Once upon a time, there was a very dull, downtown LA. Hit the Los Angeles business district and heart centre today, and you’ll find small hives of diverse dining and entertaining emerging from the concrete jungle, there’s been a reinvention of downtown and tourists and locals are loving it and the many great trails around.
Eating in downtown LA
Grand Central Market, a stalwart stall, since 1919, is a 30,000 square feet, space where cultures, flavours, textures, and amazing aroma’s sit side by side in a noisy hype brimming with life and mixing eclectic cultures from every walk of life. Sit down dining, stand up, take away, take home fresh food market there is every option you can think of. If you want eggs, you could be there for a while the line up for Eggslut, I kid you not that’s what it’s called, went around the corner.
Grand Central Market pride themselves on being a shared gathering place and a dynamic hub for public programming and events. Spend a little time here and you can see how totally this could happen. And it’s not just the entertainment and eateries that are growing. More people are coming back to downtown to live.
Living in downtown LA
Rent an apartment here in downtown, and you‘ll get a bigger one and a cheaper one than in the Hollywood suburbs but be careful going out at night, when downtown sleeps your safety could be an issue and the confronting skid row tent cities of the homeless are sobering. It’s like they’ve become icons of the city alongside the traditional LA icons of Federal Courts, Disney Centre, Getty Centre and the Griffith Observatory to name a few.
Reality in downtown LA
Like any big city the contrast between the extreme wealth and the extreme desperation of humanity is very sobering. As the largest city in Southern California LA’s population is, like Australia’s, 24 million. In the Los Angeles county population 10 million, there are around 50,000 people homeless. That’s half the homeless population of the whole state of California. Staggering. In yet another contrast of LA there is great natural beauty to be found amongst the poverty.
Trail walking around downtown LA
Runyon Canyon – 10 km
Walking Runyon Canyon at the foothills of Hollywood is like dog central, pets and people are everywhere. Free yoga classes in the park, stroller friendly paths, challenging climbs, labyrinths, and the superbloom on the sidehills are all part of the 10 plus kms of hard or easy trails. The pay off is when you get to the top is impressive if not a little hazy. There’s the Hollywood sign, some amazing houses and a 360 degree view of LA. 10klms later I’m tired. Tomorrow is another day.
Griffith Observatory – 10 km – 72 stories high
Griffith Observatory is our next trail walk. Situated in the 4.2 hectare Griffith Park, you can avoid the $10 an hour parking at the Observatory and walk and park at the base of the park. Either I’m tired from the day before or this walk really is tougher because by the time we get to the peak I’m exhausted and because the observatory is a night time thing the café is closed. Never fear, there’s plenty of water bubblers to drink from. And the view is spectacular. Around 12 kms we walked but there’s plenty of opportunities to turn around if that’s too far. Believe me, I had to push myself the last two or three. The walk down can be tough on the knees too.
Temescal Canyon – 12 km – 75 stories high
The last walk of the weekend is from Temescal Canyon in the Topanga State Forest. After the last two trails is very different. Really quiet, very lush with greenery and a tiny narrow pathway. This holiday weekend it’s busy, quite often we stop to let people pass us and we pass others. The view at the top is different from the other two walks, it’s ocean and oceans. Malibu and the Pacific coast view greet us and it’s awesome.
Now to hit the east coast!