Three weeks ago, Michael Schneider of the blog Franklin Avenue led a group of 300 from Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood to the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica. It’s 18 miles, a seven-hour walk. To give you a comparable sense of the distance, walking the length of Manhattan is 13.4 miles, and walking along Lake Michigan from Chicago’s downtown Loop to north suburb Evanston is about 13 miles. In other words, it’s pretty far.
I’ve always maintained that the best way to get a sense for a city is by walking it. Instead of spending all my time below ground, in a car or just sticking to one area, I get a better sense for neighborhoods, changing landscapes, distances, history and people by walking a city. And while Los Angeles has a stigma of being unwalkable, the truth is that there are sidewalks aplenty and lots of residents who make walking part of their daily routines.
This is why the walk, now in it’s 8th year (and dubbed The Great Los Angeles Walk), resonates with me. Based on tweets, photos and blog posts, it’s so clear that the walkers were able to enjoy and absorb the city in a very different way than by car. I didn’t have a chance to join in, but it’s on my list of things to do next year. And let’s be honest, ending an 18-mile walk with a gorgeous seaside sunset sounds perfect.
See the photos and more from this year’s Great Los Angeles Walk in Michael’s blog.