Most people equate Los Angeles with tons of congested freeway traffic, bumper to bumper cars packing every street, and Angelenos who hop in their ride to drive to the end of the street as opposed to walking. (Thanks to the film, LA Story!) But there are several locales where strolling is a great respite from being behind the wheel. Even if you have to drive to one of the following places to push your baby in a stroller, use those legs for something other than pressing down on your car’s pedals, and get out into the great wide open!

Montana Avenue
Montana is lined with plenty of unique, chic boutiques for window shopping or perusing in person. Options abound to get a caffeine-fix at one of many coffee shops and something to dip in your cup of java at one of several bakeries. Grab a frozen yogurt, or  take advantage of the year round amazing weather and dine al fresco at first come, first served outdoor seating at many cafes that line the street. Check out the public library and see if you happen to be in synch with their children’s storytime, and if not, read your little ones a book from their great kids section. Balloon Celebrations on Montana is known for giving pint-sized passerby a free balloon, so make sure to stroll by.

Ocean Avenue
Ocean Avenue boasts beautiful vistas of the Pacific Ocean to enjoy on a stroll, but it is a short walk if you want to avoid the weekend craziness at the Santa Monica Pier. For a more laid back ambiance, babies will especially enjoy looking at the sea life at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Although this stroll is along a major street laden with traffic, there is ample space between the street and the cliff fence with park sculpture and picnic areas throughout. There is a nice paved ramp down to the PCH overpass, enabling you to easily cross to the beach with a stroller. If you need to stop for a snack, you can access Montana or the Promenade fairly easily from either end of Ocean Avenue.

Main Street
Main Street is a fantastic street for people watching, and it has a lot of the same amenities as Montana Ave, but a more beachy vibe and less chichi environs. One of Red Tricycle’s favorite LA bookstores is located on Main: Books and Cookies – take a break from your stroll by popping in and reading a story in one of many cozy nooks, then nosh on a fresh baked cookie! Next, visit cheerful and beautiful Weego Baby to peruse modern, sustainably designed baby gear, clothing, toys, and accessories. Head a block west to the beach to enjoy an ocean breeze. Talk about a fun-filled day!

Venice Canals
One of the best kept secrets in Los Angeles, the gorgeous Venice Canals, are a delightful detour off the beaten path. Located about five blocks from Venice Beach, everyone should place a picturesque stroll alongside the canals on their ‘must-do’ list. Built and modeled after the canals in Venice, Italy, in 1904, today six canals of the originally dug sixteen miles of canals remain. The homes lining these serene, duck-filled waterways are among the priciest and most beautiful and architecturally interesting homes in Los Angeles. Small bridges and flower blossoms will also be enjoyed while rolling along the peaceful paths.

West Hollywood
Walk Score recently ranked West Hollywood as the most walkable city in California and the fourth most walkable city in America. With baby in a stroller, you’ll be able to shop the many upscale designer boutiques on Robertson, Beverly Boulevard, and Melrose. With walking tots in tow, in addition to baby in a stroller, head to the more family-friendly area of West Third Street between La Cienega and Fairfax. There are plenty of eclectic shops, and Magnolia Bakery and the newly opened Fonuts gourmet doughnut shop are two yummy places to indulge a sweet tooth. Read our guide to exploring West Hollywood with kids to learn more about this bustling locale.

Manhattan Beach
It seems you could walk 5 miles without a care in the world when breathtaking ocean views are your backdrop. A stroller walk in this Southbay city will afford you plenty of fresh air while enabling you to temporarily escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Arrive at the Manhattan Beach Pier on a weekday to avoid crowds, and then stroll ’til your heart’s content — even all the way to Hermosa Beach and back! At the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier you’ll find Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium. Free to the public (suggested donation of $2/person or $5/family), babies and kids will marvel at the shark tank and may touch sea creatures including starfish.

Where do you take your little ones for a stroll outside? What other spots would you recommend for a mommy and me stroller walk?

— Beth Shea

photo credit: David 23 & Joe Shlabotnik