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Itinerary

Near Museums

May 15, 1997

When you're museum hopping, but can't look at one more canvas, diorama or display case, consider getting a bite or passing some time in the neighborhood:

Friday Evening

After a visit to any of the museums on Wilshire Boulevard's Museum Row--including the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art or the nearby La Brea Tar Pits--the surrounding Hancock Park is a perfect place to picnic. If you look carefully, you can see holes in the ground where the tar is seeping through.

Grab an assortment of takeout sandwiches and salads beforehand from Flora Kitchen, 460 S. La Brea Ave. at 6th Street, Los Angeles, (213) 931-9900. Good things to try: the seared ahi tuna sandwich with sun-dried tomato mayonnaise on rosemary bread, the three salads plate, any dessert, especially the lemon bars, and the apricot sugar-free tarts.

Or, if you're in the mood to dance, try the Atlas Bar and Grill, 3760 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 380-8400, an art deco supper club. Open since 1990, the Atlas was swinging long before swing became the thing. Tonight: Brian Swartz and his jazz band will tantalize you with trumpet sounds.

Saturday

Morning

Before getting an early start at the UCLA Fowler or UCLA Armand Hammer museums in Brentwood, stop by the Brentwood Bread Co., 11640 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, (310) 826-9400. The best time to get there is between 10:30 a.m. and noon when one-kilogram loaves are just baked and still warm. After a couple of thick sample slabs of the honey wheat, cinnamon raisin walnut, Oregon herb or nacho cheese varieties (just to name a few) you'll be good to go until lunch.

Saturday

Evening

If a visit to Santa Monica Museum of Art or the Museum of Flying is on your agenda this weekend, the kids will enjoy Cirque du Soleil's "Quidam," under the big top at the Santa Monica Pier through Sunday. Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 6 and 9:30 p.m., Saturday at 4:30 and 8:30 p.m., Sunday, at 1 and 5 p.m. Call (800) 678-5440 for tickets, $8.25-$45.50.

Having dinner at Michael's, 1147 3rd St., (310) 451-0843, in Santa Monica is almost like having dinner in a museum. This pretty place is both an ode to California art (canvases by David Hockney and Richard Diebenkorn grace the walls), and to California cuisine, which chef Michael McCarty helped pioneer.

Sunday Morning

The charming outside patios at the Raymond Restaurant, 1250 S. Fair Oaks Drive in Pasadena, (818) 441-3136, provide the perfect setting for brunch before touring the museums along the Arroyo Seco in Highland Park and Pasadena.

For a break from the museum action, go shopping in old Pasadena on Colorado Boulevard. Until the one in Century City gets up and running this summer, the area's only J. Crew store is here, 3 Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (818) 568-2739.

Sunday

Evening

Groove to the Pasadena Playhouse's newest musical production, "The Emotions Starring in Bigger Than Bubble Gum," which starts Sunday with a performance at 5 p.m. This new musical by Larry W. Heimgartner revolves around the R&B sister act the Emotions. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Sunday, 5 p.m. Call (800) 233-3123 for tickets, $13.50-$42.50. Ends June 22.

After a hard day of museum-going, unburden your mind with the college crowd at the Gordon Biersch Brewery, 41 Hugus Alley, between Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue, (818) 449-0052, where cheeseburgers, garlicky fries and microbrews are served until 11 p.m.

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