The 18th edition of the Great Los Angeles Walk returns on Saturday, November 18, 2023! (Always the Saturday before Thanksgiving.) Details to come.
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Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Great Los Angeles Walk 2021 Recap: Hundreds Retrace the Steps of Los Angeles' First Settlers -- Los Pobladores -- From San Gabriel to Downtown

A year after being socially distanced, the Great Los Angeles Walk was back in person this year, in time to try something different: In honor of Los Angeles' 240th birthday, we decided to retrace the short journey of Los Angeles' first settlers -- Los Pobladores -- from the San Gabriel Mission to downtown L.A.

We weren't sure who might show up, but the attendance was strong, as a hundreds joined us in San Gabriel for the 16th edition of The Great Los Angeles Walk on Saturday, Nov. 20. We hiked through Alhambra, and the El Sereno, stopping at spots including the Ming Ya Buddhist Association and exploring Lincoln Park. We later passed by Los Angeles County General Hospital, and the coroners office, hiked over the Los Angeles River and past Union Station, walking through Chinatown and Olvera Street before moving on to Grand Park, Spring St., Broadway, Grand Ave. and ending for a photo in front of Angels Flight. From there, some moved on to celebrate at Grand Central Market

This year's Walk eschewed our normal downtown-to-the-ocean route to try something a bit different. After a brief gathering at the San Gabriel Mission -- now being renovated after a 2020 fire -- we walked nine miles to Los Angeles' Pueblo and Olvera Street, followed by an afternoon traveling through downtown and adding on around four more miles.

Thanks to everyone who made all of the trek, some of it, or even just helped give rides to their friends. Check out The Great Los Angeles Walk's Instagram feed for more pics, and the hashtags #glaw and #greatlawalk for more as well. Also you can find pics in which we were tagged here.

But here are just a few highlights from the day:


Thursday, November 18, 2021

DOWNLOAD: The Great Los Angeles Walk 2021 Map and Highlights PDF

Here's this year's GREAT LOS ANGELES WALK handout!

Download here.

Or save the images below to your smart phone, and/or copy and paste the directions below. See below:

MILE 1: Garfield Ave.

MILE 2: Marguerita Ave.

MILE 3: Westminster Ave.

[Mission turns into Alhambra]

El Sereno Arroyo Playground
Pasadena Model Railroad Club

MILE 4: Endicott Street

[Alhambra turns into Valley Blvd]

MILE 5: Cyril Ave.

Los Angeles Fire Dept. Station 16
Ming Ya Buddhist Association

MILE 6: Soto St.

Lincoln Park
Florence Nightingale Memorial
The Wall: Las Memorias AIDS Monument
Plaza de la Raza
El Parque de Mexico
Agustin Lara Monument

[Valley Blvd. to N Mission Rd]

LAC+USC Medical Center-General Hospital
LA County Dept of Medical Examiner-Coroner

MILE 7: Morengo Street

5 Freeway
[Right on Cesar Chavez]

MILE 8: Los Angeles River

Cesar Chavez Bridge
Union Station
Olvera Street

[Walk toward La Placita Church, through El Pueblo Los Angeles Plaza Historic Park]

Chinese American Museum
Pico House
La Plaza de Cultura y Artes


MILE 9: Main St.

[Walk through pathway next to church to Spring Street; turn left and start walking on Spring toward downtown]

101 Freeway
Hall of Justice
City Hall/Grand Park
Los Angeles Times former headquarters
Spring Street Park
The Last Bookstore

MILE 10: Spring and 6th Street

[Spring and Main merge; continue on Main until Olympic]

[Turn right on Olympic, to Broadway]

[Turn right on Broadway]

United Artists/Ace Hotel
The Orpheum
Tower Theatre
Globe Theatre
Los Angeles Theatre

MILE 11: Broadway and 6th Street

Arcade Building
Biddy Mason Park
Grand Central Market
Million Dollar Theater
Bradbury Building

Back to Grand Park

[Make a left and walk up Grand Park]

Performance Lawn
Splash Pad

MILE 12: Grand Ave. at the Music Center

[Head left on Grand]

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Broad
Museum of Contemporary Art
California Plaza Park
Angels Flight Railway

[Take Angels Flight back down to Grand Central Market]

4 pm — Photo in front of Angels Flight

After: Enjoy Grand Central Market!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 Touts This Year's Great Los Angeles Walk


Thanks as always to Alysia Gray Painter for writing up the Great Los Angeles Walk for! She writes:

Each September, for the last several years, at least, a group of locals make the on-foot journey from San Gabriel Mission to El Pueblo de Los Angeles, retracing the nine-mile route taken by Los Pobladores, the early settlers of the area, in 1781.

Of course, the route is available to anyone throughout the year, and not just on LA's birthday (which is Sept. 4, but then you know that, surely). To pay tribute to Los Pobladores, and to connect with the story of our city in a community-minded and contemplative way, the Great Los Angeles Walk aims to follow that route on Nov. 20.

Nov. 20, in 2021, is the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and if you're familiar with this free event, you know it always sets out, five days before the holiday, on a remarkable ramble.

Those remarkable rambles have long covered sizable swaths of the city, with past Great Los Angeles Walks inviting can-do adventurers to amble along Wilshire Boulevard, through Hollywood, and to the beach.

The 2021 path is a shorter one comparatively, and the walk should wrap up, for many people around noon or 1 o'clock at Olvera Street.

To continue the fun, though, the event's energetic founder, Michael Schneider, and other gambolers who are feeling game, will saunter further into downtown, with an exploratory stroll along Grand Avenue and Broadway, with stops to see Angels Flight and Grand Central Market.

You're free to keep on keepin' on beyond Olvera Street if you like, or you can wrap up your day there.

It's year 16 for this uplifting urban outing, a happening that not only helps people get to know other locals who are interested in our city's stories, shops, spots, and LA's vast everything-ness, but there's fresh air and exercise involved, too.

That's certainly a bonus, as we all amble up to the fourth Thursday in November, and the heaping helpings of stuffing and pie that may await.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Saturday's Weather Forecast: Perfect Day for The Walk!


For the Great Los Angeles Walk, you want it not too sunny, not too dark -- and not too hot, but not too cold. And please, no rain. This Saturday, it looks to be about perfect. Still bring your hats and sunscreen just in case, but it appears that Mother Nature will be cooperating as we embark at 9 am from San Gabriel Mission!

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Great Los Angeles Walk 2021 Official Press Release



LOS ANGELES (Nov. 8, 2021) -- Hundreds of Angelenos will hit the sidewalks once again on Saturday, November 20, for The Great Los Angeles Walk 2021 – the annual event that dispels the myth that “nobody walks in L.A.”


After last year's socially distanced edition, The Great Los Angeles Walk ( will welcome vaccinated participants to join in and walk from the San Gabriel Mission to downtown, the same route that the city's first settlers – Los Pobladores – took to found Los Angeles in 1781.


In September 1781, the original settlers of Los Angeles — the 44 mostly Mexican-Indigenous and Black individuals known as Los Pobladores ("the settlers"), set out from the San Gabriel Mission. El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula (a.k.a. Los Angeles) was then founded, 240 years ago.


Every year, hundreds of Angelenos walk the historic route, from the San Gabriel Mission to El Pueblo Historical Monument, considered the birthplace of Los Angeles, to celebrate our city's birthday. This year, the Great Los Angeles Walk will do the same.


But the Pobladores route is only nine miles — which is a little more than half our usual downtown-to-ocean journey. So once we get to El Pueblo, we'll also walk through downtown Los Angeles' Spring St., Broadway and Grand Ave., in order to spend a bit more time exploring our fine city.


All told, this year's route will still be the shortest ever in the Great Los Angeles Walk's 16-year history: Just 13 miles. But that will give participants a chance to take more time and explore both the Pueblo (including Olvera Street) and downtown. The journey will end by taking Angels Flight railway down to Grand Central Market for a celebratory meal and drink.


Everyone will be encouraged to explore the city in a safe way, and follow proper safety protocols, such as wearing a mask indoors and maintaining a proper distancing from others. From there, they should explore the city, document what they see and share that experience with others.


L.A. journalist and blogger Michael Schneider launched the Great Los Angeles Walk in 2006 as a way to celebrate his tenth year in Los Angeles. Inspired by the book “Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles,” by Kevin Roderick (with research by J. Eric Lynxwiler), he decided to walk the street’s entire length.


In 2007, for an encore, he chose another downtown-to-the-ocean route: Pico Boulevard. The 2008 Walk took on Santa Monica Blvd. In 2009, the event kicked off in the historic West Adams district and walked to Venice Beach via Adams and Washington. In 2010, for its fifth edition, the Great Los Angeles Walk reprised its original Wilshire journey. In 2011, participants marched to the ocean via Hollywood Boulevard. In 2012, the Walk traveled across Melrose Avenue; in 2013, Sunset Boulevard; in 2014, the Walk traveled across the San Fernando Valley via Ventura Boulevard; in 2015, the Walk took on Olympic Boulevard; in 2016, it returned to Pico; in 2017, the Walk tackled Beverly Boulevard; in 2018, in honor of Jonathan Gold, we walked on 6th Street, including through Koreatown; in 2019, we walked down Colorado Blvd. from Arcadia and Pasadena, and then through Highland Park to downtown via Figueroa; and in 2020, the socially distanced edition returned to Wilshire.


The Great Los Angeles Walk grew from dozens of participants to hundreds, and continues to expand each year as more Angelenos join in to explore their city on foot.


As always, the Walk is completely free. It is up to the participants to decide how much or how little of the walk they want to do. The Great Los Angeles Walk has been featured in Los Angeles magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the L.A. Weekly, KCAL-Channel 9, KABC-Channel 7, and In 2012, the LA Weekly recognized The Great Los Angeles Walk in its "Best of L.A." issue. More recently, the Walk was included in the book "The Best Things to Do In Los Angeles: 1001 Ideas" by Joy Yoon.


The official hashtags of The Great Los Angeles Walk are #greatlawalk and #glaw. Social media users can follow along all day on the walk's official Twitter feed, @greatlawalk, as we continually post our location.





CONTACT: Michael Schneider

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The Great Los Angeles Walk 2021 Frequently Asked Questions

OK, you know the drill by now: Is walking 14 miles even humanly possible? (When you're taking your time on an all-day leisurely stroll, of course!) Can I bike it? (Yes!) Take the Metro? (Of course!) Bring a dog or my kid? (Sure!) Quit half way through? (Whatever you want!) Does it cost money (No!) Are you personally driving me back to my car? (Well, no.)

Here it is, the unofficial Frequently Asked Questions roundup for the GREAT LOS ANGELES WALK 2021! 

1. WHEN/WHERE? Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 -- the Saturday before Thanksgiving, like we do every year. We're meeting at San Gabriel Mission -- specifically, at Plaza de San Gabriel, aka Plaza Park, facing Mission Road.

Before 9 am we'll gather for a pep talk and some info about the day. Then, we're off right at 9 am! THE WALK HAPPENS, RAIN OR SHINE! (We had light rain one year, but it cleared up by mid day.)

2. WHO? We're expecting 300 or so urban hikers this year. We're taking RSVPs at greatlawalk(at)mail(dot)com (yes, "mail," not "gmail"), but RSVPs are not necessary. We'll take anyone who shows up too! Also sign up for our email list if you want future info about the Walk.

3. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? C'mon, it's completely free! But you're on your own when it comes to lunch, dinner, water, etc. So don't forget to plan accordingly.

4. WHAT'S THE PATH? In September 1781, the original settlers of Los Angeles — the 44 mostly Mexican-Indigenous and Black indivdiuals known as Los Pobladores ("the settlers"), set out from the San Gabriel Mission. El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula was then founded, 240 years ago.

Every year, hundreds of Angelenos walk the historic route, from the San Gabriel Mission to El Pueblo Historical Monument, considered the birthplace of Los Angeles, to celebrate our city's birthday. This year, the Great Los Angeles Walk will do the same.

But the Porbladores route is only nine miles — which is a little more than half our usual downtown-to-ocean journey. So once we get to El Pueblo, we'll also walk through downtown Los Angeles' Spring St., Broadway and Grand Ave., in order to spend a bit more time exploring our fine city.

All told, this year's route (see the Google maps link here) will still be the shortest ever in the Great Los Angeles Walk's 16-year history: Just 13 miles. But that's because we think this year everyone will really want to stop and explore both the Pueblo (including Olvera Street) and downtown. Stop inside the Last Bookstore. See how many of the historic movie palaces you can walk in and look at on Broadway. And of course, end our journey by taking Angel's Flight railway down to Grand Central Market for a celebratory meal and drink.

The walk to El Pueblo approximately three hours to complete, which is the perfect time for a lunch break at either Olvera Street or nearby in Chinatown (or, of course, Philippe The Original!)

After that, take another few hours to walk down Spring St. to Olympic, back up Broadway to Grand Park, then up to Disney Hall and Grand Ave., followed by Angel's Flight back down to Grand Central Market.

We strictly walk down sidewalks. As for bathroom breaks along the way, it's up to you to find businesses that will let you go. Coffee shops like Starbucks are usually pretty good for that.

5. WAIT, I DIDN'T GET ALL OF THAT! Don't worry, there will be a PDF you can download to your phone, and handouts with the map!

Several hikers will be Twittering as well -- including us, at @greatlawalk. Check one of those Twitter accounts to figure out where we are.

6. WHAT ABOUT COVID SAFETY? Be vaccinated! (Bring proof on your phone, or carry it with you!) And although we'll be walking outdoors, make sure to have a mask for when you want to venture indoors, grab a meal, etc.

7. WHAT DO WE DO ALONG THE WAY? Explore! The whole excitement of exploring L.A. by foot is to get up close and personal with sites you might normally miss while cruising down the street in your car. And there's a lot to see this year, as we pass through San Gabriel, Alhambra, El Sereno, Lincoln Heights, Chinatown and Downtown.

8. HOW LONG IS THE HIKE? Around 13 miles -- like I mentioned, the shortest ever for the Great LA Walk.

That's why it's even more IMPORTANT to note: This is not a race. Sure, you can sprint all the way to the end, but where's the fun in that? There's no prize for who gets there first. Instead, take a breath, and join the bulk of us as we leisurely stroll through downtown and stop frequently to take in the sights.

9. WHEN WILL WE GET TO THE END? With so many hikers, people will eventually start to space out. After lunch, it's truly a free-for-all as we explore downtown. But the idea is to finish at Angels Flight around 5.

10. CAN WE BIKE IT? BRING KIDS? PETS? Because you're walking on your own accord -- remember, this is an unofficial gathering of passionate Angelenos walking the streets of our communities -- you can do whatever you want. Use your best judgement, of course. We're not responsible for you.

11. WHAT ABOUT INJURIES? Again, there is no infrastructure to our Walk, so you need to take care of yourself just like you would whenever you walk anywhere. Be careful, stay safe and stick with a group of walkers!

12. WHAT ABOUT LUNCH? We'll be taking a lunch break -- probably around an hour or so -- around the halfway point, near Chinatown and Union Station. You could hit Philippe's The Original or a number of spots in the area. Again, that's up to you. 

13. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE WALK IS DONE? We'll take group photos at the end... and then perhaps grab food and drink at Grand Central Market.

14. HOW DO I GET THERE, OR GET HOME? Either plan with a friend and get to downtown early morning, parking one car, then carpool to San Gabriel (where you'll park the other car). OR: Park in San Gabriel, walk to downtown, then eventually take a bus or rideshare back to your car. Check out LA Metro for bus or train times!

15. WHAT SHOULD I WEAR/BRING? Loose, comfy clothing. I'd wear shorts, a t-shirt (and perhaps a sweatshirt, depending on the temperature). Also, tennis shoes... sunglasses... a hat... sunscreen... extra socks... a blister kit (optional, of course -- I haven't brought one, although Band-Aids  are a good idea)... your mask... and most importantly, your phone! Take photos, share on social media, and document your experience.

16. HOW CAN I GET A T-SHIRT? T-shirts are now for sale at Great LA Walk's Spreadshirt page (we don't make any money off of these). But order fast, in order get the shirts in time for the Walk.

17. HOW SHOULD I TRAIN FOR THIS? It's not a marathon, so training isn't really necessary. I suppose you could walk around your neighborhood in the days before hand... but I'd avoid any big gym routine the day before, so you're not sore the day you're hiking. But other than that... I didn't train at all for any of the previous nine walks, and have turned out just fine.

18. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? Why not? There's no special reason, no charity, no protest, no issue we're promoting -- other than a passion for Los Angeles. In 2006, I organized our walk down Wilshire to mark my 10th anniversary in Los Angeles. But it was so much fun, and it was a chance to meet so many new people, that we did it again in 2007, down Pico; in 2008, via Sunset and Santa Monica Blvd.; and in 2009, we hit West Adams as we walked down Adams and Washington to Venice Beach. In 2010, we returned to Wilshire for the fifth walk; in 2011, we hit Hollywood; in 2012, it was Melrose's turn; in 2013, it was all about Sunset Boulevard; in 2014, we hit the Valley via Ventura Boulevard; in 2015, it was Olympic Boulevard; in 2016, we returned to Pico; in 2017, we hit Beverly Boulevard; in 2018, we walked on 6th Street and through Koreatown; in 2019, we went from Arcadia, through Pasadena and Highland Park to downtown; and in 2020, we conducted a socially distanced walk back down Wilshire.

It's the Saturday before Thanksgiving as well, so somehow I don't feel as bad gorging on sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie a few days later. And hey, it'll be a cool conversation piece at your holiday party.

17. CAN I SEND IN PHOTOS? READ A RECAP LATER? Of course! Check out the Monday after the Walk to read a full recap! Send us links to your own recaps, YouTube videos, etc.

19. IMPORTANT: You are walking on your own volition. The Great Los Angeles Walk is just a casual opportunity to walk with other Angelenos through the region. It's not an official organization of any sort -- and is therefore not responsible for your conduct or anything that may happen during your hike. Be careful, and be respectful of others and of your city.

The legalese: As consideration for being allowed to participate in Great LA Walk, all participants are deemed to have released from liability and waived any right to sue its organizers from any and all claims, including claims of negligence, resulting in any physical injury, illness (including death) or economic loss as a result of participating in the Great LA Walk. By participating in a Great LA Walk event, each participant understands that there are risks, such as physical and/or psychological injury, pain, suffering, illness, disfigurement, temporary or permanent disability, death or economic loss. These injuries or outcomes may arise from a participant's or other's actions, inactions or negligence, or the condition of the location(s) or facility (es). Nonetheless, participants assune all known and unknown risks of participation in the Great Los Angeles Walk.

Any more questions? Add 'em below and we'll answer them!