On tour: Walking in LA

One of the weirdest things you can do in LA is to walk. May it be with a goal or just strolling around. No one walks in LA, “Let’s just walk there” doesn’t exist in the local vocabulary. This city is so unimaginably vast, every point of interest is at least a mile apart (except those overrated strips on Sunset or Rodeo Dr, the fame of the latter is build on a mere half mile part of the street occupied by brand stores you’ll find in any other major city, the rest of the street is private homes).
The only people you see on the street, are either joggers or mentally challenged people. And this is what you’re considered to be in case you’re walking. Of course we did walk to places all the time, since we thought this to be the way a city is actually to be experienced. And you can walk to places in LA, it might take some time, but it’s doable. Our best buy in terms of guides is the 50 Walks in LA guide we found in a small Silver Lake store. Many distances are manageable if you don’t mind walking for about 40mins. But the thing is, you’re going to be the only one walking there, most of the times we were literally the only people on the sidewalk, no matter what day or time. Which gives it a kind of uncanny feeling as soon as someone is walking behind you – you’ll instantly suspect him or her following you. One time a guy actually said sorry for walking behind us, because it made him feel like he stalked us.

In Beverly Hills, where I am currently staying, people will give you actually weird looks for walking in the street. Today I felt so weird walking the private homes part of Rodeo Drive, I wouldn’t have been surprised if a police car stopped next to me to inquire my suspicious intents. But the weird feeling is not the only problem. The main downside to walking somewhere in LA is, that it is most likely you won’t see anything of interest on the way to your goal. Many times it feels like walking besides a freeway, a gated community or through an abandoned industrial zone. There is just nothing there, only never ending blocks of private homes, inaccessible office/industrial/whatever buildings and the occasional gas station. I’ll keep on walking, though.


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  1. StreetLounge on


    Ok, that explain why most of them have overweight :/

  2. katy on


    Ich war mal in Lansing, Michigan. Dort bin ich mit einer (deutschen) Freundin 45 min spazierengegangen; wir wurden 5 Mal (!!!) angesprochen, ob wir uns verlaufen hätten…es ist also nicht nur in LA so. ;)

  3. Lisa on


    das is nicht nur in l.a. so, in den usa lauft fast keiner auf den strassen, unglaublich :)wenn ihr was ueber san diego sehen wollt, schaut doch mal auf meinen blog :)

  4. Ryan A. on


    I live in Houston. Houston and L.A are two great case studies on the typical car culture city where walking is actually seen as a degenerate activity, or as exercise (i.e. jogging in one’s neighbourhood) There are interesting books on the topic written by a plethora of architectural historians on this new phenomenon of these two, quite typical, American cities. Houston my engender one to think of the south, and JR in Dallas, but it isn’t too far from L.A. in many urban respects.Needless to say, however, you are gaining a true insight on the ‘American’ way of urban ‘thinking.’Hope you’re enjoying your stay. I’m enjoying the California topic.-ryan

  5. Style By Eye on


    What a dead on outsiders perspective. I’m a native Northern Californian and even though I go south regularly I always struggle with the fact that I seem to be in the car for most of the time I am in LA. Even worse is that there is very little beauty to even stare at from the car, unless you enjoy low-rise, stucco buildings. A lot of the foliage in LA feels too controlled, overly manicured, and plastic. My cousin is a Bay Area to LA transplant that walks the 15 minutes to her work and she says people sometimes even offer her rides if they see her walk more than two blocks. Crazy! Love that you’re in my state, I hope you are enjoying despite the differences.

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