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Outdoor Workouts: Los Angeles Edition

griffith park los angeles

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles

Normally, we review fitness classes or streaming programs. But, as we were walking down Wilshire Blvd. from Koreatown to Miracle Mile (OK, so LA needs to finish the extension of the Metro Purple Line soon), we realized that we wanted to give you a rundown on outside fitness options, or at least walking/hiking/running. Business trips and class schedules don't always mix, plus there's just the fun of fresh air after a day of conferences or meetings that's hard to resist.

So, how pedestrian-friendly is the City of Angels? It has a horrible reputation in that department, but we're not afraid of a challenge!

1. Walking.

We got a room at the ultra-cool Freehand in DTLA. Roughly, that's a few blocks to a half mile to attractions such as the Staples Center and the Fashion District. That said, despite the city's well-documented revitalization, neighborhoods still change really fast. Skid Row is a couple blocks away, and there are a few slightly sketchy blocks around the Staples Center/west 9th St.

Frankly, for any mile-plus walk, it's worth the time and $3.50 to take the subway at 7th and Grand and head out about 10-15 minutes to Los Feliz or Wilshire/Vermont. Heading straight west on Wilshire from Wilshire/Vermont or Wilshire/Western gives you the chance to play tourist on foot and check out Koreatown, the Wiltern Theatre, home to both AIA's LA chapter and, at least occasionally, to some great metal concerts (yay! Kreator!) and, if you go far enough, the LA Fitness Miracle Mile--giant shoutout to David for a great class, having the smarts to have it on Saturday afternoon, and for making our day after the plane trip. The walk from Vermont/Sunset up to and west on Franklin is a gorgeous easy couple miles of mansions lining Griffith Park (see: how the other half lives).

If you really want to have fun and you have a LOT of time (at least two hours), go for broke and head to Griffith Park. It's just huge and really wild, so it's like being totally out of the city. It's a .44 mile walk from the nearest subway stop. So worth it for the views alone--see photo! Word to the wise--trails close at dusk, and while people wander out late, it gets very dark very fast in January :-).

2. Running.

Wish we had better news here, but we're still looking for great LA running close to downtown. The routes we found around DTLA, like down 8th to Fig and then north, were trafficky (duh) and therefore 14-minute-mile unrewarding and basically miserable. Running up toward and through Griffith Park might work better, but it was too dark to try that. The O part of MOde did run from the subway stop to the entrance. Fun interval up the side of a hill, with a backpack.... But, despite all the hype about the challenge of the park's trails, getting almost to the Observatory isn't as big an elevation gain, per the Nike app, as the walk to our local Y!

Bottom Line:

LA is not the most walkable city in the U.S. if you're stuck downtown, at least for us. We'd love your opinions, and if you live there, inform us of what we're missing (psst--we'll be back in April, so show and tell)

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