On Foot, in LA, With New Friends: The Big Parade

Head out for two days of urban exploration, tunes, city secrets, and sunshine.

We don't like starting any conversation with tone in our voice, because that isn't polite, but seriously: Is it even worth getting into heated exchanges with non-SoCalers over the idea that people don't walk in Los Angeles?

It's not, because it isn't true. It turns out we have a lovely megalopolis made for walking. Nope, you don't need to walk across it (unless you're Mike Schneider and the Great LA Walk) but you can ramble through its more historic, hilly, atmospheric nooks, as The Big Parade Los Angeles annually does, with flair and aplomb.

And a lot of water and sunscreen, too.

Flair, aplomb, water, and sunscreen are necessary when you walk around the stairways of downtown, around the spankin' new Grand Park, and through Echo Park. That's some of the plan for Day #1 of the two-day walking/exploring event, which falls on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19.

It's free. Of course. There's another misnomer about our city: everything costs, or at least most of the good stuff, whatever that may mean. Nope, not correct. Some of the best things don't, like meeting new people and having an on-foot adventure.

Day #2 of The Big Parade? You'll head trough Silver Lake, Franklin Hills, and up to Griffith Observatory.

There will be surprise things along the way, like musicians playing you along, a potluck, a photo exhibit, and other arty treats. Speaking of treats, pack snacks, because there are no stops for lunch. (Local misnomer number three: We're always fancy-lunching in LA.)

Even if you call downtown or Echo Park or somewhere along Sunset home, we'll bet one well-used sneaker shoelace that you'll see something you've never seen before, a building or a mural or a weird sculpture. You might even exclaim in delight. (Local misnomer number four: We're all jaded here and never exclaim in delight.)

The Big Parade LA is a big undertaking, with a few moving parts, so you'll want to study up on the routes and loops to see where and when you want to jump in during the weekend. You don't need to walk the whole way or the whole day, but best see your ins and outs before making for the area.

Bet you'll also meet people who are into urban exploring, too. Could you and your new pals have your own Little Parade LAs down the road, exploring our giant megalopolis? You should, if only to disprove local misnomer number five: Angelenos aren't interested in anyone outside of themselves.

The Big Parade LA is living, walking, occasionally sweating, water-chugging proof that that is deeply incorrect. Go show 'em a true slice of LA, urban adventurers.

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