Venice Beach: Old World Italy Meets Funky SoCal Beach Culture

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Los Angeles has gotten a bad rap.

Sure, it's sprawling, traffic-choked, and smoggy. Its public transportation system leaves a lot to be desired, and the old adage that it takes 20 minutes to drive anywhere in the city is woefully misleading.

But it is a great place to walk. Really, it is—don't be deterred by the maze of freeways and pervasive car culture. Sure, you won't be able to traverse the greater metro area in a day, or even in a weekend, but take it in smaller doses and you'll be rewarded with a deeper understanding of this city's unique blend of culture, architecture, and topography. Encompassing a total area of 400 square miles, the greater Los Angeles area encapsulates idyllic hills and canyons, sunny coastline, peaceful residential neighborhoods, and gritty urban zones, all within fairly close proximity to each other. Property values, while universally inflated, fluctuate wildly according to geographic location, and you'll find striking juxtapositions between ethnic cultures and economic classes throughout the region.

The purpose of this book is to prove that walking in LA can be an immensely rewarding experience, opening your eyes to hidden pockets of the city that you never knew existed. These walks reflect the many faces of Los Angeles, and I hope that the discoveries you'll make as you explore the vibrant neighborhoods dotting the hills, valleys, and flatlands of this fascinating city will encourage you to dust off your sneakers and leave the car in the garage at every opportunity.

Published: 17 Jan 2008 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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