Go Go to Museums of the Arroyo Day on May 16th! (Photo of Arroyo Seco Parkway circa 1940 courtesy of MOTA Day.)


Love to looky-loo at historical homes?  Interested in LAPD gangster-gumshoe struggles? Wish you could travel back in time?    

Check out the 21st anniversary of the Museums of the Arroyo Day (MOTA) on Sunday, May 16th for all of the above (well, maybe not ACTUAL time travel…) plus suffragettes, a helicopter, and an Edwardian-era fashionista. You can park once, (or take the Metro Gold Line), pay nothing, and spend the day meandering around the museums  that line this leafy tributary of the Los Angeles River.    

Ms. Go Go recommends absolutely every museum but if you can’t dedicate the day, here are highlights of events at the participating museums:  Heritage Square Museum, Lummis Home and Garden, Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum, Pasadena Museum of History, and the Gamble House.     

In addition to the preserved, historic structures, the Heritage Square Museum can be an all day destination in itself for families; myriad, kid-friendly activities include historical storytellers, period crafts, and Victorian games.   Be prepared to explain “women’s rights” to any kids in tow; suffragettes will  be in attendance in keeping with MOTA Day 2010’s theme: “Women of Early Los Angeles”.    Maybe the ladies will wear bloomers, which would further entertain the small fry….    

Started in 1898 and finished in 1910 by Renaissance Man Charles Lummis (founder of the Southwest Museum, among many other accomplishments), the Lummis House, with its use  of stone, wood and decorative detailing, is considered one of the earliest examples of the Arts and Craft aesthetic.  If you only have time for a couple of museums on MOTA Day, check out the Lummis House and Garden (lots of native plants and a nursery/ shop to help you plan your new low-water garden!) then grab a shuttle from Highland Park to Pasadena to see the gorgeous Gamble House, which was built in the Arts and Crafts style in 1910 and is considered one of the finest examples of Greene & Greene architecture.  The other big draw?  Cookies and lemonade on the Gamble House lawn.  (You need sustenance for your stroll through history, right, Go Go’ers?)    

Linger longer on Pasadena’s former Millionaire Row….  Just down the street from the Gamble House is the Pasadena Museum of History, which is honoring Eva Scott Fenyes: Pasadena art patron, adobe archivist/watercolorist, and Edwardian fashion plate. The Fenyes mansion (the museum’s main building) will be closed but Ian Whitcomb and his Bungalow Boys will play music on the elegant grounds at 1:00PM and 3:00PM; period clothes are encouraged so you can tap your twinkle toes in button up shoes if that’s your fancy.   Historians-in-Residence Walter and Sheila Nelson will share  early 1900’s etiquette tips.   Hmmm…maybe you’d better stop here first before you gobble up Gamble House cookies.    

The  1925  Renaissance Revival style Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum is the perfect place to take big and little wannabe crime fighters who can climb into a police helicopter, sit on a police cruiser, try on police gear, and pose for a “booking photo”.  (Bring your own camera to immortalize the faux felon.)   Fans of nonfiction crime can meet John Buntin, author of the well-reviewed L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City, which details Police Chief William Parker’s decades-long attempt to thwart gangster Mickey Cohen’s efforts to become the biggest crime lord in the City of Angels.    ‘Cause every boy needs  a dream….    

MOTA DAY ends at 4:00, which is basically cocktail hour. Relax and imbibe at one of the Eight Great Bars of the Arroyo Seco, reviewed in Ms. Go Go’s three-part guide  (links after the jump) to Northeast Los Angeles watering holes.     

Go Go’ers,  history doesn’t have to be dry….    

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….    


Photo courtesy of the Border Grill


If you’re a food truck aficionado, a fan of  the Too Hot Tamales’ tasty chow, or just love artisanal beer,  go go now to  Eagle Rock!   Tonight, from 6-10PM, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s Border Grill Truck will be parked outside the Eagle Rock Brewery:  the first brewery to operate in Los Angeles in over a century.  Perfect for a pre-party pit stop or while away the whole evening in the microbrewery’s 21+ tap room.  

TGIF, Go Go-ers, TGIF.  

Border Grill Truck at the Eagle Rock Brewery  

Tonight!   Friday, March 26, 6-10PM   

The Eagle Rock Brewery  

3056 Roswell Street  

Los Angeles 90056  




Arroyo Seco, the watershed that spawned Los Angeles, means “dry streambed” but there’s no shortage of great bars in the neighborhoods north of the arroyo-adjacent Pasadena Freeway.  Those looking for a great gastropub, live music, or a flame-spouting bartender can find all three at these Northeast Los Angeles bars. 

Here, in the second of three posts, are three more of the eight top picks, arranged by neighborhood for maximum pub-crawling ease.


Eight Great Bars of the Arroyo Seco/Part 2:


Highland Park/Figueroa Street (from South to North) 


With its deep horseshoe booths, red and yellow burlesque lighting, and retro/cheesy paintings of naked ladies, Footsies is a dark, comfortable, low-key, neighborhood bar.  Friendly bartenders serve a solid selection of liquor and bargain brews, such as $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon specials, at the capacious bar. DJs spin a few nights a week by the defunct telephone booth; the well-stocked juke box entertains thirty-somethings playing pool or smoking on the outdoor patio. Front and back door security; parking is free in the back lot after 6:00p.m. (2640 N Figueroa Street, Los Angeles 90065 323.221.6900) 



The ultimate dive, this former Highland Park bowling alley (a ball return still intrudes into the room) features a miniscule bar, red diner booths, cheap beer and booze ($6 for a healthy shot of Herradura tequila) and live music with an emphasis on punk. (A reincarnation of seminal Los Angeles band the Germs once played here.)  Patrons are loud and excitable; seats with cup holders ring the dance floor. Free parking after 6:00 in the well-lit, public parking lot off the monitored back entrance. (5621 N Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, 90042 323.256.7561 mrtsbowl.tripod.com



Sparkly black ceiling? Check. Bat and red light motif? Check.  Fire breathing bartender?  Check.  This small, kitschy, Highland Park bar with two outside patios is the ‘hood haunt for a friendly, eclectic crowd. An attentive bar staff serves signature Count Choculas and Bat-tinis made with black, Blavod vodka.  Old school entertainment includes a Pacman/Galaga video game and an Eighties-themed jukebox. There’s plentiful street parking so avoid tow-happy lots.  (5922 N Figueroa  Street, Los Angeles 90042  323.255.6871 www.littlecavebar.com)

Ready?  U know U want 2 go go….


Tomorrow: Eight, Great Bars of the Arroy Seco/Part 3:

Highland Park/York Street