So you have found an apartment in Los Angeles, but what part of town are you in? It doesn’t really matter because from Downtown to Santa Monica, Angelenos get 300 days of sunshine a year, so there is always something to do outside. Even if you moved to the San Fernando Valley, with its fierce summers, just pop on over the hill for an endless summer of year-round outdoor activities. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite things to do outside in Los Angeles.
1. Griffith Park
The sheer amount of activities available in Griffith Park is mind boggling. At 4,120 acres, this is the largest municipal park with urban wilderness area in the United States. There is a zoo, an observatory, swimming, countless trails to explore, horseback riding, the Greek Theater, golf, tennis, train museums, merry go-rounds, a western museum, pony rides, and a big sign that says, “Hollywood.” We can keep going if you want. But if you plan on partaking in just a portion of this, pack a lunch because the only food around is picnicking.
2. Runyon Canyon
People in L.A. do walk—and run, and hike. (We just have to drive to the destination.) One of the most popular places to do all of these things is Runyon Canyon, just north of West Hollywood. This park has outdoor yoga, boot camps and off-leash dog areas. But the main attraction is an uphill hike, with varying degrees of difficulty, that eventually shows off the majestic cityscape and mountain ranges that are the true stars of L.A. Bring your camera if you want; it is known as the best place to see celebrities exercising.
3. The Santa Monica and Venice Beach Bike Path
This 8.5-mile trek is a fascinating peek in to the diversity of the Los Angeles area. Starting near Temescal Canyon road in the posh Pacific Palisades, this pretty straightforward, paved bike path meanders down the coast line through the touristy and hip Santa Monica Pier area, and continues all the way into the land of drum circles and outdoor fitness buffs down in Venice. But don’t limit yourself to just biking this. It is not uncommon to see three-wheel peddlers, skaters, unicyclists or rollerblading hippies playing guitar.
4. Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax
Celebrating over 75 years in business, the Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax is great place to hang, listen to free concerts, eat at numerous vendors, and shop locally for your weekly groceries. Favorite stands include 326 (aka The Center Bar), a beer and wine bar that attracts an eclectic range of locals, The Gumbo Pot for authentic Cajun cuisine, and Huntington Meats, which not only sells the best sausages and meats in town, but also hosts classes in how to stuff them. If so inclined, take a walk next door to The Grove, a highly-stylized outdoor mall that has a large selection of national brand stores. Three days a week you can see the gang from “Extra” shooting on the promenade.
5. Los Angeles Conservancy Walking Tours
For those who prefer urban hiking and taste of classic Los Angeles, take step back in time with a walking tour presented by the L.A. Conservancy in Downtown. There are a number of gorgeous architecture tours to choose from including Art Deco and This Historic Theater district, where the likes of Chaplin, Gable and Monroe used to attend movie premieres. Led by passionate docent tour guides, you will see a side of Los Angeles you may not have known even existed. The tours aren’t that challenging physically, but you will be hungry afterward. We like to top off the trip at the old school Cole’s or Philippe the Original. These two eateries have a 100-year-old rivalry, as both claim to have invented the French Dip Sandwich, so it’s best to try them both.
Did we forget your favorite Los Angeles outdoor activity? Let us know in the comments below.