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Cool Spots, Lifestyle

The Best Outdoor Spots To Exercise in Los Angeles

March 29, 2017 by Sheryl Craig

You can pretty much count on lots of sunshine, comfortable temperatures, and a great view — yep, Los Angeles is the ideal place for torching calories all year long. We have ample outdoor spots for beginners and advanced alike. Say goodbye to the StairMaster, treadmill, and spin bike, and give a warm hello to the beautiful landscape and geography of Los Angeles.

You’ve got the mountains and the beach available for walkers, hikers, and runners, park sweat sessions for the new year’s resolutions community, groups for running together, access to some of the nicest Olympic-size swimming pools in town, and only-in-L.A. scenery to enjoy while practicing yoga.

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In an effort to create more healthy environments accessible to all Angelenos, Los Angeles Parks and Recreation is devoted to offering workout equipment at various parks with fitness zones. The department offers a varied workout which includes strength training, along with jogging, to increase cardiovascular strength.

Whatever your fitness vibe is, exercising outdoors helps to decrease stress and increase your energy level. The options are endless, and below we’ve provided an extensive list giving you plenty of choices of where to take your workout. Enjoy!

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Your legs and heart are going to thank you after this steep climb. The best part about the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with an extraordinary panoramic view of Los Angeles (cameras required). You’ll see everything from Downtown to the Pacific Ocean. But first you’ll be challenged to hike straight up the staircase (exactly 282 recycled concrete steps) or take the zigzag trail. This hike requires stamina, but you can go at your own pace. Up and down it’s about 1.5 miles. Once used to drill oil, the 58 acres of land is now an official California State Park. -> More information

Beach Yoga with Brad

Only in L.A. or on an exotic vacation can you do yoga on the sand looking out over the ocean. Brad Keimach, the lead instructor, emphasizes breathwork while moving through the poses vinyasa style, all while making guests chuckle and appreciate the environment. Beach Yoga with Brad is offered year-round at $15 per person. Bring a mat or towel (whatever you don’t mind getting sandy). Sunset classes can get chilly, and wearing layers is suggested. Weekend mid-morning classes are available, and Brad always has sunscreen on hand.

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Santa Monica Stairs

For the love of the burn, several trips up and down the Santa Monica Stairs will torch calories and help to sculpt quads, hamstrings, and calves (is it ski season yet?). Two sets of steps are set amid this posh Santa Monica residential area: the concrete staircase is narrow, with 199 steps,  while the wider wooden staircase’s 170 steps allow for easy passing and two-way traffic. Here you’ll work out with some serious L.A. hardbodies, NOMO moms (North of Montana, yes) and if you’re lucky enough, you may catch a glimpse of the Santa Monica Fire Department running the stairs. Park on 4th St., and be sure to check the parking signs. -> More information

Runyon Canyon

In popularity, location, and terrain, Runyon Canyon in Hollywood is one of the best places for a hike in L.A. You’ll get a hard-core workout, amazing views of the city and by association, an L.A. attitude. One of the reasons Runyon Canyon is a favorite is that dog owners are welcome to bring their pups on the trail. A few off-leash areas help make it even more fun for you and your dog. After securing a parking spot off of Vista Street or Fuller Street, you’ll enter the park, and basically the world is your oyster. -> Hours and information

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Runyon Canyon View

The view from Runyon Canyon. Credit: Jeff Gunn via flickr

Upper Beachwood Canyon

Once upon a time, Hollywood was named Hollywoodland. Today, the area is home to a landmark — you know it — the historic Hollywood sign that millions of tourists (and locals) photograph each year. Athletic or not, doing a couple flights of the Beachwood Canyon stairs (965 steps) will kick your tush. The climb begins near Beachwood Market (on Belden Drive) and leads you along several staircases. Climbers get a vigorous workout while checking out Hollywoodland’s historic neighborhood. Be sure to walk through Upper Beachwood Canyon to the Hollywoodland historic stairs. 85 years old, the staircases were built to offer locals easy access from neighborhood to neighborhood. -> Directions and information here

Morning Crunch Bootcamp

When you’re in need of some extra motivation and you’re ready to ditch the gym, the trained instructors at Morning Crunch Bootcamp are ready for you. Operating throughout Los Angeles with ten locations, this strength and cardiovascular training company is all about successful fitness experiences in many of the city’s outdoor parks. All fitness levels are encouraged to join the Morning Crunch Bootcamp community in the morning or evening. What makes this bootcamp especially appealing is the fact that you only sign up for a five-week session at a time. Come on, you can do anything for five weeks…right?!? -> More information

BootCamp LA

The BootCamp LA program challenges its recruits (yep, you read that correctly) to do their very best. Participants will complete a myriad of strength exercises with dumbbells and medicine balls, run drills, do push-ups and sit-ups, lunges and stretch exercises over a four-week period. Certified personal trainers throw fun surprises into the workout program so they’re always challenging the recruits. BootCamp LA is geared toward the exercise nut and the newbie alike. AM and PM classes are available at George C. Page Park, and are a fun way to make new friends. Nutritional counseling and individual sessions are also offered. -> More information

Downtown LA Running Group

When you slept through the alarm and missed your morning run (insert sad face emoji), Downtown LA Running Group is your answer to collect those miles after work. The free group offers those who live or work in DTLA a running community to go out with every Tuesday and Thursday evening (check schedule for time and meet-up details) and on Saturday mornings. You’ll run throughout Downtown along different routes, taking in the sights. It doesn’t matter if you are the turtle or the hare, different paced runs are available. Just register to sign up and you’ll have access to join the different runs. Check the schedule to see how many runners have signed up.

DTLA Running Group

Los Angeles, CA
3,383 Runners

Welcome to the Downtown LA Running Group! This is a running group people who live, work and play in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). We’ll meet most every Tuesday, Thursday and Sa…

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Check out this Meetup Group →

Rose Bowl Aquatics Center

You are never too old to splash around in a pool, an the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center is a great place to explore water fitness. Swimmers will find two warm-water Olympic-size pools that cater to adult lap swimming. A daily pass is $10, and monthly and yearly passes are also offered. Depending on what classes are taking place, the number of lanes will vary. The swim program offers a safe environment for people to get their fitness on, and helps to build confidence for all levels. Adult swim lessons are available, at $84 to $112 per session, along with triathlon swim training classes for beginners or advanced at $112 per session. -> More information

November Project™ Los Angeles

November Project originated in Boston as a free way to stay in shape during the cold winter months and it’s now offered in other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles. The goal is to motivate people to join the fitness movement, and give participants a way to be accountable for actually getting off the couch. Once you sign up (it’s beyond easy — just click and register through your Facebook account), you’ll be asked to select your home tribe (Los Angeles). Your invitation to the next November Project workout will appear, along with time, destination, and a map. You never know who will show up. Members include professional and collegiate athletes, Olympic medalists, and everyday fitness rookies. -> More information

Griffith Park

One of the largest urban parks in the U.S., Griffith Park’s 4,300 acres offer connecting trails, paths, and fire roads covering 53 miles. Favorite hikes include the Mount Lee trail to the iconic Hollywood sign (6.5 miles) and the West Griffith Observatory trail (an easy-to-moderate two miles that take you up to Griffith Observatory). Depending on your fitness level, either could give you a good workout. Prepare to see wildlife, including foxes, coyotes, deer, and even rattlesnakes. It’s suggested that all trails be approached with caution. Check the park website for info on trail closures and restrictions. -> More information

 Drake Stadium

Drake Stadium, known to Angelenos as Bruin territory, is set on the UCLA campus. Open and free to the public, Drake Stadium is an ideal venue for any kind of track exercising. Running or walking laps (four times around is one mile), running the stadium stairs, doing pull-ups on the bars,using the rings — you will see it all here. As early as 6:00 a.m., fitness buffs are out and about doing their thing. If you are a night owl, it is definitely recommended to come and go in a group. Metered parking is expensive, and if you find a spot in the residential area next to the stadium, just read the signs for restrictions. Just be sure to check the schedule below, as some evening hours are restricted to student use only. -> More information

Yoga reTreat in DTLA Grand Park

In need of a quick recharge? Check out the 45-minute yoga sessions in Downtown L.A.’s Grand Park. There’s no fee and no sign-up. You just show up to the Performance Lawn, located between Grand Avenue and Hill Street. Yoga reTreat gives the local office community a great mid-day opportunity to move your body, and Grand Park is a great place to eat your lunch afterwards. -> More information

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Lunchtime Yoga at Grand Park. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

Muscle Beach at Venice Beach

A landmark for famous bodybuilders, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, Muscle Beach’s outdoor gym is located on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Using this weight lifting equipment, which is maintained by the City of L.A. Recreation and Parks, is perfect for those who want to build lean muscle by “pumping iron.” If you want to change up your workout routine, Muscle Beach offers a $10 day pass, a $50 week membership, and a very affordable annual pass of $170. -> More information

Marvin Braude Bike Trail

Get pedaling while breathing in fresh ocean air along the Marvin Braude Bike Trail. This 22-mile trail, mostly beachside, stretches from Will Rogers State Beach on Pacific Coast Highway to Via Riviera and Paseo de la Playa in Torrance. Bikers will certainly get a coastal tour of L.A. along this bike path. From the Santa Monica Pier and Muscle Beach in Venice Beach (see below for another great outdoor workout option) to yacht viewing in Marina del Rey, riders may choose to stop along the way for a selfie or two. Once you make it onto the Ballona Creek Bike Path, you’ll be heading into Playa del Rey. (Is it time for a snack? Lots of options in Playa). Manhattan Beach volleyballers will catch your eye from the trail, and once you pass Hermosa Beach, you’ll ride Harbor Drive into Torrance Beach to the Palos Verdes cliffs. Then the challenge becomes, will you ride the 22 miles back? -> More information

North Hollywood Recreation Center

Park of the LA Parks Fitness Zones, the North Hollywood Recreation Center is just one of many parks citywide encouraging fitness. Each park offers lots of awesome outdoor options for good old-fashioned sweating. These newer outdoor fitness zones include durable resistance equipment that challenges strength cardiovascular and flexibility. Most of the designated fitness zone parks are spacious and family-friendly. The challenge here is that it’s up to you to create your own exercise routine. -> More information

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