My friend Carrie and I decided to go for an artsy lunchtime excursion last week and stopped by Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. The art gallery complex (a defunct trolley station which ran from the late 1800's-1953) boasts a smorgesboard of 30+ galleries featuring modern art installations, photography, sculptures, sketches and paintings as well as jewelry, fine-art paper and a charity boutique filled with designer and vintage clothing.
The good thing about Bergamot is that you don't really need to know what specific exhibit is going on because, with 30 options, chances are, you'll run into something pretty interesting. Highlights from our recent visit included cardboard furniture from various artists including Frank Gehry (Bobbie Greenfield Gallery) and the 2nd Annual L.A. WEekly Biennial exhibit of top selections from L.A. area art schools (Track 16 Gallery & Minispace) and the Flow exhibit of artwork painted on limited edition surfboards (Frank Picutres/Off Main Gallery).
Getting arty worked up an appetite and we lunched outside at the Bergamot Cafe. Featuring your basic cafe fare (soups, salads and sandwiches), we both ordered the 'Bundle Of Joy' half sandwich/half salad combo ($7.39). My greek salad and roast beef & avocado sandwich wasn't amazing but wasn't bad either. You can probably find other better eateries nearby but for its on-premises convenience (and selection of fun boutique sodas...I had the Bundaberg Ginger Brew $1.79) the cafe is totally doable.
Getting there is easy, there's plenty of free parking and free admission where you can just wander from adjacent gallery to adjacent gallery until you're all arted out. Closed Mondays and Sundays, but it's definitely an interesting weekday excursion you could fit during your lunch hour or Saturdays for a more leisurely arty walkabout.
2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica
Hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Tuesday - Friday)
11 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Saturday)