Los Angeles: 10 Best Walking Neighborhoods

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This top 10 list is as scientific as it can be with one person compiling the facts from a sampling of some Los Angeles residents. (Read: those I come into contact with -- a diverse, albeit narrow group.) So as with science, my findings are totally debatable.

So I present: The 10 Best Walking Neighborhoods in L.A., with a couple honorable mentions thrown in.

Got others? Let's hear your opinions. Unlike stodgy scientists in labcoats, I can be swayed without Petri dishes, or excruciatingly long documentation in wording suitable for the SATs.

While the list is in numerical order, that's only for the sake of order. I repeat, the numbers are arbitrary. No need for West Side Story-type rivalries to ensue. Los Angeles, let's be neighborly....


1. Between the Ocean and Lincoln, Washington Boulevard and Just North of Montana.
If you think I'm going to slice and dice this area of Venice and Santa Monica, you're nuts. The whole thing is great: Abbot Kinney, the Venice Canals, Main Street and Montana Ave. in Santa Monica, and all along the water. So I'm counting it as one. (The beach is like pizza, even when it's not so good it's still good.).

2. Bronson Canyon.
So many options -- especially for a culinary outings. You can hike up the canyon or walk to the Bougeois Pig for a coffee. You can eat some really good chicken at Birds (and enjoy a divine Cadillac Margarita) or get yummy pre-prepared foods at Gelson's Market. Pass a lovely evening at La Poubelle (even though in French it means "garbage bin"), or get some eggs or late night grub at 101 Cafe. For the post-meal walk, there are quiet streets with lovely homes. You even have the choice of an easy stroll or taking on some hills. Oh, and don't forget the Scientology people-watching. (Why do they walk around in pairs looking at the flora and fauna?)

3. Charleville and Beverly Drive to Robertson and Olympic.
This part of L.A. has quiet, charming streets and lots of local shops to sample: salons, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. You can walk this area and enjoy the flowers, palms, manicured lawns and chirping birds. You live in Los Angeles for this -- take advantage!

4. Vermont and Franklin.
You've got the great bookstore Skylight Books, the famous pies from House of Pies, and blocks of charming neighborhood to explore. You can even head up to Griffith Park if you are feeling particularly jaunty, or you can leave the car behind and walk up to the Greek Theatre for great summer shows. You can also hit Barnsdall Park with its amazing art program. This park with the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house makes a great picnic spot to enjoy a lovely day or find your inner Renoir. You won't believe you are on Hollywood Boulevard. But back to the pies, don't skip the pies. They are that good.

5. Larchmont and Beverly Boulevard.
You have blocks of quiet, gorgeous streets to roam and the lovely shops on Larchmont to sate your window-shopping habit. You can also venture up to Melrose for Hollywood-classic restaurant Lucy's El Adobe or an Astroburger. Wander this part of Hancock Park for hours to enjoy winding avenues, old Hollywood homes and sunshine.

6. Fountain Between La Cienega and Fairfax.
This area has some of Los Angeles' most unique homes, but it's not for the faint of heart as it is on quite a hill. While not an easy walking spot, it is an enjoyable one. You have stores of every possible kind, tanning salons (a given), smoothie shops, hotels, dry cleaners, dog stores and more. Actually, this area dips to Santa Monica and up to Sunset, so you can really get your walk on. And there are unique places to find, like William S. Hart Park -- a former ranch left to the citizens of Weho to enjoy when its cowboy-star owner passed away.

7. Melrose and La Cienega.
Now I don't mean that particular intersection, but if you are on these blocks, head away from the main roads and you'll discover lovely streets to roam. There are also tons of coffee shops, restaurants and now, high-end stores as well. But really, the homes and streets around here are the draw. Most people think of this area as where to go for Urth -- or what you drive through to get to Sunset or Beverly Hills. They are missing out. It's so lovely for a walkabout.

8. Silver Lake.
The area around the lake is so charming and relaxing, you won't believe you are seconds from Downtown. Stroll the lakeside, detour up some hillside lane and get lost in the maze of micro-neighborhoods. You've got streets and local spots to explore, amazing homes to find (the architecture of some is crazy) and a variety of people and styles. Added bonus: amazing views when you get to higher ground.

9. Echo Park.
C'mon, people, this area even offers walking tours! And yes, I am talking about the actual Echo Park and area surrounding it. It's got Los Angeles history (you'll feel like you stepped back in time here), Hollywood history (Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and "Gilligan's Island" were shot here) and good, fun things to see and do. In the summer there is a paddleboat competition (genius) and it's a nice place to roam. Surprise find: Santa Monica isn't the only place with great stairs to climb, either.

10. Baldwin Hills.
People love to run from other parts of L.A. over to this part of town to get in a great workout and enjoy one of the best views of Los Angeles. This plot of land was the site of the first Olympic Village in 1932, when the Summer Games were held in L.A.. And you know that back then they could have picked pick anywhere, so that's saying something. Baldwin Hills has often been called the Black Beverly Hills as Ray Charles, Tina Turner and more recently John Singleton lived in the area. The neighborhood's big, old homes always make me feel like I've stepped back into the '50s. And the views and history of the area (its Baldwin Hills Village complex is a National Historic Landmark) make it one of L.A.'s best.

Honorable Mentions:

Hollywood Dell.
Not many people know about it, which is why it's so lovely. The area is a hilly collection of roads, and when the reservoir was open it was a great several-mile loop with great views of Hollywood estates. After the rains a few years ago it closed, but it's still worth the walk around the neighborhood and what is, to my mind, the best view of the Hollywood sign.

Little Tokyo in Downtown L.A.
There are great gardens, Buddhist temples, museums (including the Geffen Contemporary), restaurants and more to explore. Walking tours, too. It's an L.A. cultural gem.

So, fellow Angelenos, did i miss anything?

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