Centuries from now, when Los Angeles is full of glowing skyscrapers and floating trains and Griffith Observatory is serving as some sort of mega heliport for alien crafts, people from elsewhere will still make faces and sigh and say "but LA is so tied to its cars."
It seems to be a reputation that is to be ours forever, but happy headway is being made here and there. The latest front in the "we're not our cars" battle? The Car-Free LA launch from Discover Los Angeles, our city's tourism arm.
What's Car-Free LA? It's a series of tours that involve top sights -- think the Chinese Theater to Santa Monica Pier -- and all the ways to see them without wheels. Okay, maybe two wheels: Bike rental is a part of some of the self-guided tours, but walking and Metro trips are vital components, too.
This makes the Car-Free LA tours practically free, or nearly. You just need to pay for your Metro trips, and anything you do along the way (bars and restaurants are on some of the tours).
Some of the tours are guided, just to introduce locals and visitors to what Car-Free LA is; a Sunday, May 19 one covered the music nightlife scene, with a stop at Amoeba Records and cocktails at the Andaz.
But you can certainly go on your own, if you have a free Saturday afternoon and some pals eager to do some urban exploration. The self-guided tours, with clear directions on where to go and what to do to get from Point A to Point B, in The Beach Cities, WeHo & Museum Row, Multicultural LA, and Discover Downtown.
The Discover Downtown tour has three stops and four optional stops, so you can build out your day as much as you like.
So, are we destined to always be known as a car-loving metropolis? Or will someday, far in the future, people talk about LA's ever-improving walkability? We confidently vote the latter.