Saunter down Broadway downtown most any day or night of the week and you'll see the city in full vibrant thrum: Dress shops and restaurant and bodegas and vintage movie palaces and Clifton's Cafeteria see a flow of shoppers, eaters, lookie-loos, and people just enjoying the passing parade.
What you won't do, though, is walk down the street, in the center of the street, for a few blocks, due to traffic and Broadway's forever-bustling nature. That changes on one night of the year, the night of Night on Broadway, an annual celebration in commemoration of Councilmember José Huizar's Bringing Back Broadway initiative.
Some 35,000 people attended in 2015, strolling the closed stretch of blocks -- think 3rd to 7th Streets -- and dipping into the many theaters along the way, for no-fee festivities of the cultural, art-awesome, eye-popping sort.
What to do, where to go and what to see
There's a lot of theater-visiting, music-listening, food-noshing to do over the six hours of Night on Broadway, so arrive right at 5 p.m. if you want to experience most everything.
Most everything includes The Million Dollar Cabaret at The Million Dollar Theatre, a "cirque bizarre" performance at The Orpheum, The Lucent Dossier Experience at The Los Angeles Theatre, and The Clouds Below will rock The Palace Theatre.
There's so much moreness to the night -- yes, you got it, "moreness" -- that filling in every detail is much like trying to vividly describe Broadway's vivid vibe to someone who has never experienced one of our city's great streets.
It isn't hard to argue that Broadway has indeed been "brought back," as its initiative is seeking to do, and not just on one special night of the year. But that some 35,000 revelers, and Broadway buffs, turned out for the free fun in 2015, the magical etherealness, the food yumminess, and the gifts of the historic, theater-lined stretch, says much.
Nope, you can't saunter down the center of Broadway, in the heart of downtown, on most days, but on Jan. 30 you can, at least for a few designated blocks. It's a rare treat with a bigger, Broadwayier purpose, one of community and culture combined.