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Great L.A. Walks: Part I, Los Angeles Icons

Updated on January 28, 2012
Walking at Venice Beach
Walking at Venice Beach | Source

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

You definitely need a car to visit the far-flung destinations that comprise the Los Angeles area. But once you get there, the region’s many communities offers opportunities to ditch the wheels. You can actually walk in L.A. and see things up close that just whiz by from your driver’s seat. Here are three iconic examples.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach boardwalk
Venice Beach boardwalk | Source
A marker1827 Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach, CA -
Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, CA, USA
get directions

You do not visit L.A.’s most famous beach to play on the sand or frolic among the waves. You go to gawk at the idiosyncratic characters who inhabit the concrete boardwalk. So come on a sunny weekend or holiday when more people crowd Venice Beach. You need to arrive before 10 AM or you won’t find any parking on the streets or in the pay lots. Start at Ocean Front Walk and 19th Street to see the hunks working out at Muscle Beach’s famous open-air gym. Continue northwest on the walk to encounter grandma’s in bikinis, roller-skating guitarists, teenaged dance crews and fortune tellers.

If the crowd becomes too much, you can always duck into one of the many cafes and stores that front the walk. Or you might get lucky and view an open house for one of the million-dollar homes overlooking the beach. If you continue northwest for about 2.5 miles, you’ll eventually reach the Santa Monica Pier with its 1916 carousel, aquarium and fun fair.

Griffith Park

Griffith Park Observatory
Griffith Park Observatory | Source
A markerGriffith Park, Los Angeles, CA -
Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027-1499, USA
get directions

Depending on who you listen to, Griffith Park is the largest municipal park with urban wilderness in the U.S. It sprawls over 4,210 acres at elevations of 384 to 1,625 square feet and boasts the Griffith Observatory, the L.A. Zoo, Travel Town railroad museum, the Greek Theatre and the Autry National Center with its Museum of the American West. But if you want solitude, you can eschew these delights in favor of a hike on a 53-mile network of trails. You’ll encounter scrub and woodlands as well as deer, coyotes, wild quail and rattlesnake. Come during weekdays when it’s least crowded.

Call the Ranger Station at (323) 913-4688 for information on maps and closures. All trails close at dusk. One of the most popular starts at Ferndell in the western canyon of the park and continues for about a mile to Griffith Observatory, which opened in 1935 and houses a science museum. You can also continue a mile-and-a-half up Mt. Hollywood, which does not contain the Hollywood sign. The sign is on Mt. Lee. Dan’s Hiking Pages describes the hike in detail.

Hollywood Boulevard

Characters on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Characters on the Hollywood Walk of Fame | Source
A markerGrauman's Chinese Theatre -
6925 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
get directions

While you won’t find any movie studios or celebrities on this iconic walk, you’ll encounter enough wannabees and entertainment attractions to keep you amused for half-a-day. Be warned that parking is impossible during weekends and holidays, so arrive before 10 AM or visit during the weekdays. Start at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, which features the footprint and handprints of the stars embedded in its open courtyard. You’ll also be seeing the first of many Elvis impersonators, faux superheroes and celebrity look-alikes vying for tips.

Check out the brass and terrazzo stars embedded at your feet on the Walk of Fame. About 2,400 line the 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street. Though the honors mostly name real celebrities, you’ll also run into fictional characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie-the-Pooh and the Simpsons. East of Graumann’s lies Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. But the more interesting walk is toward the west, where you’ll run into the following:

For more L.A. walks, continue on to the rest of the series in L.A. Walks: Part 2, Concrete Encounters in Los Angeles.


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    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Aurelio, these are interesting and beautiful walking haunts. I'll remember to visit them whenever I visit LA next. I am looking for my next visit longingly now.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Walking is so good for you! What a great reason to get walking: to see the sights and sounds of L.A. This looks beautiful!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Yes, Farmer's Market is alive and strong, and they even built a major outdoor mall next to it. Lots of people traffic between the two.

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 5 years ago from Cebu

      This is interesting and would be something I would like to do if and when I can get to L.A. Thanks alocsin for sharing this with us.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country

      It's been awhile since I've been there, but this brought back some nice memories. Is the Farmer's market still surviving? I hope so. (Do a hub.)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Sounds like you could spend a number of days in Griffith Park in order to see it all. I really enjoyed this because the only part of L.A. I have ever seen is whizzing through by car and also spending time in the airport. Up and interesting! Thanks for SHARING.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      Thanks for sharing the link to this. This is exactly what I was looking for!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      nice work. I've walked to all those places!

    • mhope324 profile image

      mhope324 5 years ago from Ypsilanti, Michigan

      Loved the photos. Great article, and I have family in L.A. I'll be visiting soon.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Alocsin, this is a great hub. I have not been to any of these walks, but I want to, especially Griffith Park. We stopped visiting when our LA Zoo membership expired, but there is so much more there at Griffith Park. Voted up and useful.