Photo by Cynthia Graner via Travel for Life Now
While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends practicing social distancing right now, staying at home in isolation for prolonged periods of time could lead to feelings of loneliness that take a toll on your mental and physical health.
Los Angeles has the benefit of great weather year-round. If you’re feeling well, consider taking a quick break outdoors and go for a walk or run to help cope with the stress that accompanies this time of uncertainty, as long as you’re maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others.
These unique outdoor destinations in Los Angeles are easily accessible by car for a quick stroll and a moment of peace and quiet in solitude. Best of all, they’re free.
Experience the canals of Europe in LA. These gorgeous waterways near Venice Beach first opened in 1905 and were developed by Abbott Kinney after he was inspired by the canals in Venice, Italy. Today, they feature adorable ducks swimming towards their own dedicated duck park (complete with “No Humans” signs), quirky home architecture (keep an eye out for all the flamingos), and charming footbridges connecting the six canals. Visiting during sunset hours to witness beautiful cotton candy-colored skies peppered with palm trees reflecting off the water.
Take a hike! Located in the Santa Monica Mountains, this 2.6 mile round trip hiking trail is calm and never heavily trafficked, making it a great place to explore nature while easily practicing social distancing. As you hike to the top, you’ll pass by stunning ocean views and lush plant life, which is rare for the arid LA landscape. There are moderate inclines along the path, so be sure to bring water and take breaks. There is usually plenty of parking on the road leading up to the trail entrance.
Visit an outdoor museum. The Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles was once an industrial neighborhood that is now teeming with colorful street art around each corner. You can start at Angels City Brewery, where artists have been showcasing their artwork on the walls of the building for over a decade, with the most notable mural called “The Wrinkles of The City” painted by the famous French artist, JR. Check out this walking tour for a complete list of murals to see and be sure to visit again when the indoor art galleries, independent shops, and restaurants reopen.
Meditate at a peaceful oasis surrounded by the city while still practicing social distancing. Take a moment to bask in the serene gardens found at Lake Shrine, a meditation retreat found up a winding road in the Pacific Palisades tucked between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Peaceful paths wind around fountains and shrines surrounding the lake, with plenty of benches in the garden to take a meditation break along the way.
During stressful moments, it’s more important than ever to take a moment and practice mindfulness in order to maintain mental and emotional clarity. In a city that is normally bustling with traffic and crowds, Lake Shrine is the sanctuary we all needed. Group silent meditation sessions are canceled for the time being, but the gardens are open to visitors until further notice.
Get your daily workout in. Now that gyms in LA are mandated to temporarily close, Angelinos need to find other ways to exercise and stay healthy. The Culver City Stairs is one of the city’s hidden outdoor gems, featuring an intense climb up the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook that leads to a gorgeous panoramic view of Los Angeles.
On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Hollywood hills. Feel the burn in your legs and your heart rate increase as you scale more than 200 uneven stairs to reach the top. Once you’ve cooled down, take the side path down and learn about the native wildlife and plants from informational placards found along the way.
Social distancing is not the same as self quarantining. Going outside once a day is encouraged and can play an important part in improving your mood and wellbeing, as long as you’re keeping your distance from others. Exploring the city responsibly could help you get through prolonged periods of alone time indoors.