It's true, LA does walk. The Big Parade, the secret stairs, and now a recently formed group – Los Angeles Walks losangeleswalks.org.
Inexpensive, casual walks co-hosted by locals. Our local was Lawrence, and Saturday was the Summer Solstice Walk.
Starting at dusk, the 4-mile loop seemed the perfect reason to trek through Los Feliz to Griffith Park. First stop was Barnsdall Park, a hidden urban hideaway and the site of the Frank Lloyd Webber Hollyhock house. Our walk then continued past the original Walt Disney Studio, a Sikh temple and the Los Feliz Theater.
We continued on Vermont into the park, admiring the properties that line the entrance, veering off to the left up a dirt path into the hills that winds up to the Observatory.
We hit the top just in time to catch our breath and a very entertaining presentation by a bow tie wearing, globe-wielding, astronomy-loving staff member.
Allegedly, there is a very colorful history behind Colonel Griffith, involving an ostrich farm, the ghost of Antonio Feliz, a murder attempt, and the eventual donation of 3000 acres of land to the city of Los Angeles. Luckily for us, a trust fund was set up so Griffith's vision for the Observatory and Greek Theater could be realized after his death.
After enjoying the sunset on the longest day of the year, we headed back down the hill sans any light.
We hit a locked gate at the entrance of the Ennis House neighborhood, but due to some quick thinking by the organizers, we were all scaling down the side of the hill by the fence and back up on the other side. After that little adventure, we headed towards another Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece, the Ennis House, then down the steep Los Feliz Stairs, passing through archways and past several inviting stone benches on interval landings. Would have loved to see more of the neighborhood in the day light.
Finally, we were back on Vermont, heading to the train station. Definitely a great way to kickoff the first day of summer.
Can't wait for their next hike in July starting at Echo Park, yet another great neighborhood we've been wanting to explore on foot.