Healthy Los Angeles | Where To Eat & Exercise When Visiting LA
Many of my friends come to Los Angeles for work or pleasure and will often ask me what to do. Of course, there are the typical tourist suggestions for visiting museums, the beach, eating tacos, at food trucks or in Koreatown, etc. But one of my favourite things to do when friends visit is to take them to experience a healthy Los Angeles.
What do I mean exactly? When my friends visit I will take them on hikes with views and eat delicious healthy meals without it seeming like a chore. Below is a list of my go-to places to hike, workout, and eat healthy grub in Los Angeles.
Updated August 1, 2019 – originally published Jan 2014
Healthy Los Angeles – Outside Activities (free!!!)
Runyon Canyon, one of my go-to places in Los Angeles, is a great place to go for a free workout and to people watch. It’s free and you can get a bit of a view (though usually smoggy) and sometimes you’ll even spot a celebrity amongst all the people “hiking”. It’s not much of a hike but if you’re not in the best shape, it can be a bit of a push. There are two trail paths to choose from. One is a paved path with an upward incline and then steps going down. Then there’s a second path that’s a bit more challenging. It’s an upward climb, some clambering on rocks, and then an easy walk down steps and a path. I always do the second path with my friends. It’s always quite warm so I like to go to Runyon either before 9 am or after 5 if the sun sets later in the day.
(excuse the photo quality, I usually just take my phone on hikes)
A view from Runyon
Another view from Runyon of Los Angeles
Another popular hike that I have done is Griffith Park. There are several trails but to be honest I’ve only gone one time. Visiting Griffith Park is a Los Angeles must do, for sure. Get yourself to Griffith Observatory, park your car, hike the trails, and enjoy the views.
Photo credit: Flickr
View from Griffith Park Observatory
A view of the Hollywood sign from my hike
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook or better known as the Culver City stairs is located in Culver City which is on the west side of Los Angeles. When you get to the top of the stairs you have a bit of a view (unless there’s a lot of smog).
My best friends and I came to this trail one day since we were already in Brentwood. There’s mostly a paved pathway and the trail is not too hard and there’s a great view of the ocean here. Parking right by the trailhead and along the street leading up to the entrance. This is definitely my favourite hike with a view on the westside that I have done so far.
There is a handful of other places to hike around Los Angeles but I have not done them yet. Here are a few that I have on my list if you’re interested:
- Temescal Canyon in Malibu
- Franklin Canyon
- Vasquez Rocks
Healthy Los Angeles – Fitness Classes
While these are not free, you can often take your first class free or at a heavily discounted price. Here are a few fitness studios I have tried in Los Angeles.
Are you a fan of spin classes? I love spinning. When I was living in LA, I received a gift card to Flywheel. They have locations in West Hollywood as well as in Larchmont, a Los Angeles neighbourhood I really like. The first class is free! You just have to sign up online to reserve your seat.
Geared up for spin class
Los Angeles is always on top of the next fitness craze. My friend came to town and she asked me if I wanted to join her for a Shift by Dana Perri class. I didn’t know what it was but I said yes. The first class is discounted to $10. I have been lifting heavy weights so I couldn’t see it being hard. But boy was I wrong. There were some arm exercises with minimal weights that killed me.
The main thing about Shift is that you’re on a springy floor. The same kind they use for floor exercises in gymnastics. This I believe is supposed to keep the workout low-impact all the while engaging your core to stabilize yourself. It was fun. Not really my kind of workout but if you want to try something new, do it! It’s located in the Valley in Studio City.
My buddy Theola stretching out before class
Different Breed is a strength and conditioning gym in Culver City. I came here to work out with my nephew, his fiance, and some new friends. It’s very different from the standard box gym that I go to and I loved it. The staff was super friendly. There were loads of things I don’t normally have access to so it was super fun to train here.
Healthy Los Angeles – Where To Eat
After a good workout or hike, you probably don’t want to spoil your healthy streak with some bad food. In Los Angeles, you’re in luck with all of the juice bars and healthy eateries around town. Below are some of my favourite healthy places.
M Cafe de Chaya on Melrose Avenue cross La Brea Avenue is a great place to stop in for a quick bite or grab some take out. They have a glass counter where you can grab vegetarian, vegan, and macrobiotic foods. I don’t remember if they have meat dishes but they do have fish and everything is really healthy.
M Cafe’s Bimbimbap Grilled Tofu Rice Bowl
Fresh Corn Grill
This eatery in West Hollywood is usually where I go when I’m over in that area. My go-to dish is the kale salad with grilled salmon. Yum!
When I was in DC many years ago, I discovered Sweetgreen because it was across my nephew’s apartment. Since I have eaten in their NYC locations and Los Angeles.
A delicious kale salmon salad from Sweetgreen
Another place I enjoy healthy eats is Cafe Gratitude. It’s a vegan restaurant with locations in Venice and in Larchmont (also other locations in California).
Brown rice and curried vegetables
Vegan nachos. Seriously. I may have licked the plate clean!
You may have noticed the poke craze. Of course, LA is obsessed too. In Mid-City Los Angeles, I go to Mainland Poke and over on the West Side I go to Poke Poke in Venice.
Mainland Poke is so good!
Poke Poke in Venice
Other places for healthy eats:
- Tender Greens is a chain with locations all over California. You can grab yummy salads and food.
- Veggie Grill is a vegan “fast food” chain.
- Juice bars: Juice Served Here, Clover, Moon Juice, Kreation, Pressed Juicery
- Health Food Store/Market: Erewhon, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Gelson’s
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Where are your favourite LA places to grab healthy eats or workout?