You really don’t have to step foot in a gym to stay in shape in Los Angeles.
Between hikes, staircases, beach runs, bike paths and free yoga meetups, your fitness options are endless—and the weather is always nice.
Here are some of the best non-gym places to sweat:
1. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
Most people refer to this place as the Culver City Stairs, which leads to an incredible panoramic view of Los Angeles. You can take the steps which are about 2/3 a mile up and down. There’s also a zig-zagging dirt trail which leads to the top at a little over 1.25 miles. Once you reach the overlook, you can see the Pacific Ocean, the San Gabriel Mountains and the downtown skyline.
Find it at 6300 Hetzler Rd. in Culver City.
2. Santa Monica Stairs
The Santa Monica Stairs are a hot-spot on the westside, located off of Adelaide Drive (map) near the Pacific Palisades.
There are two different sets:
The wooden steps are a straight shot up and are wider across, separated by three landings. There are about 170 steps with an overall vertical change of about 109 feet, roughly similar to climbing an eight-story building.
The concrete ones are winding with several left and right turns. There are approximately 189 steps with an overall vertical elevation of about 111 feet.
3. The Strand
This 22-mile long paved bike path runs mostly along the Pacific Ocean. You can’t beat it.
Officially called the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, it begins in the Pacific Palisades area, continues south past the Santa Monica Pier, the Venice boardwalk, around Marina Del Rey, through Dockweiler State Beach and into the South Bay cities (Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo). The path ends in Torrance County Beach.
No matter where you are on the path—people are always biking, rollerblading, running, hoverboarding, taking selfies, etc.
4. The Original Muscle Beach
The original Muscle Beach didn’t get its name for nothing!
While the Venice weight pen is probably more obvious to visitors, this place is basically a gymnasium in the sand with swings, rings, ropes and monkey bars.
Slack Air! A Typical day at The Original Muscle Beach, since 1934, in Santa Monica, Ca, also home of the famous Santa Monica Pier, built in 1909. #Sunday #slackline #slacklineindustries #masterpiece #picoftheday #backtuck #model #beach #santamonica #portrait #photooftheday #laugh #scenic #photography #backflip flip #beachday #lifestyle #slacklife #surf #backflips #fun #california #beautiful #love #happy #artist #art #travel #beachlife #beachbody
It’s pretty insane.
Find it along the Ocean Front Walk (next to the pier) in Santa Monica.
5. Veterans Parkway / Hermosa Valley Greenbelt
This 3.5 mile woodchip trail is right next to the beach but it’s kind of hidden. The official name is Veterans Parkway, but sometimes called the “Greenbelt Trail” or “woodchip trail.”
It winds through the beach towns of Hermosa and Manhattan, completely surrounded by greenery.
There are also mile markers, several workout stations and drinking fountains along the way.
Find the NORTH entrance near Sepulaveda Boulevard and Rosecrans Avenue in Manhattan Beach.
Find the SOUTH entrance at Herondo Street and Valley Drive at the border of Redondo Beach.
6. Fryman Canyon
This 3-mile, dog-friendly hike is easy to access from the Hollywood or Studio City area, tucked between Mulholland Drive and Ventura Boulevard. It’s a nice alternative to the more popular hikes like Runyon Canyon.
While the place is known as Fryman Canyon, the park is officially called “Wilacre Park.” You can pay $3 to park your car in the lot (limited spaces) and find the trailhead nearby labed “Betty B. Dearing Mountain Trail.”
There’s also ample parking the side streets nearby, but be respectful of the residential neighborhood.
The views of the the Valley are incredible.
From Laurel Canyon Road in Studio City, turn onto Fryman Road and park in the lot.
7. Anthony C. Beilenson Park & Lake Balboa
This park has something for everyone. You can walk your dog or jog around the 1.3 mile paved path, say hello to the ducks and swans in the 27-acre lake, bring your bike for a nice ride, rent paddle boats and more.
The park also has many Cherry Blossom trees which are beautiful in the spring!
Find it at 6300 Balboa Blvd. in Van Nuys.
8. Murphy’s Ranch Nazi Camp
This hidden gem in the Pacific Palisades was reportedly built by Nazi sympathizers in the 1930s who were convinced that Germany was going to win World War II— and built a self-sustaining community deep in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Today the ruins have become a creepy yet amazing place for graffiti artists, hikers and historians to explore. With more than 500 steps and 600 feet of elevation, it’s a workout.
In total, the trail is about 4 miles round trip.
Park near the intersection of Capri Drive and Casale Road in the Pacific Palisades.
This website has a great breakdown of how to find it (because it’s confusing).
9. Paseo Miramar Trail
If you’re looking for a great workout with a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean, look no further than the Paseo Miramar Trail in the Pacific Palisades.
I like it so much, I made a video about it.
10. Palisades Park
What is better than working out over the bluffs with a view of the Pacific Ocean? This park extends over 1.5 miles from the Santa Monica Pier to Adelaide Drive (close to the Santa Monica Stairs).
There is a path for walking or jogging, and plenty of green space for stretching, HIIT workouts or whatever else you fancy. Park at a meter along Ocean Avenue or on a side street.
Find it at Ocean Ave. and Washington Ave. in Santa Monica.
Bonus: Runyon Canyon
Ah, yes. This place.
In my opinion, Runyon Canyon is too crowded and it’s hard to find parking. HOWEVER, the place is incredibly motivating because everyone you see is super fit. Some other positives: You can bring your dog, there’s cool street art along the way and it offers a great view of the Hollywood Hills.
There are multiple entrances to the park on Fuller Avenue, Vista Street and off Mulholland. If you enter from the south side, there are a couple trails you can take that are easy to moderate hikes, and the loops take about 30 to 45 minutes.
If you enter from the north end via Mulholland Drive, there’s a small dirt parking lot. You can take a couple of shorter hikes up to Indian Rock, which is the highest point in the canyon.
Runyon Canyon Park also hosts free daily yoga. Tap here to see the schedule on the group’s Facebook page.
The main NORTH entrance is at Mulholland Drive and Runyon Canyon Road in the Hollywood Hills.
The main SOUTH entrance is at 2000 North Fuller Ave. in West Hollywood.
What is your favorite place to sweat outdoors in Los Angeles? Let me know!