Its safe to say that with the exception of family and friends art is the greatest passion in my life. Fine or street, museum or gallery, indoor, outdoor, I love it all, which is why a visit to the Wynwood Art District in Miami, Florida was long overdue.
Miami Beach, and more specifically the South Beach neighborhood is famous for it’s large concentration of Art Deco architecture (the largest in the world), and its vibrant nightlife has been featured in films, television and books. However, it was the collection of colorful and unique lifeguard towers dotting the beach that cemented Miami Beach’s place on my Florida To Do List.
Merry Christmas Y’all! We’re just back from our annual visit to New Orleans, which is one of my favorite places on the planet. The festive season is a wonderful time to be in NOLA the weather is mild, the crowds are thin, and the City is dressed to the nines in brightly colored bows, baubles and boughs, adorning everything from the donkeys to the streetcars and gas lamps.
A trip to Brick Lane, located in London’s East End, is always on our London to do list no matter the length of our visit. The area has been through many transformations over the years, and even within the decade plus that we’ve been visiting. Its hard to believe that this now trendy neighborhood was once a poor slum and the scene of the notorious Jack the Ripper’s infamous crimes.
I’m always up for a celebration, any excuse will do, especially a surprise visit from a dear friend. Our perfect day out included a whirlwind tour of the city, including sweeping views, fine dining, touristy Insta fun, and even a film screening at the USC School of Cinema.
Our screening wouldn’t take place until 6:30 pm on the USC Campus, but knowing LA traffic we decided to head in that general direction to make the most of our afternoon.
We’re both foodies, so her visit was the perfect excuse for me to finally check out 71 Above, a fine dining establishment 71 stories above Downtown Los Angeles. Lucky for us recent rains had cleared the city’s haze making it a perfect day for a view spot.
The reviews are great, and our experience absolutely lived up to them. Everything was wonderful the food, the service, the views and especially the company!
While you’re there take the time to walk around the restaurant’s dining room, so you can see the view from many directions. Marks placed on the outer walls will help you get your bearings.
71 Above offers prix fix menus for both the lunch and dinner menus. The choices are plentiful and we found the lunch prices reasonable. If you’re not interested in a prix fix menu you can order à la carte items in the bar.
71 Above is located in the US bank Building in Downtown Los Angeles. If you park in the building’s garage the restaurant will validate for two hours.
OUE SkySpace Slide
Also located in the US Bank Building is the OUE SkySpace Slide, which I causally mentioned to Melissa as we were leaving. She immediately wanted to do this and her excitement was contagious. The next thing I knew I was 70 stories up preparing to slide down the outside of a building in a glass slide!
This is NOT something I would normally sign up for, but I went with it, and I’m so glad I did! The slide is the length of one floor, and some might say it’s too short, but it was perfect for me. Just long enough for a thrill, but not too long.
Once you emerge from the slide you’ll find yourself on a gorgeous balcony overlooking the city. Food and beverages are available, and there are couches for lounging. The slide itself may be short, but you can linger on the balcony as long as you’d like.
The balcony has two sets of Colette Miller’s angel wings, part of her Global Angel Wings Project, and if you’re interested, you can pose with them. Why not? It is the City of Angels after all!
The timing of our visit couldn’t have been more perfect as the sun was just setting giving the city and everything in it a golden glow.
The OUE Skyspace box office is the left of the building’s main entrance. Filming and photos aren’t allowed during inside the slide, but the official photo is available for purchase.
Out of the Box(Office)
Next up was our movie screening at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. We were seeing Kusama: Infinity with a directors talk afterwards. The event was hosted by Out of the Box (Office), a division of SCA, which hosts FREE weekly screenings in order to showcase upcoming international, documentary and independent cinema. The list of titles screened is impressive and for the most part they are all open to the public. The films shown include choices from Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, SXSW, and Venice Film Festivals to name just a few.
Are you familiar with Yayoi Kusama? She’s a Japanese contemporary artist who is most famous for her sculpture and immersive installations. She’s been active in the art word for the large part of her 89 years, but sadly it’s only been in more recent years that her art has been appreciated and given the respect it deserves. This documentary documents the early parts of her life and the immense struggles she overcame to become the top selling female artist in the world.
RSVP online and arrive early for the free screenings as seating is not guaranteed. Consider taking the Expo Train to USC if traffic and parking aren’t on your agenda.
The Expo Line
The USC Campus, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the California Science center, and Downtown LA can all be reached via the Expo Line, a commuter train, which runs east/west from the heart of Downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Monica Pier.
Exit at the Vermont Station for USC, and both museums, as well as many other nearby areas of interest. Check the Metro website for timetables, fare information and routes.
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For many travelers photography plays a large part in the travel experience, but even with top of the line photography equipment and post processing software there’s no guarantee you’ll come home with the “beauty shot(s)” you were hoping for. Timing, lighting, bad weather, crowds and impatient families all factor in.