Pattern Bar will be available for purchase to refuel between sets. If you prefer, bring your own picnic, but grilling/cooking is prohibited, as is bringing alcoholic beverages or smoking in the park. To get here hassle-free, take the Metro Red or Purple Line to Civic Center/Grand Park Station.
1886 Summer Cocktail Experience
1250 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
Tucked away in the back of this charming craftsman cottage (formerly occupied by hotel builder Walter Raymond) is 1886 Bar. Not only is this the year The Raymond was first built, it is also the name of the best-kept secret in Pasadena. Within this historically rich restaurant, you’ll find a talented, unpretentious bar team that is given a fantastic amount of creative freedom with their menu. The result are some of the most complex and intriguing drinks you’ve had all year (and perhaps all day, for some).
At this bar, every detail is accounted for and there is a story behind each glass. Says bartender Greg Gertmenian, “At 1886, we strive not just to create a drink that tastes balanced, but to share a personal experience. For this reason, in conceptualizing cocktails, we often work with personal memories and attempt to engage multiple senses.”
The 1886 Summer Cocktail launch will debut four menu categories: “Their Tiki” (paying homage to Donn Beach and other tiki forefathers), “Our Tiki” (textural and flavor twists on classic recipes), “Dirty Pretty Things” (molecular techniques for low-brow cocktails) and “Elixirs” (stirred originals). For a complex drink reminiscent of Jamaican rum cake, order The Jamaican Farewell (Goslings Black Seal, Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum, yuzu juices, coconut, mango shrub). If you’re curious about molecular mixology, The Sangrita Sphere (a sphere encapsulating fresh orange, lime, red chili powder and tomato) is what you’ll want, served with a shot of Casa Noble Silver. And of course, for an off-menu treat, ask Greg for The Smoking Jacket. It will take you on a trip down memory lane that he will be happy to share with you. The 1886 Summer Cocktail Experience will be available for your multi-sensory pleasure starting July 9 through summer from 5 p.m. to close (Tuesday through Friday) and 11 a.m. to close on weekends.
Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Check out her other articles on CBS L.A. She also covers fitness on Examiner. Follow her on Twitter.