Los Angeles (LA) is in my top five favourite cities. It has perfect weather, great shopping, beaches and is the perfect base for exploring the Californian outdoors and some fantastic hiking. One way I love to keep fit for hiking is walking and each time I visit I realise LA is a great city for walking. I am sure many locals would agree with me LA is not known for its walks. It is such a sprawling city, a car is the most popular way to get around. But the things you see when you are walking and the people you chat to along the way is something you won’t experience when driving from A to B. This goes for any place you visit or live in. I generally stay in West Hollywood and my recent trip had me walking up to six hours a day exploring nearby neighbourhoods. Here are my five favourites walks I did, taken from recommendations from my dear friend and inspired by her City Walks: Los Angeles: 50 Adventures on Foot.
- Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Blvd is a must on any LA itinerary. This is where the action is. Hollywood Blvd is where you will find the Hollywood Walk of Fame and find your favourite stars on the sidewalk. Be sure to check out the Chinese Theatre which is connected to the Dolby Theatre and a host of great shopping in the centre. I love seeing the Hollywood sign from this area, and I think I have taken a photo from the same area each time I visit LA. For this route, I always stay near Fairfax Ave and Beverley Ave, and I have grown to love walking up Fairfax until I reach Hollywood Blvd. On Fairfax you can visit lots of vintage and modern clothing stores, you can dine at the well-known Canter’s Deli, open 24 hours a day. Just up the road is the Silent Movie Theatre, where you can still watch films. The walk up Fairfax takes you past one of my favourite grocery stores, Wholefoods. The self-serve salads are heavenly as are the selection of juices – I always go for the Cherry and Chia Kombucha made by Synergy drinks. Fairfax/Beverley to Hollywood Blvd takes around 45 minutes for an average walker. You turn right into Hollywood and then walk past the residential area until you reach the start of the Walk of Fame. This stretch will take around 20 min. I always enjoy looking at local architecture, which is why I take this route. You get to admire lovely houses and gardens and imagine what it would be like to live in them (at least that’s what I do).
Once you have experienced Hollywood Blvd, I love to walk back to West Hollywood via La Brea Ave. Here you can walk past the Jim Henson Company and past Beverley Blvd is one of my favourite vintage and used clothing stores, Buffalo Exchange. I promise you, once you enter Buffalo Exchange, you may be there for some time finding unique and extremely well priced clothing. If you walk this entire route, allow a full day, especially if it is your first time to LA.
- Hollywood Forever Cemetery
The idea to walk from where I was staying to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery came from reading one of the City Walks cards. It suggested to take a bus to the entrance of the Cemetery, but I adapted this and added on my own route. Again, if staying near Fairfax/Beverley, choose one of the side streets in between Fairfax and Le Brea to walk up until you reach Santa Monica Blvd. I love doing this because you can see the residential side of LA and you get the streets to yourself because everyone is out driving while you are out walking. Once you walk to Santa Monica, turn right and you start the long walk to the Cemetery. It will take about an hour to walk there from Fairfax. What I love about the walk is looking up at the Hollywood Hills, taking photos of amazing graffiti and feeling the LA heat.
When you arrive, walk through the entrance and turn around. You will have a fabulous view of the Hollywood sign.
The Cemetery is extremely well manicured. It is known for its celebrity gravestones and I loved being in such a serene and relaxing space. I didn’t even feel like I was in a city once I stepped inside.
To walk back I suggest taking a right on Santa Monica when exiting and walk a few metres to N Van Ness Ave. Turn right and walk down to Melrose Ave. Turn right on Melrose and you will see Paramount Pictures. If you have time you can even take a tour if you book in advance. The walk back along Melrose to Fairfax/Beverley will take another hour.
- Rodeo Drive
What is a trip to LA without visiting Rodeo Drive, Beverley Hills? A lovely day out is walking from West Hollywood to Rodeo Drive. This walk is a little over an hour each way and is for the shopaholic (you may want to taxi or bus it back if you go crazy with shopping). From Fairfax/Beverley walk west along Beverley until you reach the Beverley Centre. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Spend the morning shopping in mid to high-end stores and like me, ask to leave your shopping at the stores you make your purchases, and pick them up on the way back from Rodeo Drive. Exit the Beverley Centre onto N La Cienega Blvd and turn right onto 3rd St. This part of 3rd St is a beautiful leafy area, and you will see gorgeous houses and again you can take it all in by yourself. I saw a total of two people walking along this part of 3rd St.
Walk all the way to the end of 3rd St and take a left at Civic Centre Drive. Then take a right onto Burton Way which turns into Santa Monica Blvd. Here you will pass the Beverley Hills Public Library and the Beverley Hills City Hall.
Keep walking along Santa Monica Blvd and Rodeo Drive is only a 5-10 min walk away. Explore high-end stores and drool over elaborate window displays (at least I did). If you keep walking down Rodeo Drive you will arrive at Wilshire Blvd, where Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus are located. When you have had enough perusing Rodeo Drive, head back the same way, and take a left up S Robertson Blvd from 3rd St. Here you will find more boutiques, and if are like me and love make up, the MAC Cosmetics Pro store lives on Robertson. Walk up Robertson until you reach Beverley and take a right and walk 10 min back to the Beverley Centre to pick up your shopping. Depending on how much shopping you did may determine if you walk or take a cab back to your accommodation.
- The Grove and 3rd Street
The Grove and 3rd St are areas in West Hollywood that are great for a day out of shopping and wandering through interesting stores and places where you can sit and eat at some wonderful cafes and restaurants. I remember visiting LA over a decade ago and the Grove area was still a little farmers market and my friend took me there for chicory. Now you can shop the big brands, take a free trolley ride around the Grove or watch the latest movies in the five-star theatre complex (I watcher Her when I was there and loved it). The Grove is located just down from Beverley Blvd, behind the CBS Studios. When you have finished exploring the Grove, head to 3rd St. 3rd St is located at the southern end of the Grove. From the corner of Fairfax/3rd, walk west along 3rd until you reach the Beverley Centre. The boutiques and cafes along this part of 3rd are gorgeous. There is an eclectic mix of clothing stores, bookstores and eateries. Magnolia Bakery will have you eyeing of sweet little cupcakes, and the Traveler’s Bookcase will have you stopping in for hours to dream about your next vacation. I recommend walking up one side of 3rd until you reach the Beverley Centre and then cross over the road and walk back down the other side. From the Grove and the 3rd St loop will only take about 90 min, and then add how long you think may want to spend looking through the stores and tasting the treats on offer.
- Melrose Avenue
What I love about Melrose Avenue is the diversity of shopping across the entire street and the beautiful window displays. A whole day can pass very easily if you want to do some serious shopping and for those who are not wanting to shop, it will still be a nice walk to see the area. From Fairfax/Beverley, simply walk north on Fairfax and you will intersect Melrose in 10 minutes of walking. From this intersection you can either turn left for the high end boutiques or turn right for the mid range stores and a bunch of awesome vintage and thrift stores. Fairfax is a divide between the two. One the high-end side, I visited the Tarina Tarantino boutique and purchased the most divine sparkly earrings, and I window shopped the Decades boutique, G-Star Raw, Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang, Marc Jacobs and so much more. On the other side of Fairfax my absolute favourite vintage store is Wasteland . For the full list of stores, melroseavenue-shop has all of the information. This walk can take a couple of hours of the whole day, depending on how much time you want to spend shopping.