The Architecture and Design Museum (or A+D to friends) is dedicated to unpacking the complex relationship between, yes, architecture and design, as it informs this sprawling metropolis — and its frequently overlooked or contested history. Today the A+D turns its eyes on the downtown neighborhood designated the Arts District. Not too long ago, the area between Alameda and the L.A. River was home to artists attracted to its raw, industrial, fringe-y vibe. It's also the longtime center of the once-outlawed mural community and the arts activism centered around ArtShare; the combination earned the district an edgy, progressive, even slightly dangerous reputation. To say things have changed is an understatement, as an influx of fancy lofts, hip bars and eateries, plus the recent legalization of murals in the city, have all contributed to a renewed, visitor-friendly vibrancy, which some lament as gentrification. The place is a fascinating case study and very much a work in progress, as local bohemian forces do their level best to stay rooted in the area they pioneered. Perhaps no one is better suited to illustrate the situation than Urban Hike guru, poet and L.A. historian Mike Sonksen, who conducts A+D Museum's Urban Hike walking tours of the city's most storied neighborhoods with a homegrown love and respect for what made this city great back in the day — and what makes it even better now. Downtown Arts District; starting location sent via email with ticket purchase; Sun., Nov. 3, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; $20. (323) 932-9393,

Sun., Nov. 3, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 2013

LA Weekly