A person drinks coffee while walking along the L.A. River.
(Patrick Hruby / Los Angeles Times)

Grab a little treat, take a little walk. 14 places in L.A. to take a ‘treat walk’

It’s not news that taking daily walks can do wonders for your mental and physical health, and people are constantly coming up with new ways to make walking feel fresh and fun: you can take a hot girl walk, join a walking club or embark on an extremely long urban walk.

But we’d like to pitch you another idea: try taking a treat walk.

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It can be hard to create new routines, but treating yourself to a nice cup of coffee, tea or juice can serve as great motivation to keep a walking habit on track. While it might feel counterintuitive to drive to a different neighborhood for a walk, see it as an opportunity to explore a section of the city you might not normally travel to.

These strolls will introduce you to charming neighborhood cafes and stunning scenery that‘s even easier to savor with a warm cup of cocoa in hand. You can venture out solo as a meditative ritual (or as a way to catch up on weekly podcasts) or recruit a pal and make it a friend date.

So grab a treat and let’s get walking.

Showing  Places
A coffee from Manana coffee at Venice Canals.
(James Kei / Los Angeles Times)

Mañana Coffee + Venice Canals

Venice Coffee Breakfast $
With cans of surfboard wax and potted cactuses lining the shelves, Mañana Coffee is a sunny spot for a morning coffee or a day of remote work in Venice. But if you’re in the mood to wander, you’ll find a host of worthy walks close to this surf-themed coffee shop on Main Street. First, get a chaga latte, chicory-infused cold brew, avocado toast or breakfast burrito for the road. Next, you’ll have to choose between Westminster Dog Park where you can get your fill of emotional support from the neighborhood pups or heading to the Venice Boardwalk to check out the skate park, pickleball courts and Muscle Beach. Just make sure you end up at the Venice Canals, a verdant micro-neighborhood where bridges and narrow sidewalks line shallow, man-made canals.
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The Honey Lavender Lemonade by Blume and Plume in Echo Park.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)

Bloom & Plume Coffee + Echo Park Lake

Westside Coffee Breakfast $
The five-minute walk from Maurice Harris’ vibrant coffee shop to Echo Park Lake is a lesson in the contrasting landscapes of L.A. You’ll walk by public tennis and basketball courts and under a freeway overpass before you’re faced with the grassy hills and towering palms that border the lake where locals pedal swan-shaped boats and shy lotus flowers peek between lily pads. Take your time walking the one-mile loop or you might miss the tiny turtles that waddle up to the shore and families of ducks that glide across the water. In addition to fun, caffeinated concoctions like the Cardi P latte with cardamom and ground pistachio, Bloom + Plume has fresh pastries, a couple sandwich options and stylish merch to outfit you for your stroll around the hipster haven. If you’re still hungry, consider the Boathouse Bistro with seating along the water, one of the parked food trucks or the paleteros whose carts chime near the playground.
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LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - JULY 12, 2023. A girl takes pictures of roses in bloom at Exposition Park in Los Angeles. Southern California weather is expected to get hotter in coming days as the region experiences the first significant heatwave of the summer. . (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Oaxacalifornia + Exposition Park Rose Garden

Historic South-Central Oaxacan $
Tucked inside the colorful and delicious Mercado La Paloma, Oaxacalifornia is more of a juice bar than a coffee shop, but you can still get a delicious café de olla there. Once you pick up an agua fresca, horchata latte, or smoothie, you can exit the market on Grand Avenue and hook a right onto 37th Street, which is a straight shot to the Exposition Park Rose Garden.

The beginning of the walk isn’t particularly pretty — it leads under the 110 overpass — but once you make it to Exposition Park, it’ll all be worth it. I like to meander through the garden’s different rose bushes, but if you’re trying to walk when the garden is closed (through March 15), you can do laps around it to get a pretty good view of all the greenery. If you walk around the greater 160-acre Exposition Park, you’ll be able to spot several giant aircraft, the lovely array of museums (you can even walk through the California Science Center, since it’s free) and two arenas.
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A Rose Bowl Latte coffee from Coffee and Plants at Memorial Park.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)

Coffee and Plants + Central Park or Pasadena Memorial Park

Pasadena Coffee Vegan $
Pasadena is so picturesque, there are two equally worthy parks almost equidistant from the Old Town location of this sustainably minded vegan cafe that’s partially owned by singer-songwriter Leona Lewis. South of Coffee and Plants, Central Park boasts more than nine acres with walking paths, picnic benches, a rose garden, a playground and bowling greens for the local lawn-bowling club. In the opposite direction, Pasadena Memorial Park is home to Levitt Pavilion, the “Defenders of the Union” landmark, a playground and walking paths, and is adjacent to the Gold Line rail station for easy public transport. But before you rock-paper-scissors your destination, grab a 24K Charcoal Latte, avocado tartine or slice of blueberry crumble pie for the adventure ahead.
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A photo of Cafe Ruisseau-Central Park.
(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Cafe Ruisseau + Playa Vista’s Central Park

Playa Vista Coffee $
A Black-owned business with coffee beans named Miseducation, Mamba, Love Jones, Black Star and Illmatic, Cafe Ruisseau is beloved for serving playful drinks at several shops around L.A. The Playa Vista location is in a somewhat tricky spot to find, tucked between a parking lot and a few office buildings near one of Loyola Marymount University’s campuses, but it’s just past Tocaya on your right if you enter the complex from Campus Center Drive. Rose matcha, toasted marshmallow chai, Vietnamese cold brew and plenty of fun seasonal drinks are served from a small coffee counter, where you can also grab a croissant or cookie.

From there, exit the complex and follow Waterfront Drive to Central Park, which has basketball and volleyball courts, a soccer field and one of the nicest playgrounds that I’ve seen in L.A. There are beautiful fountains on one side and lots of green space and benches on the other, so it’s easy to take a lap without seeing the same thing twice. (Pro tip: most of the parking near Cafe Ruisseau has a 20-minute limit, so if you’re driving over it’s easiest to park in one of the four-hour spots near Central Park and head to the cafe from there.)
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The Matcha Latte from Hard Coffee at Leimert Park Plaza.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)

Harun Coffee + Leimert Park Plaza

Leimert Park Coffee $
With large windows overlooking Degnan Boulevard and decor that celebrates the surrounding neighborhood, Harun Coffee is an ideal setting for a day of remote work. Or you can pick up a bag of locally roasted beans, a Harun-branded bucket hat or a stylish sweatsuit to take home. Make sure to linger in Leimert Park for a bit: the pedestrian-friendly block also houses Neighbors skate shop, Art + Practice gallery (with free admission) and the recently opened Ora cafe. And All Chill ice cream shop is just around the corner. If it’s a weekend, you’ll probably spy vendors selling everything from Jamaican patties to plants, and a weekly drum circle takes place on Sunday afternoons. Just a short walk away, you’ll also find Leimert Park Plaza, with a central fountain, a short walking path loop and street-side murals that celebrate achievements throughout Black history.
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Coffee from Sweet Corner Coffee.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)

Sweet Corner Coffee and Cakes + Hollywood Forever

Larchmont Coffee Bakery $$
Clocking in just under a mile, this is the longest walk on this list and I’ll be honest, the path from charming Sweet Corner Coffee and Cakes to Hollywood Forever cemetery is not exactly picturesque. You’ll pass Paramount Studios if you take Melrose to Gower, while the route from Wilton to Santa Monica takes you down two highly trafficked streets. The good news is Sweet Corner Coffee has everything to prepare you for the road ahead, including the makings of a cemetery picnic. There are fruit tarts, whole cakes and cakes by the slice and a host of fresh-baked pastries, as well as coffee drinks courtesy of La Colombe.

I recommend visiting the cemetery during the week or early on the weekend when you’re less likely to face crowds. Be respectful and give plenty of space to people who are there attending a service. There’s a floral shop near the entrance off Santa Monica if you’re interested in leaving flowers for notable figures like Judy Garland, Dee Dee Ramone and the Times’ longtime restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, who are buried on the grounds. The cemetery itself is beautiful, with century-old gravestones, drooping willow trees, marble mausoleums, rolling hills and a pond with swans and geese. You’ll also see kittens lazing in the grass and peacocks strutting around.
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The snake dog, a beef hot dog wrapped in a flaky croissant crust, is one of the only non-vegetarian options at The Trails, a coffee, pastry and sandwich shop in Griffith Park.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)

The Trails Cafe + Griffith Park

Hollywood Hills Coffee Breakfast/Lunch $
Nestled at the base of Griffith Park is this rustic coffee shop that borders a playground and maze of hiking trails. For me, it’s more satisfying to treat myself to a chai latte and a Snake Dog (beef hot dog wrapped in a flaky pastry) after a hike. There are a handful of benches for catching your breath and the menu also includes coffee, tea and lemonade, plus frittatas, quiche, pastries and veggie sandwiches. If a hike feels too strenuous, try Fern Dell, a shady walking path with ferns, tropical plants, flowers and a babbling brook.
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A photograph of Destroyer Sid Kronenthal Park.
(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Destroyer + Syd Kronenthal Park

Culver City Café $$
Destroyer is one of those places in L.A. that kind of feels like a “Portlandia” sketch: the space is absurdly minimalist, the staff is intimidating and the dishes were created by a Michelin-star chef.

If you show up on the weekend, there will usually be a long line of people waiting to order a slab of French toast or a loaded avocado confit for about $20 a pop, but on most weekdays you can waltz right in to grab a drink and a pastry. Destroyer’s beverages tend to skew earthy, ranging from espresso to teas and tonics, and once you grab something to drink you can walk down Steller Drive toward Eastham Drive, where you’ll turn left, walk one more block, and cross National Boulevard to enter Syd Kronenthal Park. There, you’ll have to make a choice: go right, and a ramp will lead you down to the Ballona Creek Bike Path, or go left, and enter the park. I like to do a lap around the park and see what’s happening on the various basketball, tennis and pickleball courts, and there’s just enough green space that you can aimlessly wander.
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Rose Lemonade from The Corner Store at Point Fermin.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)

The Corner Store + Point Fermin Park

San Pedro Breakfast/Lunch Grocer $
Tucked off a quiet street just a couple blocks from the dramatic cliff sides of San Pedro, the Corner Store is so much more than its name. Yes, you can stop by for a coffee or to stock up on bottles of wine or snacks, but you’ll also find hundreds of specialty sodas on display and in the freezers, with fun, hard-to-find flavors like prickly pear, guarana and fire-brewed grape. The food menu is just as robust with pastries, a breakfast burrito, bagels, burgers on fresh-baked ciabatta bread, subs, soups, salads and a few vegan options.

You’re free to enjoy your selections in the cozy interior with worn-in couches or on the covered patio, but the pro move is to take a small picnic to Point Fermin Park for a spectacular view of the seaside, with nearby landmarks such as the Korean Bell of Friendship and the Victorian-style Point Fermin lighthouse. There’s also a path that takes you directly to the shore, but be mindful that this part of the coast is pretty rocky with a high tide.
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LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 13: A child walks in Elysian Park on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. More unseasonably warm weather is on tap for California this week, with officials warning that a combination of high temperatures and gusty winds will heighten fire danger throughout much of the state. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Valerie Echo Park + Elysian Park

Echo Park Bakery $$
Though Valerie Confections is best known for churning out toffees and chocolates, Valerie Echo Park is a sweet local cafe that’s been serving coffee, sandwiches and sweet treats for more than a decade. Perched on the corner of Lucretia and Echo Park Avenue, Valerie is a perfect spot to grab a salted maple latte or a hibiscus tea with lemonade before embarking on a walk. (The cafe also has a pastry case and plenty of breakfast and lunch options — including seasonal quiches and a smoked salmon banh mi — if you’re a bit peckish.)

Leaving Valerie, walk south on Echo Park Ave and turn left on Scott Avenue to head toward Elysian Park. Follow along the left side of Scott Avenue until the sidewalk merges with a dirt path near the entrance of the park, and turn left onto the small hiking path (it’s unmarked on Apple maps, but labeled on Google maps as Elysian Park Trail). Right near the entrance there’s a fork: the path to the left leads up the edge of the park, and converges with the path to the right, making a loop that’s about half a mile long. If you start your walk on the left path, you’ll get a nice view of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Church on your way back to Scott Avenue. This walk is closer to a genuine hike, since you’d embark on a dirt path that follows some steeper inclines, but I was still able to do it in a pair of jeans with an iced beverage in my hand.
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LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 01: A bougainvillea bloom provides a splash of color on a warm summer day for a jogger at the Silver Lake Reservoir on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Silverlake Coffee + Silver Lake Reservoir

Silver Lake Coffeehouse $
Silverlake Coffee is one of those local spots that’s always comforting: The staff is friendly, the coffee is strong, and finding a place to park nearby is never too difficult. The food menu is hearty and cheap — most sandwiches, wraps and salads cost less than $15 — and drinks range from classic coffee options to smoothies and a few unexpectedly nice combos, like the iced cranberry chai.

Once you get a drink or a bite to eat, head right on Glendale Boulevard and turn left on Silver Lake Boulevard, then follow Silver Lake until you see the crosswalk that leads to the entrance to the Silver Lake Meadows. From the meadows you can meander down a few small paths or follow the perimeter of the reservoir to take in the lovely hillside views. On the way back to your car, follow the same route back and get a glimpse of the incredibly cool modernist home of Richard Neutra, which the architect designed nearly a century ago.
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Los Angeles, CA - February 15: A view downtown skyline on a cloudy morning from Los Angeles State Historic Park on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Steep LA + Los Angeles State Historic Park

Chinatown Teahouse $$
For die-hard tea drinkers, it’s a real treat to start a walk at Steep LA. Nestled inside a lovely yellow building in the heart of Chinatown, Steep has an assortment of teas from China and Taiwan. Though some are only served in tea ceremonies, they have black, green, oolong, pu-erh and jumi herbal tea available for customers to order by the cup.

Once you grab a cup of tea, head down Broadway until you see an alleyway on your left that cuts through the block and leads to the Chinatown Metro station (you can also walk a bit farther and take a left on College Street, but where’s the fun in that?). From there, descend the staircase and head up Spring Street to the south entrance of Los Angeles State Historic Park. Though I enjoy walking in many parks in L.A., I have to say that this one is perfect for strolling: it has long and wide paths, a beautiful view and a truly lovely vibe. On Thursday afternoons there’s even a farmer’s market there, where you can grab a few treats on the way out.
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Ministry of Coffee at the UCLA Botanic Garden.
(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Ministry of Coffee + UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden

Westwood Australian $$
Though it cuts through the university enclave of Westwood Village, this is a route for everyone. Ministry of Coffee has plenty of students working at its tables, but no one will bat an eye if you stop by to get a matcha or chai latte, and the food options are worthwhile if you’re looking to take your lunch al fresco onto the patio of the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden near the lush bamboo stalks and blooming flowers.

To get to the garden from Ministry of Coffee, take a right on Weyburn Avenue and turn left on the next corner to follow Tiverton Avenue until you reach Le Conte Avenue, where you’ll be able to turn onto Tiverton Drive. I like to enter the garden near the Tiverton gate, which puts you near the patio and amphitheater. The garden is currently under construction, which disrupts a bit of its usual serene vibe, but there are still walking paths open that you can follow throughout the garden.
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