One of the best things about attending Otis College of Art and Design in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles is being able to enjoy the beautiful Southern California weather—as of this writing in January, it’s 75 degrees out—and the many things to do in and around the city, especially outside, where hanging out at one of the many beaches can be done on the same day as taking a hike in a nearby park. After all, attending Otis isn’t just about work and classes. Students can easily take a break from the studios, labs, or library to enjoy the nearby beaches, biking trails, golf courses, and other delightful outdoor options. Here are 10 top picks for Otis-adjacent adventures.
1. Spend the Day at Dockweiler State Beach
This 3.7-mile stretch of beach is a great place to catch L.A.’s notable sunsets and watch planes take off from and land at nearby Los Angeles International Airport. The beach’s 288 acres and sand dunes make it a popular spot to learn hang gliding, bike alongside the water on the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, or cozy up in front of a campfire at the only beachside fire pits in the city. More info here.
2. Get Out on the Water at Marina Del Rey
Marina del Rey, located about four miles south of Santa Monica, is home to more than 5,000 boats and watercraft, including giant yachts, catamarans, and even jet skis. You can rent a paddleboard or kayak, take a parasailing trip, or try a water yoga class, among other water sports. More info here.
3. Sled the Dunes at Hermosa Beach
Hermosa Beach is known for its 94 acres of public beach, which run from Santa Monica Bay to Kings Harbor in Redondo Beach. The dunes on either side of the beach’s pier are a favorite of sand sledders young and old. (If snow is more your thing, the slopes on the San Bernardino Mountains are just a two-hour drive from L.A.) More info here.
4. Conquer the Stairs at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City is known for its outdoor staircase and overlook that offers panoramic views of Los Angeles, including of the downtown skyscrapers against the San Gabriel Mountains. The challenging 282 stone and concrete steps take visitors 375 feet above sea level. More info here.
5. Hike and Bike the Park to Playa Trail
The 13-mile Park to Playa Trail winds through a network of parks and green spaces—including past a mural created by Otis College students near the Stoneview Nature Center—connecting the Crenshaw District to the Pacific Ocean at Playa Del Rey. Composed of a mixture of hiking and bike paths, the trail offers a variety of vistas of downtown L.A., the hills, and the oceanfront. More info here.
6. Walk the Venice Canals
Yes, there are Venice Canals… in Los Angeles. The walking paths and pedestrian bridges along this network of canals that span three residential blocks near Venice Beach and Marina Del Rey are perfect for an afternoon stroll. More info here.
7. Try Surfing at El Porto in Manhattan Beach
El Porto is a stretch of beach at the north end of Manhattan Beach that is known as a beginning to intermediate surfing spot. Its fast and powerful break, with three- to 10-foot swells, and small crowds compared to other nearby beaches, make it a great spot to hit the waves. More info here.
8. Take in the Views from Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, located in Baldwin Hills, is one of the city’s largest parks. At 338-acres, it’s known for its seven miles of hiking trails—many offering grand panoramas of Los Angeles—nine-hole frisbee golf course, and a serene Japanese garden. The park is also home to a stocked fishing lake and a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. More info here.
9. Walk Your Dog in Playa Vista
Playa Vista is home to some of the area’s best dog parks, including Bluff Creek Dog Park, which has everything your best friend could want, from astro turf to a small, quiet stream. More info here.
10. Hit the Links in Westchester
The public Westchester Course Course, located adjacent to Westchester Park just across the street from the Otis campus, offers an 18-hole course suitable for golfers of all levels. There’s also a driving range and nighttime tee times. More info here.
To learn more about Otis College of Art and Design, visit otis.edu. For information on applying, visit otis.edu/admissions. And for more on the College’s Los Angeles location and things to do, visit otis.edu/los-angeles.
Images, top to bottom: photo by REVOLT on Unsplash; photo by Roger Lipera on Unsplash; photo by Stella Levi/iStock; photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash; photo by Jesus Curiel on Unsplash