I'm a big advocate of urban exploration – walking around and exploring new neighborhoods. It's the perfect green activity for the weekend. You get exercise, cut down your carbon footprint, and get to know your neighborhood.
As a recent transplant to LA, I came with reservations of my ability to explore without a car. Coming from the east coast and living in cities with widespread access to public transportation, I was pretty spoiled. However, to my surprise, LA can be a very pedestrian friendly city. And with the weather perfect year 'round, it's easy to plan a day to do it. Some of my favorite walking neighborhoods include West Hollywood, Silverlake, Beverly Hills, Downtown and Hollywood. All you need to do is check a bus or metro route and get on your way.
In general, here are some tips for planning a good walk:
· Bring water. Use a reusable bottle (duh).
· Wear comfortable shoes. I can't stress this enough. I once did a walk around Paris in loafers. I was hobbling like Quasimodo by the end of it.
· Aimlessly wander, but bring a map. Serendipity is fun, just be aware of your surroundings.
· Enjoy an urban oasis. Try to integrate some urban green spaces in your itinerary.
· Bring a camera. You never know what you're going to see.
I've found two websites that can plan a good walk:
Google Maps. They've recently introduced a function that gives you directions on how to get somewhere on foot.
Walkscore (http://www.walkscore.com/rankings/Los_Angeles). This website has a Google maps mashup that rates how walkable a neighborhood is and provides points of interest in the surrounding area.
For the really ambitious, here's the itinerary if you decided to walk from LA to New York.
At a rate of 3 miles an hour, 24 hours a day (apparently, it doesn't understand the concept of sleep), Google estimates that it would take about 38 days and 3 hours to walk the 2,800 miles. Good luck keeping up the pace through the Rockies.