Grand Central Circuit

Urban Hike With Art and Food Highlights in Los Angeles

Urban art and food hike in Los Angeles

If ever there was a time to take up meditation, it’s 2020. At the very least, try a few deep breaths under a beautiful fig tree next to a Buddhist Temple as part of this 2.5-mile city walk that transcends the urban jungle of downtown LA. 

Gallery image 1 of 4
Gallery image 2 of 4
Gallery image 3 of 4
Gallery image 4 of 4

Park near the Little Tokyo Village Plaza (street parking or paid lot available). 1st Street is home to many Japanese eateries and boutique shops too (Daikokuya for ramen or Fugetsu-do for mochi). Walk to the north end of the Japanese American National Museum. You’ll pass the Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple and National Center for the Preservation of Democracy before reaching the Aoyama Tree, a 60 feet by 70 feet massive Moreton Bay fig. 

Gallery image 1 of 2
Gallery image 2 of 2

The tree now sits next to a beautiful mural, the Geffen at MOCA, and a humbling WWII Memorial for Japanese-American soldiers. It was first planted in 1920 at the former site of Koyasan Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the city. 

MOCA Los Angeles

After finding your zen, head northwest on 1st street for 4 blocks, reaching LA City Hall. Here, at Circle Park, find more Moreton Bay figs to marvel at. Continue to Hill Street and turn right to reach Grand Park, a 12-acre park that features drought-tolerant plants, an interpretive tree walk, a fountain, and a court of flags. Next, walk south on Hill Street for 3 blocks to 3rd Street.

Angels Flight funicular railway in Los Angeles

Angels Flight is a historic funicular railway that’s been operating since 1901. It’s a short $1 trip to hop on it and make a detour, and you should: The views at the top of this Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument are amazing. After returning down, walk across the street to Grand Central Market’s food arcade, operating since 1917! Arrive hungry! There’s something for everyone here, including established eateries like Donut Man and Golden Road Brewery, and everything from pasta to pupusas to PB&J.

Grand Central Market Los Angeles

Afterward, walk it off southeast on 3rd Street, passing the famous Bradbury Building, the city’s oldest designated landmark building. When you reach San Pedro Street, take a quick detour to a local craft watering hole, Mumford Brewing, and check out some colorful murals (opt for the very appropriate Graffiti Boards IPA, especially if you’re a hophead). 

Gallery image 1 of 3
Gallery image 2 of 3
Gallery image 3 of 3

Head north on San Pedro Street and stop at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center Plaza to see another famous tree—Sunny the Grapefruit Tree (read about both trees on this hike in a new Sustainable Little Tokyo Art Initiative, including the Little Tokyo Regional Forest). Turn right at 2nd Street and then left at Little Tokyo Village Plaza to end your adventure. 

To get to the Aoyama Tree and Little Tokyo Village Plaza, take the US-101 to the Los Angeles St. exit and head south. After two blocks, you reach 1st St. Find street parking or turn left and enter the pay-to-park lot on your immediate right. Dog-friendly (except for Grand Central Market and Angels Flight)!

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Trebek Open Space

    While most hikers head over to adjacent Runyon Canyon, instead do the 2-mile hike at Trebek Open Space and pay your respects to the legendary Jeopardy host and philanthropist, Alex Trebek.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Rock the Hope at Lake Elsinore

    Hike the 4-mile Levee Trail on the shores of Southern California's largest natural freshwater lake, Lake Elsinore, and get a splash of positive energy thanks to the Rock Snake started earlier this year.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Weekend Sherpa Podcast: Take it Outside

    Amid a new year that's already had challenges, Brad and Holly discuss the realities of what's happening in the country. And (!) some of the best new hiking trails locally in the Bay Area and SoCal.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    A Very Reno Winter

    You’ve never had a winter vacation like Reno Tahoe! The Biggest Little City in the World is also one of the best winter basecamps. The Truckee River flows right through its lively Riverwalk District.

    View

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Tamtastical Hike

    This 6.8-mile loop through the woods and ridges that make up the northern foothills of Tam offer the best of both worlds: solitude and grandeur. Enjoy quiet trails, tranquil forest, and big views.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Hawk-Eyed Sunset

    It's one of the best sunset spots in the Bay Area. And Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands is quieter than usual this year because of few tourists. Enjoy a sweeping panorama 923 feet above the Pacific.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Thank You to Our 2020 Team

    Thank you to our wonderful 2020 team for bringing the great outdoors home in a most challenging year. Meet our contributors and get ideas from their personal favorite CA adventures this year.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    2021 Hiking Calendar!

    Ready to kick off 2021? (Like we have to ask.) Literally kick it off, with a hike! Download the 2021 POST Hiking Calendar (complimentary)—with recommended trails for every month of the year.

    View