Explore America's Campgrounds
Whatever your definition of fun may be, you will find it in Los Angeles. America’s second-largest city offers an array of activities that should keep even the most demanding visitor satisfied, and as well as the expected attractions of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, Venice Beach, the Getty Museum and Miracle Mile, there are more active pursuits to be found in the city’s many diverse neighborhoods. Los Angeles’ major claims to fame are the movies, TV and fame itself, but fun should surely be added to that list.
From disco roller skating to outdoor gyms, beach volleyball and ocean kayaking, Los Angeles is a haven for outdoor pursuits. Year-round good weather, with only 34 days of rain a year and temperatures reaching the 80s, even in January, make it a favorite for all manner of activities. You can hike, sail, golf or fish, but one of the most fun ways to see L.A. outdoors is to rent a bike and ride the 22-mile oceanside, paved path from Will Rogers State Beach to Torrance County, passing commuting skateboarders and muscle-bound weightlifters along the way.
Forget meditating in isolation to whale music or a couple’s massage at the local spa. Today L.A. offers spa parties for groups of friends who want to combine healthy treatments with the social aspects more normally associated with bars and nightclubs. Groups of up to a hundred have been entertained at the Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey, though much smaller groups are more common. Be Well Incorporated organize many hotel spa parties that involve belly dancing, tai chi and yoga sessions.
Despite its reputation for a relentless beach culture, not everything happens outdoors in L.A. The city has hundreds of gyms, including well over a dozen branches of the 24-Hour Fitness group where you can get a free seven-day pass if you are over 18, and sign up for classes in kick-boxing and Zumba, an exercise program that uses Latin dance rhythms and moves. The Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale, meanwhile, has indoor roller skating for the over-21s on Sunday nights.
Name an exercise trend and the chances are it will have started in L.A. Among the more unusual regimes now offered in the city are Yoga Booty Ballet at Swerve Studio and the high-intensity CrossFit sessions at Santa Monica. CrossFit was used to train actors in the action movie "300" and became the fastest growing fitness trend. Another fun activity is Pole Dancing for Fitness at Crunch, which offers sexy, challenging classes to develop core strength and build the upper body.
Los Angeles can be a drain on the wallet, but fortunately for those seeking health and fitness it offers plenty of fun activities for the budget conscious. Head to Palisades Park for jogging and biking paths with great views; volunteer to help Treepeople plant and care for trees in local parks, streets or school campuses; bike along the quiet Venice Canals between Washington Avenue and Venice Boulevard or find organic food produce on Fairfax Avenue, site of the original Los Angeles Farmer’s Market since 1934.
Based in London, Andrew Copestake has been writing lifestyle articles since 2000. His articles have appeared in “Sunday Times Travel” magazine, “MSN Travel" and on the British Airways website. He has also contributed to “Time Out” guidebooks and “Insight” guides. Copestake holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and film from London Metropolitan University.