Los Angeles is a seductive city — sometimes maddening, but always fascinating. A cosmopolitan massive urban expansion crisscrossed by frenetic highways, Los Angeles has something for everyone, if you know how to discover its charms.
Stretched along the Pacific coast of southern California, the coastline stretches 122 km from Malibu to Long Beach. The City of Angels is a collection of small towns and suburbs which gathers the cultures of 140 countries and over 224 languages. East and west collide to form a perfect mix, a true celebration of ethnic diversity.
All this beauty, and still I heard plenty of people complaining about one certain aspect – Los Angeles is a city for cars and travelers who love long, scenic walks have no chance of enjoying pedestrian time in LA. Well, I couldn’t disagree more!
Los Angeles has actually offered me the occasion to walk along great places, to see diversity, nature, tall buildings, colorful sunsets and lively neon lights – outside and far away from the car.
Here are some of the walks I’ll definitely take again during my next visit in the city that stole my heart.
A journey through Southern California is not complete unless you climb up the dusty dirt road through the chaparral up to the Griffith Observatory, on the mighty Hollywood hills. From this point you can indulge yourself with a breathtaking panorama of Los Angeles and you can see the famous Hollywood white sign with your own amazed eyes.
The pathway to Griffith Observatory begins with a canopy of spruce, redwood, oak and sycamore and it’s excellent for a peaceful walk that gives you the chance to capture the City of Angels in its true splendor. So have your camera ready, because this trail opens an impressive view of downtown Los Angeles – day and night.
Start your hike from the Fern Dell picnic area, right near Los Feliz Boulevard. Heading uphill towards the Observatory, you’ll certainly want to stop and stare at city views several times along your way.
Once you’ll reach your destination, the grand building (opened in 1935) will wait for you to enjoy its astronomical exhibits, gaze through its telescopes and soak in the unforgettable outdoor panorama.
Serving as an observatory, planetarium and space dedicated to exhibitions, Griffith Observatory has a futuristic design and is also the place where several famous movies were filmed – including Terminator, Charlie’s Angeles 2, Back to the Future, Van Helsing and Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean and Natalie Wood. Actually, James Dean’s statue will greet you right before you enter the building.
After you explored the historic landmark, you’ve got one more chance to savor the extraordinary views on your way back. Enjoy!
2. Manhattan Beach
When we think about Los Angeles’ famous beaches, the first ones that come into our minds are Santa Monica or Venice Beaches. And, as nice as those two may be, their kinetic, crowded and overwhelming vibes are not so appealing for those of us who want to be able to admire the ocean scenery peacefully.
For a nice, long walk I highly recommend you stop by Manhattan Beach — this place is rarely loaded with people, yet always lively. Located in a classic, welcoming surf town, Manhattan Beach will give you the occasion to relax and enjoy some fascinating views.
Revel in the charming pedestrian-only walkway, stroll down the sandy beach, take your time and enjoy the picturesque Manhattan Beach Pier at the end of which you’ll find a free aquarium — how cool is that? Pick up some seashells, admire the gracious seagulls and listen to the powerful sound of the waves.
Don’t miss the chance to stare at the densely built homes – some quirky, some luxurious, they certainly have their own special flair. Yes, the beach is lined with some stunning houses to peep into, gawk at, and daydream about.
And don’t worry – there are plenty of cute shops and coquette restaurants in the downtown area (which is, basically, a couple of steps away from the beach), so if you feel tired and want to spend some time in a pleasant environment, there are plenty of cozy alternatives.