United States

Los Angeles, CA

The best places to run in Los Angeles: Beaches, Parks, Canyons, Boulevards!

Sun. Beaches. Stars. Canyons. Hills. Those words describe running in Los Angeles. L.A. is the second most populated city in the country and it is geographically huge. Our guide to the best places to run in Los Angeles includes some fabulous places, with some of the most variety of any city anywhere. One can run for 20+ miles along a beachfront path from Santa Monica to Redondo Beach. Griffith Park and Runyon Canyon are great urban parks with hills and awesome views. Closer to downtown and the Hollywood areas, running along the wide sidewalks of famous Wilshire Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, and into Beverly Hills are must-dos. To the north, enjoy the rugged beaches around Malibu and the incredible, but challenging running trails of Topanga canyon and the Santa Monica hills. Downtown might not be a runner’s paradise, but there are options.

Los Angeles is very spread out. Runners planning a trip to L.A. should know the principal ‘areas’ of L.A. We’ve attempted to group the runs by ‘theme’ and ‘geographic area’, in our Los Angeles Running Overview , See the ‘stay’ section for info about clusters of hotels in proximity to those areas. For more running options in the area, see our guides to Orange County, Santa Barbara, and San Diego.

L.A. of course is known for its near-perfect weather: almost always sunny, and rarely too hot or too cold. That might be monotonous for those who live there, but visitors rarely complain. Public transportation options in L.A. are famously limited, although the situation has improved with the recent addition of a light rail/subway between Santa Monica and downtown.

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in Los Angeles, CA

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  • All Routes
  • Iconic Routes
  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

Malibu: Zuma Beach

Los Angeles, CA

A great beach for running in Malibu. It’s about 1.5 miles one way along the Beach Access Road, or on the beach, which has fairly packed sand. Can be combined with jaunts up into the canyon trails.
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Canyons of Malibu

Los Angeles, CA

There is a wealth of running opportunities in the canyons and trails in the Malibu Area. Topanga Canyon State Park, the Encinal Trails, Zuma/Trancas Canyons. Many feature very rugged trails and steep climbs .
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Hollywood: Griffith Park

Los Angeles, CA

The largest municipal park with urban wilderness in the U.S., with 53 miles of trails and fire roads, many good for running. Attractions include the L.A. Zoo, Griffith Observatory, Autry National Center, and the Greek Theatre.
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Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

This won't be the most scenic run ever, but if you're stuck downtown or at a convention with not a lot of time to get somewhere, see our recommendations for the best downtown L.A. running spots.
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Downtown/East L.A.: Elysian Park

Los Angeles, CA

A large urban park in East L.A. There are many options for trails. Short run includes some of the park’s trails, including the ‘summit’, & roads around Dodger Stadium. Longer version starts from City Hall. Note: hilly and poor signage.
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San Vincente Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA

The shady, greenery-lined median of San Vicente Boulevard is a popular running spot near Santa Monica, Westwood, and Brentwood. The wide median park makes it very pleasant and roomy for runners.
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Hollywoodland-BeachWood Drive

Los Angeles, CA

A hilly run on and off Off North Beechwood Dr. where you’ll see some spectacular homes. Use that road as an anchor and meander to the other residential streets in the area. Can add 2.5 miles to the Griffith Park Observatory.
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North L.A.: Lake Balboa

Los Angeles, CA

A large urban park in East L.A. There are many options for trails. Short run includes some of the park’s trails, including the ‘summit’, & roads around Dodger Stadium. Longer version starts from City Hall.
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Palos Verdes Peninsula

Los Angeles, CA

The Palos Verdes Peninsula offers significant opportunities for running. There are some great roads with incredible ocean views, and a huge network of trails, some suitable for running, others more rugged.
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Not many cities in the world have a weather chart that looks like this. Take a glance at it, envy it, and be confident in the fact that you’re almost guaranteed a sunny, warm day for your run in L.A. Note that it can occasionally get very hot, with temps in the 90s. But rarely humid. Also, nights can be cool, due to the dry, desert-like weather, with average lows in the 40s or 50s except June-Sept. Rain can be plentiful in winter, but rare from May through September.Los Angeles W&C

There are hotels in nearly every major section of L.A. Our recommendation is to try to stay in a hotel close to where some of the great runs in L.A. See the maps below

North and West
There are tons of hotels downtown. Best runs near there are: Griffith Park and Runyon Canyon Park.

There are lots of hotels along Wilshire Blvd., which is also a nice run out to the La Brea tar pits and the L.A. County Museum of Art.

There are clusters of hotels in the Hollywood Hills, and the Beverly Hills area.

East L.A.
Best runs are Elysian Park and around Dodger Stadium.

Near the Airport
There is a cluster of hotels just west of the airport. Best runs are directly east, 4–5 miles to Playa Del Rey/Marina Del Rey/Venice Beach. If you need to be near the airport, try to stay east, in the Marina Del Rey area. Santa Monica, also fantastic,is 12 miles northeast of LAX.

Further South
The Manhattan Beach/Redondo Beach areas are 5 miles south, and there are lots of hotels along Rt. 1 (also called N. Sepulveda Blvd). Palos Verdes is a destination run

LA Map LA Map 1

Running Stores

L.A. is a huge city and there are many running stores — both locally owned and small regional chains, and outlets of national chains such as Nike and Road Runner Sports. Grouped by region:

Santa Monica: Road Runner Sports, along the 3rd St. Promenade
Palisades/Topanga: Happy Feet
San Vincente Blvd: FrontRunners
Hollywood: A Runner’s Circle, on LaBrea in Melrose Ave. area
Griffith Park: A Runner’s Circle, in Atwater Village near park and L.A. River
Studio City: Road Runner Sports. Angela was super helpful!
Downtown: Gogi Sports
Manhattan Beach: Village Runner, (special thanks to Jeff) Garret’s Run Shop
Redondo Beach: Village Runner

Running Clubs & Group Runs

Santa Monica: Downtown Santa Monica Run Club meets Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. in front of 1212 Restaurant on the Third Street Promenade near Wilshire Boulevard. Open to all!  Info.

L.A. Running Club. Lots of locations, resources, events.

Malibu Trail Runners Club. Regular group runs, including Sunday mornings 7am

Here’s an article that lists 24 running clubs in the area. Mainly there’s 1–2 for each major geographic area. Look for L.A. Leggers and DTLA (Downtown) Running Club.

Events

Given L.A.’s weather and size, you can probably find dozens of 10ks a weekend in the area. But here are some notable events:

Los Angeles Marathon. From the Stadium to the Sea. Mid-February.

LA Big 5k. Popular race in Elysian Park/Dodger Stadium the day before the LA Marathon.

Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run. Very popular race nearing 40th year. Early December

Redondo 10k Super Bowl Run. Nearly 10,000 runners, Super Bowl Sunday, along the beach, 38th year.

Rock ‘N Roll L.A. L.A. version of the popular series, usually in October.

Topanga Canyon Turkey Trot. Trail race on Thanksgiving Day with several distance options. Part of a series of trail races in the area.