IMAGE VIA BEVERLYHILLS.ORG
While we all love a good sweat, sometimes the gym can be crowded, stuffy, and generally unappetizing. Besides, spicing up your indoor routine with some outdoor exercise has tons of benefits — especially in Los Angeles.
You’ll meet new people, breathe fresh air, and get your recommended dose of vitamin D (thanks SoCal sun!). So we’re saying mix up things up, throw on a hat, and check out these best outdoor workout spots in LA!
The Strand snakes 22 miles along the California coast starting at Torrance County Beach and shooting all the way up to Will Rogers State Beach. With the ocean breeze at your back and sea salt in the air, bike onto this flat, winding cement path to breathe in LA’s beach communities. From exploring the Santa Monica Pier to stopping by Muscle Beach (both the original in Santa Monica and its newer counterpart in Venice), The Strand connects bikers with several of Los Angeles’ coastal landmarks.
Since 2013, the La Cienega Outdoor Fitness Pavilion in Beverly Hills has helped the public lead healthier lives. Assisting with cardio and targeting the upper, lower, and core muscles of the body, 12 different types of fitness equipment—from a cross-country skier to a rower—form this network of outdoor exercise equipment on Gregory Way. With so many options for a free full body workout, be sure to check out this spot’s manual for guided workouts!
A wooden and a concrete flight of stairs compose this heavily-trafficked Santa Monica sweat spot. Always crowded, weekend warriors and local residents vie for space on the more narrow concrete flight while you can easily pass on the wider wooden flight. Join other workout gurus in push-ups, jump rope, and sit-ups between climbing reps to truly feel the burn. It’s a good thing the Pacific is just a hop and a skip away to chill you down afterward!
A beach playground in Santa Monica, Muscle Beach is a network of outdoor equipment and the birthplace of the physical fitness boom of the 20th century. From parallel bars to traveling rings (think adult-sized ring swings) to a padded gymnastics area, this popular locale has something for everyone — though gymnasts, acrobats, and probably some CrossFitters will feel most at home here. And to top it off, Muscle Beach has equipment specifically designed for youth. We guess it’s time for a full FitFam beach day!
On LA’s West Side, Angelenos will find Mar Vista Recreation Center, a family-friendly park with great workout potential. Hit the dirt road that encircles the park for a pleasant run as joyful screams from nearby youth baseball and soccer games fade in and out as you complete the tree-lined loop. Nine shaded circuit training stations await you on McLaughlin Ave., making it both a good spot to squeeze in some strength work and a cool down between laps.
Angelenos can find an 18-station parcourse at Yvonne B. Burke Park, a sliver of a park near Admiralty Way in Marina Del Rey. At each station, you’ll find a detailed description of an exercise that when put all together makes for a heart-pumping and strength-building workout. Popular with bikers, keep your eyes peeled as you walk or run between stations. Fitt Tip: use the park’s stretching stations and heart rate guide to really fine tune your workout!
Resembling its Hollywood birthplace and age (established in 1928), the Beachwood Canyon Stairs provide driven workout enthusiasts with a shady and personal spot in Hollywood Hills. This two-section set begins with a tiny entrance tucked away just past 2800 Beach Canyonwood Dr. and connecting to Westshire Dr. The cement stairs are short and narrow, but provide adventurous souls with a quick run between each. And you can count on beautiful views of LA (plus some really neat architecture).
For our friends in the Valley, find a full-fledged outdoor workout space at the North Hollywood Recreation Park on Chandler Blvd. Boasting equipment for chin-ups, dips, body curls, sit-ups, and push-ups, plus elliptical and biking equipment, you’ll work out every part of your body, and some you didn’t even know existed! Warm up for or cool down from your strength-building workout by hitting the nearby track for a few easy laps.
Part of Baldwin Hills Scenic California State Park, the Culver City Stairs are one of the biggest flights (each step is massive) within LA. Not only are the stairs huge, but the staircase itself is long and steep. Providing 360° views of the City of Angels, trekking to the top of the Culver City Stairs is worth every hard-earned inch. Fitt Tip: box jumps and tri dips are easily done upon reaching the top, after which you can then smoothly cruise down the adjacent paved road back to the park’s entrance.
Don Knabe Community Regional Park is a beautiful, 84-acre area in Cerritos that offers Angelenos a pleasant and simple outdoor exercise experience. With ellipticals and chin-up bars at both ends of the park, bounce between the two stations over rolling green hills or loop around the park’s 1.5-mile paved perimeter to circle around two peaceful fishing lakes. Either way, you’ll be basking in one of LA County’s most gorgeous parks while working up a serious sweat!
Another Santa Monica favorite, Clover Park’s 15-station parcourse challenges even our fittest friends. Under plenty of shady pines and eucalyptus trees, you’ll climb ropes, balance on beams, and take on a vault bar and a horizontal ladder. Between these pieces of equipment, reps of push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups will rock your body. Too bad the nearby rocket ship (yes, there’s a rocket ship at this park!) isn’t operational, as you’ll be sore getting home after this workout!
Sand Dune Park in Manhattan Beach provides outdoor enthusiasts with a unique workout experience. Reserve a time, and you’ll be able to tackle a steep sand dune to get your sweat on. FYI: though a nearby set of concrete stairs within the park has all the potential for a traditional stairs workout, individuals caught using it for workout purposes have been fined big time in the past.
Los Liones to Parker Mesa is a hike that rewards with spectacular ocean views. Begin at the Los Liones trailhead on Los Liones Dr. in Pacific Palisades and slowly ascend the trail as you walk under overgrown trees (yay shade!) and pass lush hillsides. Then, take the well-marked Parker Mesa route, which will guide you to several benches with inspirational quotes and breathtaking views of the Santa Monica Bay and Santa Monica Mountains. Head back from where you came, and you’ll have completed a 7.5-mile hike with 1,300 feet of elevation gain.
Another treasure in the Valley, Balboa Park combines running and fitness equipment across a spectacular park for a longer-distance workout. Take the two-mile dirt trail that wraps around the Encino Golf Course to a outdoor fitness spot near Lake Balboa that has 10 pieces of fitness equipment, include a rowing machine, seated chest and leg presses, and a cardio walker. After you’re done, rest under the shade of the park’s famous cherry trees — at the right time of the year, you’ll catch their beauty in full bloom!
Get the latest news on LA’s fitness scene.