By Jessica Dollin
Los Angeles pretty much only has one season, and that’s summer. It’s a concrete jungle out there, but from the beach to the mountains, in no other place does nature mesh so well with the city. Not even June gloom can stop Angelenos from enjoying the great outdoors from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Check out all the city of angels has to offer this summer.
Paddle Board in Marina del Rey
Los Angeles is a coastal city, which means it also has access to the bay. The marinas offer a calm place to try stand up paddle boarding without dealing with the ocean current. Once you’re feeling more adventurous, head out to Malibu and experience paddle boarding on the waves.
Take a Hike
Much to the dismay of Instagrammers, the infamous Runyon Canyon is closed for repairs this summer. Fortunately, Los Angeles is home to a number of other scenic and challenging trails like the five mile Paseo Miramar in the Palisades and the highest peak in the city, the 11-mile Mt. Baldy.
Run Around Silver Lake reservoir
Despite its name, the closest thing Silver Lake has to a body of water–the Silver Lake reservoir–is now a drained basin. Fear not, the reservoir still boasts a 2 mile running path that comes with some of the best people (and dog) watching in the city.
Angelinos can’t get enough of farmer’s markets, which is probably why nearly every neighborhood from Atwater Village to Santa Monica has its own version. Farmer’s markets usually start early in the morning and end around 2 p.m. leaving ample time for sampling and stocking up on fresh, local finds. Weekends are big days for farmer’s markets, but they take place Monday through Friday throughout the city.
Watch a Movie at Cinespia
The infamous Hollywood Forever cemetery transforms into an outdoor movie theater during the summer months when Cinespia projects films onto the mausoleum. This summer’s roster, which includes classics like Singin’ in the Rain and Goodfellas, is available online–so buy tickets in advance because they sell out quickly.
Drive along PCH to El Matador Beach
If there’s one thing the people of Los Angeles have in common, it’s their love of driving and disdain for traffic. When the city’s streets aren’t congested, spending an hour or two in the car is an enjoyable activity. Turn up the music, roll down the windows, and cruise along the Pacific Coast Highway while enjoying breathtaking views.
Bike along the boardwalk
Fortunately for cyclists, the boardwalks in Los Angeles are concrete making them ideal for a smooth bike ride. Bikes are available at most oceanfront hotels and from independent retailers. If you really want to blend in, consider hopping on a Hulu bike from one of the 79 stations dotted across Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
Fish on a Pier
Piers in the beach cities are ripe for an urban brand of fishing, one that includes live music, surfers, and a lively audience. A far cry from deep sea and fly fishing, pier fishing is a 24-hour a day cultural experience. Anglers have been known to catch Pacific mackerel, halibut and white croaker, to name a few.
Pedal Boat in Echo Park
Unlike its neighbor Silver Lake, Echo Park actually has a lake, aptly named Echo Park Lake. For $10, outdoorsmen and women alike can rent a two-person pedal pedal boat for one hour and enjoy a treat from Square One Boathouse or a fruit peddler.
Tour the Huntington
The grounds at Huntington in Pasadena have almost every category of garden imaginable including a sculpture garden, cactus garden, a rose garden, a lily pond, and a jungle. If you need an outdoor reprieve, head inside to the library or tour Huntington’s expansive art collection. Information about the gardens can be found on its website.
Picnic in the Park
Summer temps in LA are tolerable compared to most cities, which is why it’s the ideal place to picnic. Some of the best places to dine al fresco are parks like Will Rogers in the Palisades, Grand Park downtown, and Griffith Park Observatory.
Attend Santa Monica Summer Twilight Series
If you can’t get enough of the pier, check out one of the beach side concerts on the Santa Monica pier Thursday evenings from July 7th through September 8th. The lineup hasn’t been released yet, but past acts include Haim, Jefferson Starship, and Cults. The free is known to draw thousands of visitors who campout on the beach.
Listen to Jazz at LACMA
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art hosts nine evening jazz performances throughout May to November in its iconic grand entrance. Listeners can enjoy some of the permanent outdoor exhibitions as the sun goes down. The Friday night event is free and open to the public.
Shop at the Flea Market
Every other Sunday morning the City of Long Beach and Pasadena alternate hosting two of the most bountiful flea markets in the country. Die hard pickers line up at 6 a.m. to load up on antiques, and everything in between. Entrance tickets are $5, rain or shine.
Go Fruit Picking
The summertime is ripe for fruit picking, especially when cherries, strawberries, and stone fruit are on the menu. Treck out to Leona Valley, about an hour outside of LA, to enjoy cherries straight off the vine. Villa Del Sol Sweet Cherry Farms, U-Pick Cherry House, and Big John’s Cherries all offer u-pick options.