This past Monday, something tragic happened: Summer as we know it ended. We are now in the weird handful of weeks where it is neither vacation season nor autumn in L.A. It’s still hot like summer during the day, but noticeably cooler at night. We’re one step into fall, y’all.
But is it ever really autumnal in Los Angeles? Of course it isn’t! Palm trees and sunny skies prevent us from keeping track of the time of year, which—for better or worse—makes this local feel like I’m on an endless vacation. Nearly a year after I went in search of a season, the timing seems perfect to share six more places where the smell of leaves and a variety of wilting trees are indeed a thing.
Sycamore Between Beverly & Wilshire
One of the most East Coast-like streets in Los Angeles is Sycamore Ave. Why? Because it is lined with weather-sensitive Sycamores. The street is typically covered by an emerald canopy this time of year but, due to some aquatic deprivation, these trees are already yellowed and undressing. If you walk the area—Shop District La Brea? Eat and drink at Republique? Sidle over to The Grove?—you may find sidewalks matted with leaves. That is, unless the landscapers have cleared the paths.
Occidental College & Yosemite Recreation Center
A good trick for season seekers is heading to a university campus. We have so many great ones—UCLA, USC, Art Center, CalTech—but Occidental in Eagle Rock feels the most special in regard to leaves. Unlike other schools, it is easy to miss as it is tucked into neighborhood and is adjacent to Yosemite Recreation Center, also a green destination.
If you attended FYF recently, you’re already aware of this leafy location. It truly is one of Los Angeles’ best parks, and features everything from a fabulously kept rose garden to attractions like the California Science Center, California African American Museum, and the Coliseum. The area is lined with trees and green spaces and is just begging for you to picnic and nature watch. If you want to take your outdoorsiness to the next level here, the Natural History Museum has an absolutely fabulous nature garden. It also has its own Metro stop.
San Vicente, From Barrington To Ocean
Why not skip the weekly hike for a run through a “woodsy” area? San Vicente is great for tree sighting and, if you’ve ever driven this road, you know that people run down its tree-lined median, which has become a makeshift park. While the San Vicente Median Strip (as it’s called) is lined with South African Coral Trees that are unaffected by heat, the trees north and south of the median are indeed fall friendly, and already wilting.
East LA River Bike Path / Ballona Creek Bike Path
Not a runner? Try biking with nature! The Los Angeles River and its many bike paths offer some of the most peculiar entries into local nature: they take you to a wetland! And, as wetlands do, the river has a variety of trees, from green palms to bending oaks. The East LA River Bike Path offers a more authentic “wet” experience, while Culver City’s Ballona Creek is a woodsy gateway to the city, the ocean, and various parks.
Will Rogers State Historic Park
Not only is this destination the former ranch of the Hollywood star but it also houses an equestrian center and beautiful views of Pacific Palisades homes. That means there are lots of trees. This park is a hop from the ocean and features a variety of trunks which are well kept but will still give you a seasonal show. You can expect panoramic views and lots of wildlife here, too.
It bears noting that many of these places have been looking autumnal all year, unfortunately, because of California’s drought. Some of these trees have been noticeably parched for months, dropping leaf after leaf as if in protest over the lack of rain. While we’re happy to see signs of the fall here in L.A., we’re hoping for a greener future.
Kyle Fitzpatrick is a writer, an infrequent performer, and a lover of dogs, art, shorts, champagne, and L.A. You can find his musings Fridays on CityThink. For more, check out his locally focused art, design, and culture website, Los Angeles, I’m Yours, or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.