LA is the home of muscle beach, unlimited health food, and endless amounts of hiking trails. It’s hard not to be active when it’s sunny everyday and the weather is 60-90 degrees year round. Here are the top spots to find Angelinos out getting their steps in and working up an appetite for an acai bowl or savory breakfast burrito.
Nicknamed “Santa Monica’s Ultimate Butt Workout”, the Santa Monica Stairs are exactly what they sound like. 190 Stairs lead up to great views of the Pacific and Santa Monica below. The stairway is pretty narrow, only about two people wide, so it’s best to go solo or bring a friend who doesn’t mind the view from behind. Go during the week to avoid the crowds.
If you love the ocean, this is your spot. The Strand aka The Marvin Braude Bike Path, is a 22-mile long paved stretch along the beach from Will Rogers State Beach all the way in Santa Monica down to Torrance County Beach. Technically, “The Strand” refers to the section of the path in Manhattan Beach, by the pier just south of El Porto. Despite being busy, you should be able to find plenty of room as long as you keep moving forward. Visit anytime other than a summer weekend for a lower crowd.
The views of Hollywood and downtown are nice, but the people watching is the real draw of Runyon Canyon. Be prepared to see lots of influencers, fitness buffs, and hikers getting outside not to see, but to be seen. This is honestly one of the most popular hikes in LA, and parking can sometimes be a problem. Still, it’s worth a trip to gawk at Angelinos and the luxurious houses in the Hollywood Hills.
If hills aren’t really your thing, check out Palisades Park, an extremely accessible (and almost completely flat) path just east of the Pacific in Santa Monica. Palisades Park is great if you’re more into strolling than hiking. Plus, if it’s too hot in the hills, it’s always cooler by the ocean. Palisades Park is also an excellent place to have a picnic or just chill out and soak in the sun.
Named after eccentric Ostrich farmer Griffith Griffith, who gifted the land to Los Angeles, Griffith Park is a favorite of almost every Angelino. Large enough to encompass a small town, Griffith Park can be both crowded and secluded at the same time. There’s a seemingly infinite maze of hiking trails that wind up, down, and around east LA and down into The Valley. Griffith Park is designated as “Urban Wilderness”, which means that there are plenty of critters like birds, rattlesnakes, and lizards to watch out for. Keep your eyes peeled for Griffith Park’s unofficial mascot, P-22, the one mountain lion who makes her home among the hills.
With near perfect weather year round and a diverse geographic landscape, it’s not hard to get active in LA. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, or just fitness in general, you’re sure to find almost too much to do in LA. The hardest part is deciding where to go first! Just be sure to allow plenty of time to travel and make sure you have a car.
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