You may think of the Westside’s Lincoln Boulevard as more of a perpetually clogged artery than a destination…but look beyond the traffic and mini malls. Some pretty cool stuff is happening at the intersection of Lincoln and Rose Avenue, and a stop here, with tots in tow, will make your day a whole lot more Zen. So slip into your finest yoga wear, make sure your hair is looking artfully unkempt, and go join the beautiful bohemians of Venice for a bottle of astonishing cold-pressed Moon Juice and kiddo Kundalini yoga chanting.
Ra Ma…and Raw Ice Cream!
This up-and-coming intersection may be most notable for the flagship Whole Foods store that anchors the northwest corner, but on the southeast corner of Lincoln and Rose you’ll find the Ra Ma Yoga Institute, a studio and community dedicated to the practice of Kundalini yoga and meditation. Kundalini is heavy on dynamic movement, chanting and singing, making it an excellent fit for little ones, and to that end, Ra Ma offers Aquarian Family Yoga and Pre/Postnatal classes several times a week. And if your kids aren’t super into the whole spiritual thing, you can always bribe them with a stop into Kippy’s Ice Cream Shop next door – you’re likely to bump into one of Ra Ma’s gurus (AKA yoga instructors) enjoying a scoop of raw coconut ice cream there, as well.
Choose Your (Raw, Vegan, Organic) Poison
A few short blocks to the west on Rose Avenue, you’ll find a cluster of intriguing shops and restaurants. Tykes will no doubt be drawn to the bright colors of the Big Red Sun home and garden boutique. Steer handsy tots clear of the fragile interior displays and stick to the outdoor space, which features whimsical garden sculptures and fountains, fun porch swings, and a cool “secret passageway” through a gate from the front yard to the back.
Across the street is Moon Juice, a cold-pressed juicing outfit that turns out healthy concoctions to please even the most discriminating young palates. Almond-based “Moon Milks” are sure to delight in flavors like chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and banana (just prep for yourself for the sticker shock – this manna in a bottle runs 12 bucks a pop).
The healthy tradition continues across the street at Café Gratitude, that oh-so-woo-woo bastion of virtuous fare. The “I Am Playful” quesadilla meal, or “I Am A Star” apple slices with almond butter snack are sure fire palate pleasers for even picky noshers. But if your kids (and you) have had enough of the raw vegan racket, you can always just grab a bite at Flake Café, a self-described “cheap and cheerful neighborhood bacon hut.” Now we’re talking…
From Big Red Sun to Big Blue Boot
Now that your wallet is empty, it’s time for some good, old fashioned, and most importantly, free fun around the corner at the local playground. Located along the border between Santa Monica and Venice, what diminutive Ozone Park lacks in acreage, it makes up for in whimsy. The narrow park features a fenced-in playground for wee ones at the west end, punctuated by a climbing structure shaped like a giant blue boot, along with swings, a slide and a killer climbing tree. The east end of the park has equipment designed for older kids, including swings, a tall slide, and one of those cool domed metal climbing structures that you don’t see around so much these days. All in all, Ozone is a delightful, old school-style neighborhood spot, perfect for wrapping up your Rose-y day.
Insider’s Tip: Ra Ma Yoga Institute offers a free parking lot in the back of the building for clients. However, you may want to drive from there to visit the shops and restaurants on Rose Avenue (which has free street parking), as walking the few blocks west from Lincoln is less than scenic (and a little grimy).
Photo credits: Erin Harris