LOS ANGELES—Traffic is a frequent topic of conversation in Los Angeles. At any time of day, on any major freeway, one can expect cars to come to a standstill. Determined drivers swerve into other lanes at untimely moments. Rubberneckers gawk at minor accidents on the shoulder, slowing the flow of traffic to a crawl. A 10-mile trip can take up to an hour.
But in my experience, nothing compares to the traffic flooding the roads on holiday weekends, whether one is leaving for Las Vegas or returning from San Diego. According to AAA, more than 3 million people in Southern California will drive over 50 miles to reach their vacation destinations this Memorial Day weekend, which will potentially double some travel times.
The solution is simple: stay in L.A. and explore what it has to offer this weekend. On any given weekend, Los Angeles has at least one culinary event for locals to indulge in, such as the L.A. Times Food Bowl, which was held throughout May and will last until the end of the month. Anyone who has decided to stay in the area for the next few days can visit these events and experience what L.A. has to offer.
On Friday, May 26, at 6 p.m., the Hammer Museum’s AMMO Café in Westwood will host a Constitution Happy Hour. Visitors can enjoy $5 draft beers and select wines during guided conversations about the U.S. Constitution, which the event founder, Linda Pollack, believes to be a “living document,” according to the museum website. This week’s conversation will focus on the rights of immigrants under the Constitution.
On Saturday, May 27, the Eat Drink Vegan festival will return to the Rose Bowl and Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena. The event will feature unlimited pours of more than 250 beverages, over 75 restaurants including Amazebowls, Badmaash, and Trejo’s Tacos, and a vegan marketplace. Gates will open at 12 p.m. for VIP ticket holders ($120) and 2 p.m. for general admission ($60). VIP tickets are only available for those 21 years old and above.
The Frog Spot will also reopen for the summer on Saturday in Elysian Valley, known as Frogtown. The Frog Spot is an outreach project under Friends of the Los Angeles River, creating an open community space for all and allowing access to the river. Free and low-cost activities such as yoga and meditation classes, nature walks, and live music events will be offered. At noon, the beer garden will open to the public, and live music will begin at 5 p.m.
On Sunday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the weekly open-air market Smorgasburg LA in Downtown will celebrate Memorial Day and National Hamburger Day with burger pop-ups and specials. In addition to regular food options, Chinatown’s Burgerlords will serve their vegan burgers, Bahay Kainan/BaBoys will offer their famous Lumpia Burger, and NYC’s Ramen Burger will return with their popular noodle buns. Attendees can browse a variety of craft, vintage, and fashion vendors as they eat.
For those who wish to explore more food options, the annual MAINopoly event will take place at Santa Monica’s Main Street from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Attendees are given MAINopoly dollars for food and beverage tastings at participating restaurants, coffee shops, and juiceries. Those who visit all of the spots will have a chance to win a “Taste of Main Street” prize package. General admission tickets are $25 in advance and $35 the day of, and VIP tickets are $40 in advance and $50 the day of. A portion of the proceeds will go to non-profit environmental organization Heal the Bay and Summer SoulSTICE, a festival featuring local artists.
The annual Topanga Days Country Fair will take place in Topanga on Monday, May 29, where the community will gather to celebrate music, food, arts, and Mother Earth, according to the event website. Food vendors will include Robin’s BBQ, Belly Bombz, Cruisen Juices, and Barbara’s Kettle Corn. A parade will begin at 8:30 a.m. and proceed down Topanga Canyon Boulevard.
Hermosa Beach will host its biannual arts and crafts fair, Fiesta Hermosa, on Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. About 300 artists, including painters, jewelers, and sculptors, will be featured during the event. Attendees will have a variety of cuisine to choose from. The Beer and Wine Garden will offer wine, beer, and beeritas, with proceeds going to local charities, according to the website. Children can enjoy a Kiddie Carnival with a 30-foot slide, games, and pony rides.
Whether we embark on a road trip or choose to stay at home, let’s bask in the onset of summer and the promise of more enjoyable events to come.