A New Year means a new opportunity to get involved with the community, connect with your neighbors and learn more about Westchester/Playa! We love answering our readers’ questions, so we’ve put together a list of some of our most popular queries to help you get a head start on all the things you should know about Westchester/Playa in 2022!
We hope you learn something new, and if there’s a burning question you have about the community, please reach out! Email us at email@example.com, and we’ll do our best to answer it.
Q. What are some local volunteer opportunities?
A. People in Westchester/Playa love to give back to their community, so there’s multiple organizations that host regular volunteer opportunities. One of our favorites is Clean UP Westchester. Once a month, community members with a passion for beautification team up for an hour-long cleanup activity. Join this enthusiastic crew at their next meet-up on Saturday, January 22 at 9 a.m. Volunteers will meet at 83rd Street and Lincoln, and trash grabbers and bags will be provided. To RSVP and to learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to the fun volunteers have trying to see who can pick up the most garbage, attendees are provided with special T-shirts.
Another group that loves working with volunteers is the Friends of Ballona Wetlands. Check out their calendar of events to find ways you can help with their Ballona Creek cleanups and restoring the wetlands.
They’re currently accepting volunteers for their Habitat Restoration event on Friday, January 21 from 3 to 5 p.m. Volunteers should be at least 7-years-old, and kids must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited, so RSVPs are required. Learn more at ballonafriends.org.
Other community groups that regularly have volunteer opportunities include the Westchester Family YMCA and Playa del Rey’s Grass Roots Neighbors.
Q. Where can I learn more about the history of the area?
A. If you’re a history buff or just curious about your community, we recommend visiting the Westchester/Playa Historical Society’s (WPHS) Discovery Center. The center is open on Sundays during the Westchester Farmers’ Market (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and houses a large digital archive of photos and other artifacts. The center is located in the Westchester Triangle and is staffed by knowledgeable volunteers ready to answer your questions and get nostalgic.
On January 9, WPHS will open its first themed exhibition, which will focus on aviation. If you enjoy your time at the center, consider making a visit to the Flight Path Museum, which also has an aviation-focus. The museum is located on Imperial Highway in Westchester and has wonderful displays focused on all things flight and LAX.
To learn more about the early history of the area, stop by the Ballona Discovery Park in Playa Vista. When visiting this “museum without walls,” you’ll learn about the Gabrielino-Tongva people, discover the different habitats in the Ballona Wetlands and read about the plants and animals that call the area home, thanks to the numerous interpretive signs.
Ballona Discovery Park is located at 13110 Bluff Creek Dr. in Playa Vista.
Q. Where are the local farmers’ markets?
A. The Playa Vista Farmers’ Market is the largest in the area and runs Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market is located in Runway Playa Vista, and shoppers can expect to find lots of organic fruit and veggies, as well as a large number of artisanal food vendors and booths selling clothing, jewelry and more. Visit farmermark.com for more info.
The Westchester Farmers’ Market runs Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Westchester Triangle. In addition to fruits and veggies (we like the pick three for $5 booth at the end of the market), check out vendors selling bread, pastries, gifts, salsa, tamales and more.
Follow the market on Instagram for an update on what’s in season @westchesterfarmersmarket.
Each market has different vendors and products, so if you have the time, make sure to visit both to see which one fits your shopping needs.
Q. Where can I view art in the community?
A. While the community has its fair share of public art (including a painting dedicated to Maya Angelou in the parking lot next to Truxton’s; multiple large-scale murals in the Westchester business district; a giant KAWS BFF statue in Playa Vista and almost a dozen utility box murals), Westchester is also home to two art galleries. On the campus of Otis College of Art and Design, there’s the Ben Maltz Gallery. Loyola Marymount University is home to the Laband Gallery. While right now both locations are closed to the public due to the pandemic, the Laband’s current exhibition is “June Edmonds: Full Spectrum.” Depending on LMU’s visitor policy for the spring semester, reservations may open to community members next month through a preregistration system on the gallery’s website. Learn more about upcoming exhibits by joining their mailing lists at cfa.lmu.edu/labandgallery and otis.edu/ben-maltz-gallery.
Q. What community events should I mark on my calendar?
A. After a two-year hiatus, most community events are currently scheduled to take place in person in 2022. Below are the area’s most popular events by month (exact dates for events are TBD unless noted):
• Kids’ March for Equality, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. on January 17
• LMU Wine Classic, to raise money for scholarships on February 6
• Rock Roll & Run, 5K raising money for local schools (canceled this year)
• 2nd Annual LAX Coastal Education Foundation Art Show & Contest, showcasing student art in the Westchester Triangle
• Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club’s BingoFest, raising money for community projects
• Teacher Eddy Awards, celebrating local teachers and education
• Westchester Rotary annual Book Sale, raising money for community projects
• Fourth of July Parade, parade down Loyola Blvd. in Westchester on July 4
• Shakespeare on the Bluff, performances of classic works held at LMU
• WAM, featuring live music, arts and a block party vibe
• Elks Car Show & Chili Cook Off, classic cars and a chili competition at the Lodge in Playa del Rey
• Marina del Rey Boat Parade, decorated boats cruise the marina
• Santa Tour, Santa and guests tour the community with help of LAPD, LAFD and the Rotary
Q. What are the best restaurants in the area?
A. We have our favorite local spots, but we always love hearing from community members to get recommendations and suggestions on the best places to eat. Once a year, we ask our readers to vote for their favorites, and we reveal the results in our Best Of issue out in August. You can view the results of our latest poll and get a handy list of reader recommended picks at issuu.com/westchesterpdrhometownnews. Hopefully you’ll see some of your favorites on the list and get inspired to try some new places. If you’d like to participate in our eleventh annual poll, voting will start in June.
Q. How can I get more involved with the community?
A. Westchester/Playa is full of community groups and organizations looking for new members and to connect people. Each one is unique and has a different focus, but some of the most active groups include the Westchester Elks, the Women’s Club of Playa del Rey, the Westchester Rotary Club, the Westchester Mental Health Guild and the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary. These groups meet regularly and offer a variety of activities, fundraisers and social events for members. Visit their websites to read about their programs and membership requirements.
Q. How can I share my thoughts on proposed developments in the area? A. The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa (NCWP) has an active Planning, Land Use & Development Committee that meets once a month to discuss proposed projects, hear from developers and get feedback on a variety of issues that impact the areas of Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista. The meetings are currently held via Zoom on the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.
Community members are invited and encouraged to share their opinion during the committee’s public comment period. Any recommendations the committee makes will then go to the NCWP’s full board for a vote.
The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 18. While the full agenda has not been released yet, the group is scheduled to discuss the proposed “Dinah’s project,” which would transform the shopping center located at 6501 Sepulveda Blvd. in Westchester into an eight-story building featuring 362 apartments. The existing Dinah’s Restaurant, which has been there since 1959, would be incorporated into the design. Sign up for updates and agendas at ncwpdr.org.
Q. Where can I connect with other local business owners?
A. Give the LAX Coastal Chamber a call. The chamber is a membership organization made up of more than 500 businesses located in the areas around LAX. There’s a yearly fee to join, but membership has a variety of perks including networking events; a monthly mixer; access to committees focusing on topics like planning and land use, education and construction; and opportunities to meet and connect with fellow business leaders.
Reach them at (310) 645-5151 and learn more at laxcoastal.com.
Q. Where can I learn about local schools and education?
A. Visit the LAX Coastal Education Foundation’s website at laxcef.org to get an overview of the community’s schools.
The NCWP’s Education Committee is also a great place to connect with parents and community members to ask questions and hear from school administrators. The committee meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Sign up to receive their agendas at ncwpdr.org.
Posted January 2022.