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Think No One Walks In LA? Check Out These 15 Underrated SoCal Walks

View of Culver City and Los Angeles on a clear day from an overlook south of downtown. Homes and trees, some with fall foliage, are in forefront with downtown skyline in distance.
The view from the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook.
(Courtesy Harrison Woliner )
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Los Angeles is known for many things — Hollywood, sunshine, and bumper-to-bumper traffic, to name a few.

Being a walkable city? Not so much.

Still, there’s something uniquely beautiful about L.A.’s streets, set to a soundtrack of blaring traffic and aroma of bacon-wrapped street dogs. If you get the chance, you might try exploring L.A. and its neighborhoods on foot — you’re almost guaranteed to find treasures among the tourist traps. With thousands of hidden gems across the Greater Los Angeles area, there’s magnificence in the quirks of this chaotic, crowded place we all call home.

A recent essay in the New York Times Magazine titled "Los Angeles Is a Fantastic Walking City. No, Really." got us thinking: Is L.A. actually more walkable than it gets credit for? The LAist newsroom's public affairs show "AirTalk" — which airs weekdays from 9-11 a.m. PT on 89.3 FM — recently put this question to its listeners, and these are just a few of the walks they recommended.

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Back Bay Drive, Upper Newport Bay

AirTalk listener Blaine in Newport Beach says she walks along Back Bay Drive in Upper Newport Bay, a bird sanctuary and coastal wetland in Newport Beach. The drive is a 10.5-mile loop around the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. Along the relatively flat trail, walkers can enjoy lush wetlands, stunning sunsets, and diverse birdlife from Brewer’s Blackbird to the Peregrine Falcon, which is the fastest bird in the world!

Coastal San Pedro

Two people walk along a path toward a pagoda at sunset with the ocean on their right side.
The view of the sunset on the path near the Korean Friendship Bell in San Pedro.
(Marc Esposo

A listener named Maria told us Cabrillo Marina is a hidden gem in coastal San Pedro. Nearby, Point Fermin offers a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean and Cabrillo Beach, where you can see colorful crabs and anemones in the tidepools.

2nd Street, Long Beach

2nd Street in Long Beach should not be missed, according to Ellen, who called into AirTalk from Torrance. Ellen said she has fond memories of walking around Belmont Shore as a teenager, frequenting the movie theater, bookstores, and ocean breeze. This street and its charming storefronts are a magnet for walkers.

Venice Canals

The sun sets over the Venice Canals, painting the sky shades of orange, red and purple. Residences dot the banks of the canals and a lone palm tree rises above in the background.
The Venice Canals at sunset.
(Steve / LAist Featured Photos pool
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Twitter user @TheFifthSis sent us this one:

Santa Monica Pier

Scores of people walk the pier in Santa Monica. The view to toward the end of the pier on the water.
People, some masked, some unmasked, walk on the Santa Monica Pier on April 30.
(Daniel Slim
AFP via Getty Images)

Stuart from Valley Glen told AirTalk he loves to walk along the Santa Monica Pier and then east towards the park parallel to Ocean Avenue. He said there’s nothing like the sea breezes, palm trees, and the lovely view from bluffs onto the blue Pacific.

Washington Street, La Quinta (between St. Francis Church and One Eleven shopping center)

Josh said his favorite place to walk in the Coachella Valley is on Washington Blvd. between St. Francis church and the One Eleven strip mall in La Quinta. The loop is under a mile, and the shade from the mountains will keep you cool.

Claremont Colleges

Chris in Claremont said he likes to start at the front of the Claremont Colleges on Foothill, and then walk directly through the quads, observing the unique architecture of each campus. That walk leads to Claremont Village, an array of restaurants and art galleries.

Pioneer Street, Little India

Lisa from Cerritos said Pioneer Boulevard in Artesia is a favorite walking area. It’s the major thoroughfare of Little India, and walkers can shop for sarees, savor a wide array of South Asian dining options, from kulfi to dosas, and enjoy the spiritual and cultural traditions on vivid display.

Around Compton Airport

An airport might seem like an unusual walking destination, but Brian from Long Beach said that he used to take his kids around the perimeter of the Compton/Woodley airport, on Alondra Boulevard, to see the World War II-era planes.

Greater Wilshire/Hancock Park

A peaceful, tree- and lawn-lined street.
A street in the west side neighborhood of Hancock Park.
(Erin Stone

Abbey, an East Coast transplant living in Hollywood, told us that she and her partner love to take sunset strolls in historic Hancock Park, with its distinctive architecture, like the Tudor and Spanish Colonial styles. Abbey said they like to daydream as they walk the tree-lined streets about how they might decorate their lawns for Halloween if they lived there — maybe someday, she says.

Olvera Street

In the bustle of downtown L.A., near Union Station, is the colorful Olvera Street, where walkers can enjoy the shaded, brick-lined Mexican marketplace. Steve from Compton said he enjoys the area’s many cultural events and restaurants.

Glendale Boulevard in Atwater Village

AirTalk producer Lucy Copp says she enjoys the stretch of Glendale Boulevard in Atwater Village. She said there is great food (she recommends Dune), a favorite bookshop, and a record shop. You can fill up on pastries from Proof and check out the selection at Out of the Closet. The people-watching is excellent too, Lucy says.

Mount Washington in Highland Park

The sun shines brightly in the background, nearly washing out the road and foliage in the foreground of this photo of Mount Washington in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park
Mount Washington in Northeast L.A.
(Jennifer Gaillard

A listener named Connor said he and his girlfriend enjoy the walk up Mount Washington, near Highland Park. The area’s steep terrains, like Kite Hill, offer gorgeous views of Glendale and downtown L.A. — and Connor said the walk along the fire road is surrounded by eucalyptus trees.

Magnolia Park

Manny from West Hollywood has a recommendation — grab a Cuban sandwich and a Mamey shake at Porto’s, and take a stroll through Magnolia Park and stores in the beautiful Magnolia neighborhood of Burbank.

Great Wall of Los Angeles

A photo depicting part of the Great Wall of Los Angeles, a timeline of the city's history. This photo shows the portion of the wall depicting Pre-historic California, with a painting of dinosaurs, The La Brea Tar Pits, with drawings of a wooly mammoth and saber-toothed tiger, and the Chumash Village, with drawings of a Chumash family.
The Great Wall of Los Angeles.
(Kent Kanouse
Flickr Creative Commons)

Gabrielle in Valley Glen said that the greenbelt near the Great Wall of Los Angeles on Coldwater Canyon is a favorite. It feels like a forest and was a peaceful escape during the pandemic shutdowns.

Listen to the conversation

Walking On (LA) Sunshine: What’s Your Favorite Street To Walk In LA?
What questions do you have about Southern California?

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