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Mulholland, PCH, Arroyo Parkway: LA, What's Your Favorite Street To Drive And Why?

View looking toward San Bernardino covered with clouds from the Rim of the World Scenic Highway. October 31, 2006. (Jim Miller/Flickr Creative Commons)
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It's been a rough week. It's been a rough year. If you're like us, you need a palate cleanser. So we're taking a moment celebrate our favorite streets in Southern California -- the more obscure the better. But we're not picky.

Your favorite street could actually be a road, boulevard, lane, cul-de-sac or highway. (Any takers for Rim of the World, which is technically a scenic byway, in the San Bernardino National Forest?) We're using "street" in the broadest possible sense for this crowdsourced experiment.

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We asked people to call our public affairs show, AirTalk, which airs on 89.3 KPCC FM, and share their selections with host Larry Mantle. Here's what they told us.


[between Ojai and the Grapevine, a long road in the mountains north of Fillmore in the Ventura area]

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Andrew in Glendale said:

"It's really nice rocks and geography. Lots of mountains, Alpine trees, peaked houses, things like that. Especially in the winter it's really gorgeous with all the snow."

PCH between Seal Beach and Huntington Beach shot from a moving car. (Megan Garvey/LAist)

Chelsea in East Los Angeles chose it in part because of its early L.A. feel:

"You get to see the wetland, you get to see the beach on the other side and for me, it reminds me of, uh, driving to my first job when I first got my driver's license."

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David in Pasadena:

"Looking across the Rose Bowl, you get the silhouette at sunset of the mountains with the backlighting. You get the alpine glow on the San Gabriel [mountains]. There's just something magical about looking across the Arroyo at the lights on the other side of the of the canyon."


Not too far away, you might try the 134 Freeway above the Eagle Rock/Glendale area with its spectacular views toward downtown L.A. Mantle says on a clear day, you can see the reflection of the sun across the Pacific Ocean, sometimes all the way to Palos Verdes.

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Other people chose more urban streets such as Pico Boulevard in the Pico/Fairfax area and Talmadge Street in Los Feliz.


Gavin in Long Beach said:

"I used to live right on the end of Palos Verdes in a tiny apartment, and I'd to tell people to take Hawthorne all the way from downtown until it dead ends. It's a long city drive but you see pretty much the full spectrum of L.A. all the way to the tip of the peninsula, and the coastal view there is just gorgeous."

He also mentioned Rancho Palos Verdes Drive, which runs around the edge of the peninsula:
"You drive through from the from the north side and as you go further south, you hit the Porcupine Landslide and the road gets really crazy and up-and-down, [it] just undulate through the hills. It changes because of the landslide, so there's construction moving the water pipes. You see Catalina on a clear day. It's just really pretty."

US 95

One listener chose US 95 heading north from Blythe in eastern Riverside County "to oblivion." It's curvy and bouncy. I drive it in a Jeep, but dream of driving it in a Porsche.


Robert in San Pedro:

"I used to drive home to Thousand Oaks. I'd drive that highway as far north as I could. I think it's just gorgeous. I feel like I'm at the top of the world and seeing the Channel Islands and the container ships."

A Pacoima resident told us:
"It's a very nice and relaxing drive. It looks very beautiful and under the night sky."

Another listener chose Cody Road off of Mulholland because:
"The homes are all unique with beautiful views. It's a unique treasure in this great city and my dream is to own one of those homes."


Tad said Camino Cielo off of Highway 154 in Santa Barbara County was his choice:

"As you look towards the mountains above Santa Barbara, it's an invisible road that runs right along the ridge top. It doesn't go forever but it is absolutely spectacular. And if you're a fan of Highway 154, you know you've got that leading to it."

A view of the pool and bungalow area and Sunset Boulevard from the Chateau Marmont penthouse, August 20, 2020. (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Sebastian in Anaheim said he attended UCLA and remembers getting off the Sunset exit on the 405 and driving along the street to school.

Mantle recommends that people who looking for a scenic drive across the city start on Cesar Chavez in East L.A., take it until it becomes Sunset and keep following it until it finally opens up at the Pacific Coast Highway.


Henry in Highland Park loves driving east along Highway 76 starting at the 15 and heading into the desert:

"If you do it in the spring, you get those beautiful aromas of citrus and if the timing's right, it will spit you out in Anza Borrego during the flower bloom."


Ricardo in Santa Monica recommends San Vicente Boulevard between Brentwood and the ocean

"I think it's one of the more beautiful streets in the city and its the reason I moved from the eastside to the westside. The first time I drove down that street on a bicycle, I thought and felt the air, not discounting the young ladies jogging, 'I have to move here,' which I did."


Ryan urges Angelenos to take the approximately 20-mile trip along Glendora Mountain Road up to Mount Baldy, a 20 to 22-mile trip:.

"You can see all of L.A. and even parts of San Bernardino from up there. It's a great drive."


Eugene in La Crescenta said he likes starting at the bottom of Lake Avenue and heading straight up into Altadena:

"It's a total change of scenery and back down, you just get a great view of of everything south."

One note: Lake had a very popular streetcar line during the Golden Age of Hiking that took millions of people up to the trailheads in the Angeles National Forest.

Check out our story on the Mount Lowe Railway Southern California's fantastic, forgotten railway to the clouds.

Jerry in Long Beach chose the stretch of Ocean Boulevard, heading north over the port from the bridges over the port to downtown Long Beach:

"Especially at Christmas tim, is just beautiful and lit up. It's a great drive as you go all the way down the coast into Naples."