It's time for the annual BURNING QUESTIONS! As we are asked every year: Is walking 15 miles even humanly possible? (When you're taking your time on an all-day leisurely stroll, of course!) Can I bike it? (Yes! But you'll miss some of the joys of exploring the city on foot and meeting others.) 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 Frequently Asked Questions roundup for the GREAT LOS ANGELES WALK 2023!
1. WHEN/WHERE? Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023 -- the Saturday before Thanksgiving, like we do every year. We're meeting at the bear statue at Griffith Park -- On Google Maps, the address is listed as 5413 Los Feliz Blvd.
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 paying for lunch, dinner, water, etc. So don't forget to plan accordingly.
4. WHAT'S THE PATH? From Griffith Park, we will take Los Feliz (which turns into Western) down to Franklin, and hang a right. We'll continue on Franklin to Highland -- where it swoops down, and we'll continue to take Franklin to its end, at Wattles Mansion and Garden Park, a little past Runyon Canyon. From there, we'll take Curson to Hollywood Blvd., and continue to Fairfax. And then this is the fun part. We will journey down Fairfax for the first time! West Hollywood, Canter's, all those shoe stores, The Grove, Park La Brea, the Academy Museum and LACMA, the Petersen Auto Museum, Little Ethiopia, and so much more! At Pico, we will head east. Who doesn't love Pico? And this is a great stretch, full of amazing places to eat and so much culture. And then we reach Western. Western Avenue is when we head back north. Right into the heart of Koreatown. (And also El Cholo, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year! Stop and grab a margarita!) We continue all the way up Western... Back to the Griffith Park bear.
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 (X-ing? I will never call it that) as well -- including us, at @greatlawalk. Check one of those Twitter accounts to figure out where we are.
6. 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.
7. HOW LONG IS THE HIKE? Around 15 miles -- that sounds like a lot, but it's really not, when you take time to explore.
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.
8. WHEN WILL WE GET TO THE END? With so many hikers, people will eventually start to space out. The idea is to finish at around sunset.
9. 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.
10. 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!
11. WHAT ABOUT LUNCH? There are so many restaurants on our walk, you'll have quite the pick to choose from. But this year we don't have an arrangement with any one place -- other than a 15% deal at Diamond Bakery on Fairfax, so be sure to stop by for a mid-morning snack!
12. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE WALK IS DONE? We'll take group photos at the end... and then celebrate at a location to be mentioned later!
13. HOW DO I GET THERE, OR GET HOME? This is the benefit of starting and ending at the same spot for the first time ever. Get to Griffith Park early to stake out a parking spot for the day. Or take a ride share or public transportation! Check out LA Metro for bus or train times!
14. 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), perhaps a small umbrella, as there is a slight chance for rain... and most importantly, your phone! Take photos, share on social media, and document your experience.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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; in 2020, we conducted a socially distanced walk back down Wilshire; in 2021, we retraced the steps of L.A.'s founders, Los Pobladores, from San Gabriel Mission to downtown; and in 2022, we once again explored West Adams before heading to Venice.
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.
18. CAN I SEND IN PHOTOS? READ A RECAP LATER? Of course! Check out www.greatlawalk.com 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!