It's very likely written in some city charter, a piece of paper that may exist deep in archives of City Hall, that whenever two Angelenos park their car and cover a few blocks on foot one person must turn to the other, half-amazed and exclaim "the city secrets you do miss when you only ever stare through the windshield!"
Because just about every denizen of Southern California has enacted some variation on this scenario. It's not shocking, given our auto-devoted city, but what is a little surprising is how many SoCalers have gone out there, in recent years, and put sole-to-pavement while exploring Los Angeles.
Michael Schneider, of the venerable and vivacious Franklin Avenue blog, is a pioneer here. Not only has he been an advocate of getting to know our megalopolis from its plentiful, not-too-crowded sidewalks, but he launched The Great Los Angeles Walk nine years back.
What to do, where to go and what to see
The upshot of the event? Invite all urban explorers to cover one street, or mostly one street, over the course of a day. That day? The Saturday before Thanksgiving. The cost to join? Free. The sweet and interesting tidbits discovered, in terms of shops, murals, street signs, parks, and general LA affluvia? Countless.
The 2014 Great Los Angeles Walk takes to the Valley via Ventura Boulevard on Saturday, Nov. 22. The route is 17.1 miles -- for sure, we weren't pulling legs with the "over the course of a day part." But it is a leisurely day, not too hurried.
Mr. Schneider calls it a "casual pace."
Meet place? Warner Center Park on Topanga Canyon Boulevard. End spot? The Art Institute of California-Hollywood in North Hollywood. Spots to keep a keen 'n curious eye out for along the way? Several are listed, from architectural wonders like Casa de Cadillac to a host of Valley-classic restaurants.
Oh yeah. Ventura Boulevard and stand-out eateries are a totally tight twosome, so do bring the bucks to grab some lunch along the way.
Time on the 22nd is 9 a.m. Sneakers, an appetite for quirky streetscape details, and an affinity with making chitchat with co-explorers are all recommended (though, really, only easy-to-walk-in shoes are compulsory).
May other local adventurers with an appetite for breaking our vast city into knowable bite-size pieces continue to step forward to helm more from-the-sidewalk strolls. Joining Mr. Schneider and a host of his friends, some known to him, some not, on the Great LA Walk is a great start.