Not just the home of Hollywood elite, Los Angeles is one of the fittest cities in the country, if not the world. And if you’re heading out to the City of Angels for the filming of season 12 of American Ninja Warrior, we’re guessing you might want to get out there and explore some of LA’s most iconic spots.
Here, we list some of the top highlights in the area that will have you feeling like a Ninja in no time. (Tip: Make sure you bring water and wear sunscreen.)
Work out on Venice Beach
If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to work out at Muscle Beach in the same spot as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno (the original Incredible Hulk), here is your chance. There is a day fee to exercise at the “Home of Bodybuilding,” but it’s open seven days a week. Muscle Beach Venice has rings, bars, and some machines—perfect for practicing your Ninja skills!
Run the Santa Monica stairs
There will always be locals running up and down the pair of stairs in Santa Monica, so expect some competition for this one. Spanning from Adelaide Drive to Entrada Drive (do not park on Adelaide Drive, as it’s for residents only), the wooden staircase consists of 170 steps and the concrete staircase consists of 199 steps. Take your pick, but beware—they are steep!
Hike to the Hollywood Sign
While there is a great view of the Hollywood sign from the parking lot of the Griffith Observatory, if you’d like to actually hike to the impressive landmark, the Hollyridge Trail is a popular option. This 5-mile out-and-back hike starts at the end of Canyon Drive in Brush Canyon (also known as Bronson Canyon) and heads north on the Brush Canyon Trail. There is very little elevation gain and the trail itself is a wide dirt path, but there aren’t many trees or shade, so this hike is best in the morning or evening.
Spend a Day in the Park
There’s plenty to do if you spend a day in Griffith Park: walk or take a bike ride on the 9-mile loop, visit The Autry Museum of the American West and the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, see the Bronson Caves (where the Bat Cave in the 1960s Batman TV series was filmed), climb up to the nearby Griffith Observatory, or take a ride on the 1926 Spillman merry-go-round. The best part? It’s only 2 miles away from the ANW filming site at the Universal Studios Backlot!
See the Best View in the City
Go for a 2.7-mile hike or run up the Runyon Canyon Loop in West Hollywood and be rewarded with sweeping views of Los Angeles. The southern trailhead is located at the north end of Fuller Avenue and the trail can be rocky and slippery, so make sure you wear trail running shoes or hiking boots. This trail also has little shade, so bring water!
Cruise by the Ocean
Of course, you can go for walk anywhere along the sand, but The Strand is a paved bike path that runs approx. 22 miles along the sand from Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades down to Torrance County Beach. Whether you walk, cycle, or rollerblade, it’s an easy way to see the beach towns and the ocean at the same time. And, if you brought your skateboard, the Venice Skate Park is a fun place to spend a couple of hours!
Climbing skills are super important for Ninjas, and the California climbing scene is huge. There are several climbing gyms in the area, but if you want to get outside, Malibu Creek State Park is about 50 miles north of Los Angeles and has everything from beginner boulder problems to steep rope climbs. Another option is Stoney Point, a sandstone crag in the San Fernando Valley that was originally developed by some of climbing’s greatest names, like Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard, and John Bachar.
Looking for a Ninja gym or competition while in town? Check out this article for more information.