Health and fitness are as integral to LA as Dunkin Donuts and the Red Sox are to Boston. We’re known far and wide for our borderline-crazy obsession with health-promoting tonics, we put ourselves through weeks of sore muscles to get ready for beach season, which is year round, and an enormous percentage of restaurants in our fair city offer nutritious substitutions like egg whites, “spa” water, soy milk, and “protein-style” burgers. While you’ll never see a pedestrian in Los Angeles, spotting a fitness-junkie taking their third run of the day is never hard to find. From the beach to Griffith Park, jogging in LA is particularly spectacular because of our proximity to all kinds of nature – run by the beach, run in the hills, run from the beach to the hills… we’ve got it all!
San Vicente Blvd. from Brentwood to Beach
If there’s one street in Los Angeles known for revealing burgeoning trends in running, it’s San Vicente Blvd. When those little clear and red bottles that runners wear around their waists filled with, honestly, God knows what, became in vogue, San Vicente was the first place to spot them. Runners line the grassy center dividers along the street from Brentwood all the way to the beach all day long and into the night. It’s not hard to see why it’s such a popular place – its tree-lined and filled with beautiful people. The famed Santa Monica Stairs are close by, just off of Adelaide Rd (closer to the beach end of San Vicente), too.
San Vicente Blvd is parallel to Montana Ave and is located between Brentwood and Santa Monica.
When Runyon Canyon seems like too much of a scene, head slightly west to find the beautiful, scenic, and significantly less pretentious Franklin Canyon. With many a trail to choose from and a duck lake to sit by when you’re done, Franklin Canyon offers what only a hiking trail in LA can: a rustic fitness setting with covert celebrity sightings. There are picnic benches up at the top, the entrance to which is just off Mulholland Drive and Coldwater Canyon and intimate outdoor amphitheatres line the canyon all the way to the bottom, which reaches the intersection of Coldwater and Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. Walk it slowly and enjoy the scenery or run it quickly and work up a sweat, either way don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers.
Franklin Canyon is located between Mulholland Drive and Beverly Drive off of Coldwater Canyon in Beverly Hills.
Venice to Santa Monica beach
For any days when you doubt how lucky we are to live in LA, drive down to Santa Monica Beach, throw on your New Balances, and take yourself from the pier to muscle beach with the rolling waves just next to you. You can run along the bike path, dodging roller bladers or you can make like Bo Derek and run on the sand – a significantly more challenging option. As you make your way south of Casa del Mar Hotel, you’ll find yourself in Venice where you’re sure to speed past quite the cast of characters.
The Santa Monica/Venice bike path is located between the Santa Monica Pier and Venice’s Muscle Beach along the ocean.
When the treadmill does nothing but get you down, the Griffith Park running paths are your perfect antidote. There is a wide array of trails to follow from dirt trails to paved paths that take you from one side of the park to the other. Run by the Mt. Hollywood Trail, check out the Cahuenga Peak, sneak a peek at the Toyon Trail or perhaps just chill along the top of the River Trail. The trails range from easy to heart-pumping and dizzying levels of challenging, so make sure you map out where you’re headed before you start stretching. We recommend you park your car at the Observatory and go from there!
Griffith Park is located above Los Feliz Blvd in the Loz Feliz area.
The running track at UCLA is the perfect place to keep you going when you start to get tired and the selection on your iPod begins to disappoint. Instead of distracting oneself with hiking trails and piers (amateurs), the running track at UCLA is home to the Bruins track team and is a professional grade track on which we Angelenos get to pound the pavement. If the track is a little intense for you, park your car at UCLA (right off of Sunset near Westwood Blvd.) and run on the sidewalk along Sunset Blvd heading west. Yes, when you begin the road is largely uphill and is mostly populated by UCLA’s fittest students, but the way back is merciful and downhill. All in all, UCLA is a running Angeleno’s new favorite spot.
To get to the UCLA track, take Sunset Blvd. and turn south on Westwood Blvd and park on campus. Enjoy!