Social Distancing Hacks- Top 5 Places to Walk in LA if You Miss Hiking Part II
SEE LA THE HEALTHY WAY:
5 MORE PLACES TO WALK IN LA IF YOU MISS HIKING
UPDATED ON 18 APRIL 2020
Hey everyone– hope you all had a great week, filled with comfort food, quality tv, of course, social distancing. Most importantly, hope that some of you were able to step outside and take a WALK in some of our favorite neighborhoods in LA! We’re back with week #2 of Top 5 Places to Take a Walk in LA, coming at you with a little *west side* action this week. For those of you who didn’t catch last week’s list of the best places to walk in LA, we’ve created a series of blogs geared towards getting you outside and exploring our favorite city on foot, while our hiking tours are on hiatus due to COVID-19. Stay tuned for quarantine updates here, and check out our new, physical distancing initiative here. Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to highlight our top picks for a picture perfect stroll, where you can acquaint yourself with some of the best sights, architecture, scenery, food, and best real estate in LA. No car required– just pack a positive attitude, comfy/ergonomic shoes, and a sense of adventure! Lace up those sneakers, rock a fashionable face mask, and step into the sunset- this week, we’re going west. Here’s this week’s edition of Top 5 Places to Take a Walk in LA.
West Side Walks
Disclaimer: this author is a fierce east sider (by way of New York,) who hikes, walks, and takes public transit to get around LA. If I can get over to the West Side sans car, so can you! There are some beautiful neighborhoods on the west side– last week, we talked about some of the hustle and bustle on the east side- this week, we’re focusing on the splendid homes, gorgeous lawns, and beachside views on the other side of the 405. LA gets a bad rap for its inhabitants being notoriously flaky and reticent to cross town- I mean, hey, Angelinos spent 128 hours stuck in traffic (per person) last year, so having friends that live in your neighborhood is definitely key for your road rage/well being. However, we’re in a global lockdown, you can’t take a hiking tour or a bike tour, and you’ve got to find a way to get fresh air and exercise while social distancing, so what better time is there than to head out the door and explore Los Angeles on a private tour of your own? Welcome to the West Side.
The 5 Best Neighborhoods to Walk in LA – PART II
We’ll kick off this week by paying homage to our stomping grounds- West Hollywood! While we offer hiking tours in Griffith Park, and bike tours across LA, our flagship location is right in the heart of West Hollywood, on Santa Monica Boulevard! (Yes, the same Santa Monica Boulevard that Sheryl Crow sings about.) West Hollywood is a small but mighty trendy mini city unto itself sandwiched between Hollywood and Beverly Hills. It’s packed with celebrities, gorgeous homes, incredible eateries, hoppin’ nightlife, cool bike shops, and pedestrian traffic! Stroll on Santa Monica Boulevard and check out the abundance of thrift shops, healthy restaurants, hip cafes, and more. West Hollywood is famously progressive, in addition to being star-studded, with a large LGBTQ community and a historically pro-animal rights culture. It’s also a terrific place to take a bike ride, private tour, or walk in Los Angeles. We recommend starting at our LA bike shop, and heading west down Santa Monica Boulevard towards the happening restaurant and bar scene of WeHo. Keep your eyes peeled for celebs while you’re at it- and don’t forget to drop in to Bikes and Hikes LA to say hi!
Recommended Walking Blocks in West Hollywood:
La Jolla Avenue, between West 3rd Street and Santa Monica Blvd (pop by the Bikes and Hikes LA parklet and wave hello:)
The Sunset Strip
North San Vicente Boulevard
The Flats (Beverly Hills)
BEV-ER-LY Hills…that’s where I want..to be! What is there to say about America’s most affluent, luxurious neighborhood that hasn’t been put into songs, made into movies, or overheard on a tour of LA? There’s no shortage of celebrity homes, high end boutiques, five-star restaurants, and, believe it or not, hills! in Beverly Hills. (We love taking people on Beverly Hills bike tours and watching the surprise on their faces when they bike up Beverly Hills’ hilly streets. It’s a wonderful workout!) It’s also the perfect place to gaze longingly and aspirationally towards the glamorous homes and well manicured lawns of the A-listers who make their homes there. For a peak million dollar stroll, check out “Beverly Flats,” an enclave of gorgeous neighborhood blocks flatter than their northern hilly counterparts. Beverly Flats is bound by Santa Monica Boulevard on the south and Sunset Boulevard on the north, and is also a top LA filming location! Lined with palm, eucalyptus, and acacia trees, mansions in this neighborhood range anywhere from $5 million to nearly $40 million. Celebrity inhabitants of this coveted 90210 hamlet include Mia Farrow, Madonna, Dr. Phil, and more! Take a walk through Beverly Hills, ride your bike, and set some #lifegoals for yourself– one day, one of those homes will be yours!
Recommended Walking Blocks in Beverly Flats:
N. Rodeo Drive
North Rexford Drive
If you were transfixed by Margot Robbie breezing into the movies with a winning smile in this summers “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” you might want to emulate her carefree gait and take a walk through picturesque Westwood Village. Westwood Village is a charming little district nestled between bustling Wilshire Boulevard, below the “Platinum Triangle” (Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, and Bel Air,) and just next to UCLA. Packed with boutiques, cafes, the historic Geffen Playhouse, the aforementioned movie theater, (more on that in a second,) museums, and the prestigious university campus, Westwood Village merits a well-spent afternoon LA walk, window shopping and sipping on coffee. Westwood Village was designed in the late 1920s after the university campus was established in the neighborhood. Upon its unveiling, Westwood Village was considered to be one of the most beautiful and well-designed pedestrian areas in the city. The Spanish-influenced architecture, tiled buildings, and charming streets are packed with collegiate co-eds, academics, and movie and theatre goers perusing the local Westwood businesses and gorgeous nearby university campus. The historic Fox Theater in Westwood Village (from “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” reference,) has been the home of countless LA movie premieres for cinema classics, such as “A Star is Born,” “Mission Impossible,” “Shrek,” and “Spider Man.” Enjoy a quiet afternoon jaunt on the West Side– and make sure you’re rocking your UCLA Bruins gear while you’re there.
Recommended Walking Blocks in Westwood Village:
Westwood Avenue/Westwood Plaza
Bruin Walk at UCLA
S. Beverly Glen Boulevard
S. Mapleton Drive, to check out Hugh Hefner’s old stomping grounds
Cheviot Hills may seem like a dark horse for this list, as it’s not as much as a name dropped destination like Beverly Hills or West Hollywood. It’s a quiet residential neighborhood on the west side of LA, just south of Century City and 20th Century Fox Studios. Cheviot Hills isn’t flashy, touristy, or jam-packed with traffic and onlookers, and its low-key vibes and gorgeous blocks make it the perfect neighborhood for a little walk. It’s a suburban-like enclave in the center of the city, and its quiet streets, lined with leafy trees and charming mansions provide a lovely backdrop for a walking tour, a bike ride, or the setting for one of your favorite movies or TV shows. Given Cheviot Hills’ proximity to 20th Century Fox Studios, many programs and films are shot in the neighborhood, including the Dunphy’s home on “Modern Family” (RIP,) “The Goldbergs,” “The Flying Nun,” and Laurel and Hardy’s “The Finishing Touch.” Described by residents as an “Everytown USA/ “Leave it to Beaver” type vibe, Cheviot Hills has a comfortable, small town vibe, a welcome respite from the busy streets surrounding it. Take a walk around Cheviot Hills and you’ll see neighbors running, walking, barbecuing, and chatting (while social distancing, of course.) Homes in Cheviot Hills sell for a median of about $2.2 million dollars, with the most affluent neck of the woods being Monte Mar Vista, close to the Hillcrest Country Club and the Rancho Park Golf Course. Both the Fox and Sony studio lots are a ten minute commute from Cheviot Hills, and the beaches and pier in Santa Monica are about a 15 minute drive away. Real estate agent Ben Lee describes Cheviot Hills as “the best neighborhood in the world,” and the New York Times sums up Cheviot Hills as “a place to come home, rather than be seen.” Take a walk around Cheviot Hills and bask in the calm-it’s a crazy world out there these days, and any excuse for a moment of solitude is welcome.
Recommended Walking Blocks in Cheviot Hills:
Dunleer Drive, to check out the Dunphy Family Residence from “Modern Family”
Earlmar Drive, to see where the Goldbergs live on “The Goldbergs”
Cheviot Drive, to see the newly designed “glass box” where Sci-Fi author Ray Bradbury’s house used to stand
Motor Avenue, for a leisurely stroll through Rancho Park
Venice Canals/Abbott Kinney
For the grand finale, let’s take a little stroll over to one of the most coveted real estate pockets in the city- you don’t need to travel across the pond to check out the Venice Canals in Los Angeles! The Venice Canals are 2 square mile enclave of canals, lined with a walking path open to the public. If it sounds similar to a certain vacation/Instagram paradise dotted with gondoliers and gelato, it’s because it was modeled after the OG Venice in Italy, by architect Abbott Kinney in the 1905. Abbott Kinney designed Venice as an American Beach town, and wanted to create a canal-filled waterway, mimicking its Italian counterpart. However, during the 1920’s, the city pushed to close the canals in favor of building more roads. Several of the canals were filled in during the mid 1920’s, and due to bankruptcy and the Great Depression, the canals project was abandoned. Today, the canals are lined with some of LA’s priciest and most coveted real estate- the homes along the Venice Canal start around a million dollars, if you were looking for a home upgrade! There are 6 canals total, and anyone is welcome to stroll along the walkways and admire the homes and the views. Picturesque white bridges span the waterways, and it’s not uncommon to spot seasonal decorations, lights, and festive adornments decorating the homes and bridges- as well as an Instagram photo shoot or two. You may recognize the Venice Canals if you’ve ever seen “Valentine’s Day,” “American Pie,” “Chinatown,” or “Little Rascals.” Once you’re done strolling along the canals, take a bike ride over to Abbott Kinney Boulevard, consistently dubbed “America’s Trendiest Street.” Abbott Kinney Boulevard is lined with posh boutiques, popular Venice restaurants, and eye-popping Instagram murals. If you take a walk on Abbott Kinney on a Saturday afternoon, be prepared to be surrounded by Angelinos rocking very trendy threads and perusing the shops for the latest in minimal home decor, name-brand athleisure, or vegan cuisine. Once you’ve satiated yourself with your jaunt across Venice, head over to the Strand (the 22 mile stretch of boardwalk along the coast,) and gaze out at the ocean– hopefully we’ll be able to head back to the beach soon. For now, the views ain’t bad.
Recommended Walking Blocks in Venice Canals/Abbott Kinney:
To enter the Canals: There are several points of access to the public walkways surrounding the canals. Check out the map below to view the entryways. I recommend entering at Venice Blvd., just south of Strongs Dr. for optimal viewing.
Abbott Kinney Boulevard, between Venice Boulevard and Main Street
It’s important to stay informed about coronavirus symptoms, updates, and news during these ever changing times. Social distancing orders are still in place, beaches and hiking trails are closed, and the CDC is still recommending that facial coverings or masks be worn when you leave the house. Coronavirus symptoms manifest in cold or flu-like traits, or similar respiratory infections. Top coronavirus symptoms include a fever, a dry cough, tiredness, and difficulty breathing. Given the current global pandemic, it’s important to properly educate yourself on how to stay safe and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak.
*Speaking of staying healthy and informed- it’s important to make sure that you’re educating yourself with the best, most accurate, and up-to-date materials. Bikes and Hikes LA recommends constantly checking the Official CDC Website for coronavirus information and updates.
-Written by: Elizabeth Conway