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One of the best parts about LA is that we are blessed with some truly beautiful green spaces and parks, the trick is knowing where to find them. That’s where we come in. Here are the perfect spots to take a walk, disconnect, and breathe in some fresh air.
Pack a lunch and head over to Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in Baldwin Hills — you’re going to want to stay all day. Green and lush, it’s one of the largest inner-city parks in LA. And there’s so much to do! Fishing, hiking, barbecue pits, trails, and pretty much every type of sports court or field. Your only dilemma will be what to try first.
Everyone knows that Griffith Observatory is awesome, but the observatory grounds are pretty darn cool in their own right. Did you know the beautiful green lawn is also a scale model of our solar system? It’s true — the center of the solar system is right in front of the North Doors, and you can explore outward from there. Once you’ve finished venturing into space, don’t forget to snap a few pictures of the amazing city views before heading inside to check out the observatory.
With stunning views of LA and the Hollywood Sign, this cool little park in East Hollywood is the perfect spot to get away from it all. Picnic on the grass, take in some of the art, or watch one of the best sunsets the city has to offer. Fitt Tip: in the summer, get a group together for one of their weekly Barnsdall Friday Night Wine Tastings. Just make sure to snag tickets early — they sell out quick!
A vibrant urban park in the heart of downtown, Grand Park is packed with things to see and do. Bright pink benches, a giant fountain, and even a Starbucks in the park — what’s not to love? But the best part of Grand Park is that there’s almost always something going on: workout events, art shows, concerts, and food trucks. Lots of food trucks.
Right in the middle of the concrete jungle we call Westwood sits this little botanical garden on UCLA’s campus. It’s the perfect place for nature-lovers to get their fix while staying in the city. Enjoy the shady wooded areas, luscious plants, and little streams with turtles and fish. It’s hard to find a more relaxing spot in the middle of LA.
It’s impossible to talk about beautiful green spaces in LA without mentioning Palisades Park. This 1.5-mile park right off Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica provides some of the most picturesque ocean views in the city. Once you’re finished enjoying the park, simply cross the street and you’re steps away from some of the best restaurants in Santa Monica (Sugarfish, anyone?).
This seven-acre rose garden is truly a hidden gem. Adjacent to the USC campus, the entrance to the rose garden is on State Drive. Once you’re finished strolling amongst all the beautiful flowers, pop over to the Natural History Museum or watch a game at the Coliseum — both are only steps away.
Ever wanted to go back in time to Hollywood’s golden age? Well, a visit to Wattles Garden Park is probably about as close as you can get. The grounds of the Wattles Estate, on North Curson Ave., are lush and inviting. Enjoy the garden, the trails, and the peacefulness right in the heart of Hollywood.
It’s hard to believe that this 6.2-acre park in Santa Monica was essentially a parking lot a few years ago. This urban oasis features extra-special touches like fountains, sculptures, and lily pads, making it the perfect little escape. The paths are great for running, and there are also nice built-in dining areas for a lunch break.
A secret Japanese garden on the roof of a popular downtown hotel? Count us in. The half-acre space features gorgeous plants and flowers, fountains, ponds, and even a waterfall. While this luxurious destination is technically only meant for hotel guests, it’s completely worth it if you get the chance to go. Just ride the elevator up to the garden level (but shhhh!).
While it might be odd to think of a cemetery as a “beautiful green space”, we Angelenos know that Hollywood Forever is no ordinary cemetery. Walk the grounds and take in the history — you’ll see the final resting places of some of the world’s most famous people. And there are always events going on; seeing a concert or watching an outdoor movie at the cemetery is a truly unique experience.
I’m celebrating week 21 of pregnancy. Baby is the size of a banana or bell pepper. I don’t know why it’s so fun to compare a growing fetus to a fruit or veggie, but it gives me a much-needed laugh while I make note to avoid consuming bananas for the week. This is also ultrasound week. I’m no longer able to bring my husband and daughter to the appointment, but we understand that these restrictions are put in place to protect us. Like so many pregnant women and mothers across the world, I’m doing my best to adapt to the new norm and changes that COVID-19 has introduced to my already stressful life.
Pregnant women across various metro cities are beginning to face fears of delivering their baby without a birthing partner by their side for the duration of the hospital stay. Family members and friends may not be able to meet baby in-person for quite some time, so those special first meetings happen over FaceTime. New mommy groups switch to virtual meetups. I’m feeling the weight of it all (and I’m not referring to the extra weight I’ve gained from WFH snacking), the heaviness of the unknown that we all carry as we navigate through all of this change.
Tuning into nightly news or googling the latest COVID-19 death tolls is a surefire way to lose sleep, but we do it anyway because we want to stay informed as we wrap our heads around how much this pandemic will change our world. Maybe your anxiety and personal despair grow as you hear from a friend who recently lost their job or read about your favorite restaurant unable to keep its doors open. Canceled events, long-anticipated vacations, and temporarily closed fitness studios are not only inconvenient, but force us to reframe our attitudes.
I can hear my mother’s voice telling me to relax. She tells me that the baby can feel my stress, and that isn’t good for anyone. I begin to feel guilty about my inability to quiet the negative feelings and decide that something needs to change. We can’t change what the media reports, the pressure at work, or predict how long it will take for the economy to recover. But what if we reminded ourselves to do the best with what we have and keep moving forward—one day at a time. Amidst the chaos, we’re becoming a stronger, kinder community, and that is truly a beautiful thing to see.
The journey to my second trimester wasn’t an easy one. I suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage a few years ago. I made time for my body and mind to heal after the loss. Float tank sessions, meditation, vinyasa power flow, and frequent facials helped me connect with my body. I can’t say self-care alone healed my depression, but it certainly helped me discover the importance of self-love and repaired my self-confidence.
After many pregnancy tests and negative results, I was at peace with accepting that having another child may not be in the cards for me. Fast forward to age 37. I was shocked to see a + symbol on three pregnancy stick tests. Although I’m medically referred to as a geriatric pregnancy, my OB/Gyn said there was no reason for me to go into this pregnancy with a negative mindset. Eat healthy, stay active, and focus on being POSITIVE. Maybe the pursuit of happiness and path to personal wellness was really that simple.
On my 38th birthday, I celebrated my 20th week of pregnancy—I’ll refer to it as the “Pregnant in a Pandemic Party.” I blew out a candle on a warm chocolate chip cookie that my husband and daughter baked together. They were my only party guests, but I didn’t need a room full of people at a fancy restaurant to feel pure gratitude. People across the world continue to test positive for COVID-19. I was safe in my home with my family. I was right where I needed to be.
Although the past few weeks have brought a wide range of emotions for all of us, I’m choosing to use this extra time to self-reflect and bond with family. I’m mentally recording my five-year-old daughter as she whispers to my stomach and tells her baby sister that August couldn’t come soon enough. This is life. So perfectly imperfect at times, but beautiful in more ways than we know. We may be housebound, down to the last few rolls of toilet paper, and our hair hasn’t seen a salon in over a month. The loss of control and routine over our daily lives can make us feel like failures. Trust me; we’re not. We were never meant to get through this alone. Together, we will get through this—one day at a time.