Art Walk Los Angeles

In Life & Travel by Jackie Cruz

Every second Thursday of the month spread out between 3rd and 9th street in the heart of downtown Los Angles is the creative and coveted Art Walk. Every foot on the cement sidewalks is claimed by artisans, painters, jewelry makers, potters and designers.

My family and I visited this monthly event in July. It’s something we almost always do when I go home for the summer. The most beautiful thing? Every artist and craftsman has a story to tell.

We walked into a darker building with a hallway packed shoulder to shoulder with intrigued visitors. One woman with beautiful dreadlocks was painting and had handmade jewelry featuring the country of Africa. The other table had a man promoting his company – Farmfresh2you – that delivered fresh, organic produce to your home or office doorstep.

For those of you close to me, you know I love ceramics and pottery, but can only draw stick figures. So, I’m sure you all are wondering why I go to this event.

I strongly believe in going out of your comfort zone, yes, but this goes deeper than that. It’s about connecting with local businesses representing your city and region. It’s about listening to stories and feeling the struggle of up-and-coming artists. It’s about finding that piece of art that moves you – the one that all of your friends don’t understand or the one hidden in the dusty corner.

Walking down LA’s streets can, of course, be a movie, but one of the biggest highlights was The Last Bookstore. Walking in, there were mannequins covered in stickers with the store’s name, creaky wooden walls and floors, and seemingly never-ending bookcases. There was a small stage for readings and every genre of book imaginable was represented. Even after browsing the store floor for a few minutes, I quickly realized why it is included in the top 10 Indie Bookstores in LA.

I saw some hustle and bustle on the 2nd floor, so my friend and I went up to see the thousands of other books. Going passed the Harry-Potter-looking bookcases that doubled as a labyrinth was the tunnel of books and some amazing photo props. There was a room with an antique safe as a door frame, vintage book stacks, hundreds of books organized by color and interesting, random pieces hanging everywhere..

I couldn’t believe the detail this store owner thought of. There were hidden treasures in every corner!

At the back of the floor were mini pop-up shops of local artists. I had hit the jackpot of shelves filled with corky, funny pieces, California-themed items and one-of-a-kind antiques. This time, I ended up with a pineapple sticker for my gravity-board (longboard) and a sassy water bottle that read “feelin’ good from my head tomatoes.” I started cracking up in the store and I could not resist buying it! Now, in Germany, I think of my family, the Art Walk and California every time I see it.

I love walking along LA’s city streets and feeling the creative, peaceful vibes from artists packed on the sidewalks. However, another humongous reason I come to this monthly affair is the gourmet food trucks! Yes, gourmet food trucks. They slowly crept into our culture a few years back, but make their home in the empty downtown LA parking lots every second Thursday of each month. When walking down the loud, busy streets, you can tell when the food truck lots are near because your nose gets hit with salty, fried, garlicky, minty smells all at once! I always get nervous at this point because I never know what to eat!t

After stuffing our faces with a quesadilla, we turned the corner by a 3-inch mini taco restaurant and walked through a food mall. Most of the restaurants, including an Austrian one featuring Linzertorte and apple strudel, were closed. We kept walking in search of a second perfect bite for the night.

Noticing my head and hips swaying to a sick beat, I turned my head to see where the music was coming from. My mouth dropped when I saw a young man (Alan Price) making beautiful chords with his mini violin to One Dance by Drake. It was crazy good!

There were many more surprises and adventures, but it’s up to you to find them yourself! I challenge you all to go to the Art Walk if you are in the area. Or, make an extra trip if you are open for it. It’s definitely worth it! The next one is tomorrow October 13, so put your walking shoes on and getting ready to be awed!