Five Los Angeles walks to crush your Fitbit's 10,000 steps


The brilliance of fitness trackers is that they allow one to step outside the confines of the gym into the real world. A 10,000 step, roughly 4.5 to 5-mile goal can be explored taking in scenery that doesn't include sweaty, smelly gym rats. So with my Fitbit Charge 2 wrapped around my wrist coupled with an urban, outdoorsy slant on fitness, here are five scenic and artsy walks around Los Angeles to crush your 10,000-step goal.

1. Santa Monica Strand
Santa Monica Pier seen from the walking path of the Santa Monica StrandSanta Monica Pier seen from the Santa Monica Strand (Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons/Jishnu7)

The running/biking/walking path along the lustrous, sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean, commonly known as "The Strand" (and formally known as Marvin Braude Coastal Trail), runs 22 miles from Will Rogers Beach to Torrance Beach. What this means is that you have no excuse to not hit your 10,000 steps. None! I'm here to help, so start at Santa Monica Pier and walk to the Venice Beach Boardwalk, and return. This trek is just shy of five miles, which should blast your step goal, especially as you add in recreational steps for food, beverages and shopping in Santa Monica and/or Venice.

2. Venice Canals
Architecture and Ducks along the Venice CanalsWhimsical architecture and water fowl along the Venice Canals (Photo: Lori Huck)

Originally built in 1905 by California developer Abbot Kinney, the Venice Canals, which are comprised of four east-west canals and two north south canals, serve as an architectural marvel, as well as a Fitbit walking challenge. Although parking is usually tough (I suggest searching along Pacific Avenue, Ocean Avenues, Washington Blvd., or Venice Blvd.), the upside is you'll score a minimum of a few hundred steps from your parked car to the pedestrian-only lanes. To attain your 10,000-step goal though, you must walk on each side of every canal and traverse every footbridge (no cheating or Fitbit will know). And don't forget to take in the spectacular and whimsical architectural styles of the homes as well as the waterfowl that border the canals.

3. Hollywood Reservoir Loop
Hollywood Reservoir Hollywood Reservoir, also known as Lake Hollywood (Photo: Lori Huck)

Many are unaware of the Hollywood Reservoir (also known as Lake Hollywood) and its 3.3-mile walking loop (photos above, top). Created via the Mulholland Dam in 1924, this drinking water reservoir is maintained by the L.A. Department of Water and Power and is protectively encircled by a chain-linked fenced. But its service road serves as a trail on which locals like to stroll, run, cycle or skate (no dogs allowed). This loop affords great views of the lake, the Hollywood sign, the diverse pine, oak and eucalyptus trees as well as deer sightings. For your 10,000-step goal, you must make 1.3 laps, or park at the top of the hill leading into the North Gate (via Lake Hollywood Drive).

4. Downtown Los Angeles Art and Architecture Walk
The Broad and Walt Disney HallThe Broad and Walt Disney Hall (Photo: Lori Huck)

Downtown L.A. is literally one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the southland. With its compact footprint of buildings, it's extremely walkable and thus perfect for a fitness tracker. To bust that 10,000-step goal while taking in the arts, start at Grand Central Market for a quick brunch (Eggslut, anyone?), and then head to The Broad museum for art. Next, view the shiny Walt Disney Hall as you walk towards 1st Street down to Alameda to the Arts District. After checking out the diverse galleries, graffiti art, and boutiques, grab a bite at either Wurstkuche or The Pie Hole. Then try to catch a sunset at Upstairs, the rooftop bar at the Ace Hotel.

5. Griffith Park
A front view of Griffith Observatory sitting above Hollywood in Griffith ParkA front view of Griffith Observatory sitting above Hollywood in Griffith Park (Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons/Matthew Field)

With its 53 miles of hiking trails, Griffith Park sends your Fitbit into overdrive. One favorite hike is the West Griffith Observatory Trail that starts at Fern Dell and leads to the Griffith Observatory. This roughly two-mile hike offers great views of Los Angeles as well as the Griffith Observatory, which is your destination. Once there, walk around the Observatory's art deco exterior, see the James Dean sculpture as well as visit the museum itself. But you're probably going to be shy of your Fitbit goal, so keep on hiking, dude. Remember the park offers 51 more trail miles, or that's 110,000 steps to you.

Lori Huck works in television development as well as writes on entertainment, travel and the arts. She's a fan of the vibrant arts scene in Los Angeles and is a member of various film, television, and arts organizations.

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