In November 2006, Franklin Avenue blogger (and current TV Guide L.A. bureau chief) Mike Schneider led 15 friends all the way from downtown to the ocean on a daylong, 15.8-mile trek along Wilshire, which he calls “the spine of Los Angeles.” By last year, the annual Great Los Angeles Walk, which traverses a different boulevard each year, had ballooned to 300 people and included food trucks, local luminaries as guest speakers, historical context from the LA Conservancy and an after-party in Santa Monica. Held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Schneider's yearly excursions familiarize locals with urban beauty and obscure landmarks such as Ray Charles' recording studio, encouraging ambulatory exercise in a notoriously car-heavy city. This year, Schneider says, “Our downtown-to-the ocean walk this year (Nov. 17) will spotlight Melrose,” starting at 9 a.m. on the front steps of Walt Disney Concert Hall. He tweets his location every mile or so to keep the group together, charges no entry fee and solicits advice from L.A. experts like former L.A. Weekly food writer Jonathan Gold and L.A. Observed's Kevin Roderick. What better way to prepare yourself for a month of holiday bingeing? (323) 356-2536,

—Amanda Lewis

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