This running route in downtown L.A. is 6.2 miles, but can be made longer by running through Elysian Park and surrounding trails.
Elysian Park1 of 13
I like to start in Elysian Park, where you can get some good miles on trails, especially if you want to extend the run and get some panoramic views of the city. It's nice to mix up the intensity of running in the heart of downtown with some quieter park action.
Sunset Boulevard2 of 13
From the park's entrance, you take Elysian Park Avenue, then take a left onto Sunset Boulevard, one of L.A.'s oldest and most renowned streets. It was built in 1904 and snakes through a number of L.A.'s hotspots, including Echo Park, Silverlake, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Brentwood, until it drops you at the beach right before Malibu.
The 101 and 110 Freeways3 of 13
You then cross over two of L.A.'s biggest headaches: The 101 and 110 Freeways. They will most likely be blaring parking lots and make you extremely grateful that you're running—away.
Corner of 7th and Fig4 of 13
When you hit Figueroa, take a right and that's mile No. one. You pass along some mildly exciting places that keep the city running—The Los Angeles County Health Services and Department of Water and Power. Riveting, I know.
The Bunker Hill Towers on your left, however, are architecturally famous pedways.
Mile two takes you through the heart of downtown: Union Bank Plaza, The Westin Bonaventure Hotel and the newly finished shopping hub, FIGat7th.
The Original Pantry Cafe5 of 13
You will start to smell it before you see it—The Original Pantry Cafe. This diner has been on the same corner since 1924 and shells out massively delicious American comfort food. There will usually be a line wrapped around 9th Street, depending on how early you're running. Two words: Carbo Loading. The French toast and pancakes... Just trust me: You need both.
L.A. Jewelry District6 of 13
I usually make a U-turn from 9th Street back up Figueroa to run east along 7th Street. It's one of my favorite streets in the area for its architecture and design. Plus it takes you past another L.A. staple for when you want to go calorically crazy: Bottega Louie. I am a fan of their gorgeous pastries and desserts.
Take a right on 7th Street from Figueroa and there's also the L.A. Jewelry District. It's one of the largest jewelry districts in the country. Basically, this run is a checklist of ways for you to splurge when you finish. You're welcome.
The Palace7 of 13
Take a left on Broadway. You will immediately realize you're passing through the city's historic theatre district. The Palace, which opened in 1911, is the oldest remaining original Orpheum theatre in the U.S. Back in its prime, the theater hosted an array of stars, such as Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth.
Grand Central Market8 of 13
But the real gem here is Grand Central Market. Yes, more food. This is considered one of L.A.'s culinary meccas and was named one of Bon Appetit's 10 Best New Restaurants in the country in 2014. Also a landmark, the open-air market opened in 1917 and mixes a slew of the city's cuisines and cultures under one small, noisy and delectably smelling roof. I highly recommend bagels from Wexler's Deli, an egg sandwich from Egg Slut and tacos from both Ana Maria and Tacos Tumbras a Tomas. We run to eat, right?
Los Angeles Times9 of 13
Now, after inhaling all of this—let's keep running. Staying on Broadway, the massive, ornate Los Angeles Times building is on 2nd street. It opened in 1935 and was once the largest building in the western U.S. If you have time, take a tour. The building designer, Gordon B. Kaufmann, also did the Hoover Dam. The Globe lobby is a spectacular sight and is like a mini museum documenting the city's evolution.
City Hall10 of 13
Directly across the street is City Hall. Fun fact: The art-deco skyscraper, built in 1928, used concrete made of sand from the 58 California counties and water from its 21 historic missions. If you're looking for views, the building's observation deck is open to the public everyday.
Walt Disney Concert Hall11 of 13
Take a left onto 1st Street, and you'll hit a good incline before seeing the Walt Disney Concert Hall on your left. Take a right onto Grand Avenue. Grand takes you back over L.A.'s infamous freeways and intersects with Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, which turns back into Sunset Boulevard, and takes you back to Elysian Park.
Elysian Park Avenue12 of 13
Final turn is right onto Elysian Park Avenue and, voila, you're done. That concludes my favorite downtown L.A. landmark and food tour!
Final food note—one of L.A.'s best taco stands, Guisados, is on Sunset Boulevard, about a quarter-mile before you hit Elysian Park Avenue. I'm just putting it out there...