As you should have read in John’s post last week, everything in LA is spread across a huge distance. Even to get to the closest shop might take a bit of a hike. But instead of just hunting shops and waiting to cross roads, isn’t it better to walk on the beach or in some park? Yes, it is and here exploring LA can be quite a rewarding experience.
I bet you might think about Griffith Park with the famous Hollywood Sign. The sign by the way is actually much smaller than we imagine watching movies (a bit like the little mermaid in Copenhagen, or maybe Griffith Observatory, but I will share our experiences in some different and not so busy or touristic places.
While we are talking about Hollywood though, the Hollywood Walk of Fame was very disappointing. Probably, like the sign, it is because of the expectations that I had about it. I am happy we went and had a walk, but at the same time I can’t believe that such a big tourist attraction is maintained so badly, full of trash and dirt. Sadly you see it all around the city, in the streets, parks and beaches.
One of the, definitely not, places we discovered is Elysian Park, one of the oldest parks in Los Angeles where the first explorers from Europe were camping in the 18th century. Next to the Dodger Stadium with it’s huge car parks and the Police Academy with the sound of gunfire, it is a surprisingly great place to spend an hour or two hiking and maybe having lunch, doing some yoga or just relaxing. Actually we skipped the yoga and didn’t have any food with us, so we just slowly did the hiking part. Still it was quite fun and super peaceful.
Angel’s Point is the famous viewpoint in the middle of the park, but for me personally the nicest place was the ‘Secret Swing’ on the top of Elysian Park. Something like the famous one in Thailand, check our Instagram :D. If you are socially media minded then It is a great place to make a new profile picture, probably in the late afternoon the sun would be perfect for it. We were following one of the hiking routes, but eventually a little landslide meant we needed to change it, because one part was too dangerous to follow (especially in probably not the best shoes for the job).
If you are a disc-golf fan then the Chavez Ridge course in the park is an impressive place for playing. So, take some discs with you on the way to LA, probably Mykolas, a friend of mine, would love it. Actually it would be a great idea to come here early in the morning, to visit Angels Point where you could watch Downtown LA waking up, stroll back to Chavez Ridge to play a game and just to relax.
I am a water person and to be in California without spending time at the beach or taking a swim in the Pacific Ocean would be a crime. Again maybe you have Long Beach or Malibu springing to mind, although technically either of them are actually in LA, but I have other beaches in mind. Take a walk across El Segundo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach which is at least a one and a half hour (not)hike one way with quite empty beach areas where you can do what ever you want!
Have a sunbathe, enjoy the fresh ocean, run along the beaches or rent a bike, play some volleyball (Manhattan Beach is the home of beach volleyball), stare at the hot baywatchers, play with the sand, collect some sea shells or trash and don’t forget to visit Manhattan Beach Pier. Here you can find probably the smallest ever aquarium which is free of charge (although they would like donations) and gives you a great experience even if you are an adult, and for people with kids it’s a must see. The people who love to leave trash all around them should also visit for an educational experience at the end of the pier.
Another (not)hike we enjoyed was the Art Walk in Downtown, John will write more about it with the great tips how you can do cool stuff for free in LA without having a car, and yes that is really possible.
If you are a positive person who came to LA with the purpose of exploring the city you can plan a great cultural trip with the beach and hiking aspects. You will definitely enjoy your time here, you just need to close your eyes to some of the problems because at times it is hard to believe that you are in a major city in a developed country.