A Walker In L.A.: Downtown’s Hidden “Beach”

This favorite summer spot is 16 miles from the coast

It’s hard to believe that our newest swatch of green space, Grand Park, opened its first section only a year ago. In the heat of a sunny afternoon I already can’t imagine myself anywhere else. On Tuesdays there’s a farmers’ market, free WiFi (courtesy of Starbucks), and the best people-watching in the city. The centerpiece of the park is the gloriously revitalized Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain, its monumental basin surrounded by a new splash pad I’ve nicknamed “Toddler Beach.” Better than a public pool, it’s a place where kids rule the landscape, leaving their parents to wrangle beach towels and spritz sunblock in their wake. Their enthusiasm is contagious. It didn’t take long for the city employees sitting nearby when I snapped this shot on Tuesday to peel off their socks, roll up their chinos, and wade in, too.

Alissa Walker is a writer, a gelato eater, and a walker in L.A. She shares an experience from her adventures around town at CityThink each Wednesday. Follow her daily on Instagram at @awalkerinLA, on Twitter, or at her blog, and use the hashtag #betteroffped to share your own photographs of walking in L.A.