Great L.A. Walks: Part 2, Concrete Encounters in Los Angeles
© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.
This is part 2 of a series that started with Great L.A. Walks: Part I, Los Angeles Icons. Please read that part first, because this article does not duplicate information already mentioned there. This hub groups together walks that highlight the built-up portions of the area.
Los Angeles River
In most locations across the country, a river designates a moving body of water that is home to fish and fowl, and can transport boats and other water vessels. Though some stretches of the L.A. River contains water, you’re just as likely to encounter patches of bare ground and manmade concrete riverbeds, especially in the summer. Much of this river’s 48 miles consists of flood control channels that flow with liquid only during the rainy season.
The local public TV station, KCET, has mapped out 20 walks at different locations and of varying length. The two-mile Studio City Walk combines concrete catchways, public art, river rock walls and parks full of native plants. You can also sit on the many benches and people-watch, since the trail is popular with joggers and those walking their dogs.
If you’re reasonably fit and want a vertical challenge, try the stairs that run through many of the hilly residential neighborhoods of the city. You can start with the relatively short 131 steps that plagued Laurel and Hardy’s piano delivery service in their 1932 film The Music Box. These steps are located on the intersection of Vendome and Del Monte Streets in Silverlake.
A more challenging set of steps is in Echo Park on Baxter Street starting from Echo Park Avenue and continuing east for three blocks past Avon Street. You’ll find 230 steps leading up to Park Drive, which fronts Elysian Park. The park is the second largest in Los Angeles at 600 acres and features its own walking trails.
You can wander the skyscrapers and concrete pathways of downtown Los Angeles by yourself, hoping to glean some knowledge by ducking into historic buildings. Or you can experience a more fruitful excursion by taking one of the docent-led walking tours sponsored by the Los Angeles Conservancy. Tours take place only on Saturdays, last about 2.5 hours and cost $10. They’re half-priced for members of the Conservancy.
You have a choice of eight tours, with some operating alternate Saturdays, and starting mostly at 10 a.m. You can view the past in Historic Downtown, marvel at intricately designed walls in Art Deco or admire the latest buildings in Modern Skyline. Most of your travels will be outdoors, though a few of the itineraries explore some building interiors.