If you only have time for a quickie…
UCLA Perimeter Run
Although the 4-mile loop around UCLA’s campus won’t take you very long to complete, the steep hills on Sunset Blvd. and Hilgard Ave. make it a quick but effective workout! This Los Angeles trail takes you through the outskirts of Bel Air and Beverly Hills, before leading you through the heart of Westwood. The trail is easy to follow – UCLA’s campus will always be in sight – and blue and gold paw prints on the sidewalk mark half-mile points.
Rose Bowl Loop
Head to the iconic Rose Bowl for a nice, short run. Approximately three miles long, the trail around the stadium is well kept, and there is plenty of street parking nearby. If the roads around the Rose Bowl don’t interest you, head south for paths that are more serene and nature-filled, or gain some elevation running north past the Brookside golf course.
Manhattan Beach Trail
Neighborhood: Manhattan Beach
This 3.75-mile trail between Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach (referred to as Verteran’s Parway or Hermosa Valley Greenbelt) is a great destination to squeeze in a quick run. The path is lined with greenery and covered in woodchips, making it pleasantly shady and easy on the knees. Half-mile markers along the way help you track your run and keep you motivated.
If you are in the mood for something scenic…
Runyon Canyon Park
Located in the Hollywood Hills, Runyon is known for being a celebrity-sighting hotspot and a dog-walking heaven. It’s also an excellent running destination, with spectacular views stretching from the Santa Monica Bay, the Westside, Downtown, and Hollywood.
Neighborhood: East LA
If you’re an Eastsider, Elysian Park is a great place to get your running fix. Located next to the Dodger’s Stadium, you’ll find hilly paths as well as some cool sites like the Marion Harlow Garden. If you’re looking to extend your run, head to the LA River Bike Bath entrance (watch out for cyclists!).
Santa Monica Conservancy
Neighborhood: Santa Monica
Little-known fact: This is the largest park within a city’s limits in the entire country. With a beautiful view of the cityscape, it provides a healthy dose of nature that’s hard to find anywhere else on the Westside!
If you’re running with a friend or love interest…
California Coastal Trail: Santa Monica Beach to Venice Beach
Scenic and beautiful, running along this beach pedestrian path is one of my all-time favorite workouts. Start at Venice and head along the beach (or up above on the winding sidewalk along Ocean Avenue) and end your day at the Santa Monica Pier or the Third Street Promenade. Big potential for a two-for-one workout/date. (Romantic sunset on the beach anyone?).
(Bonus! If you’re looking for a butt-kicking stairs workout, swing by the Santa Monica Stairs, located at 4th and Adelaide. Plan to get there early to beat the crowd).
San Vicente Boulevard
Neighborhood: West LA
This shady, greenery-lined median of San Vicente Boulevard is a running hot spot for locals from nearby Santa Monica, Westwood, and Brentwood. Stretching from Ocean Avenue to Gosen Avenue for an 8-mile loop, the wide median makes it an excellent path for groups of side-by-side runners. The median connects easily to the dirt trails of Santa Monica Beach and beyond.
If you are training for a marathon…
Griffith Park Observatory
Neighborhood: Griffith Park/Los Feliz
With fifty-three miles of dirt trails, Griffith Park is ideal for long-distance runners looking to escape the monotony of endless loops. Not to mention the challenging inclines are great for building strength and aerobic capability.
Malibu Creek State Park
These trails include shady paths as well as rigorous, rocky ascents climbing to more than 1,000 feet.
If you like running in circles (literally)…
UCLA Drake Track Stadium
If you prefer synthetic terrain to rugged trails, head to UCLA’s nine-lane, 400-meter track, where you may have the chance to run alongside elite college athletes. To ramp up the intensity, mix in sets of sprints or tackle the endless stadium stairs.
Brentwood Country Club
Quiet and leisurely, the 2.7 mile path bordering the posh golf course is a popular route for Brentwood locals. Plenty of street parking is available!