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Runyon Canyon

{Tony + the kids at the top of Runyon}

Tomorrow, Runyon Canyon closes for 4 months. If you live outside of L.A., that means nothing to you. If you live in L.A., it means EVERYTHING. (Okay, maybe EVERYTHING only if you live in L.A. and are trying to become an actor/writer/director/producer/social media star… Which is everyone.) It’s a hiking trail smack in the middle of Hollywood; to get to one entrance, you walk up a street of mansions, and the other, a street of over-priced apartments. If someone hadn’t told you about it, you wouldn’t even know it was there, unless you happened to be driving along Franklin and suddenly discovered you were in a real-life video game of dodging clueless pedestrians and sweaty valet parkers. (Yes, in L.A. even our hiking trails have a valet.)

On any given day, you are guaranteed to see girls with zero body fat speed walking in crop tops and wedge sneakers, shredded shirtless dudes running lines for an audition while they sprint the hills, childless people with their dogs strapped onto them in Baby Bjorns, professional dog walkers with 10+ dogs and, if you’re lucky, the lady who pushes her cat in a stroller. It’s also pretty likely you will run into a celeb. In the decade I’ve lived in L.A., I’ve seen: Jim Carrey riding a horse. Pregnant Leelee Sobieski. My mom, who got knocked down by an apologetic, shirtless Matthew McConaughey, who was sprinting too fast downhill. Brock O’Hurn and Owen Wilson (on separate occasions. Not together.) Once, on a cold, rainy day when I thought it would be empty, I ran into Tom Cruise, Suri and their bodyguard/large and intimidating friend. It’s one of the most quintessential “L.A.” spots, with everyone working out, checking each other out, tanning, Snapchatting and hoping to get discovered. It’s our dog shit-filled version of Central Park.

Runyon Canyon

And now, in our beautiful summer months (who am I kidding, it’s always summer in L.A.), it’s closed. Here are my suggestions of what to fill your Runyon-allotted time with instead:

Stroll around the reservoir of Franklin Canyon, in the heart of Beverly Hills. It’s where they filmed the opening credits to the The Andy Griffith Show, there’s always plenty of free parking and it’s a perfect spot for a picnic if “hiking” to you means eating and people-watching outdoors (this is one of my favorite forms of hiking). Sometimes I’ll go “jogging” there with my friend Dani; we like to run once around the reservoir, and then walk slowly for an hour while we gossip.

Wait in line at Shake Shack. You will probably see the same people there that you would’ve seen at Runyon, anyway.

Experience DAYBREAKER. From what I understand, it’s sort of like a sober rave dance party workout at the crack of dawn that offers excellent Instagram moments.

Hit Fryman Canyon. Everyone knows the entrance in the valley, close to both Katsu-ya and George Clooney’s house. But fewer people know there is also an entrance up on Mulholland Drive! If you want to hike Fryman with me, this is the entrance I will make you go to because I can walk there from my house, it’s far less crowded and the parking lot is free.

Park in a super fancy neighborhood, take your dog for a walk and pretend you live there. I like to do this in Hancock Park, Beverly Hills, Bel Air and the Pacific Palisades. Wear large sunglasses, line outside your lips a bit with lipliner so it looks like you got filler, get on eBay for some Yeezy’s and you’ll look like you belong! (Or, someone’s nanny will see you on their security cam, smell how poor you are and call the cops.)

Go to Malibu Creek State Park. You can see the site where M*A*S*H was filmed, and also where I went camping for my first (and hopefully last) time as an adult.

Stay home, order a pile of food from Postmates and binge watch Million Dollar Listing AND Bajillion Dollar Propertie$.

Walk around Echo Park Lake, and veer off onto Bellevue Avenue (and then left on West Edgeware Road) to explore one of L.A.’s historic neighborhoods of Victorian homes. This is one of Tony and my favorite “day dates” in Los Angeles. Then, you can spend the afternoon in line for lunch at Sqirl.

See if you can do the Santa Monica Stairs without dying.

Go on a Full Moon Hike at Malibu Wine. Because hello, boozing and hiking! Under the stars! No SPF required!

Hug some strangers while you run around the Hollywood Bowl before the sun comes up.

Take a selfie at the Hollywood Sign.

Take a class from RICHARD SIMMONS HIMSELF! That’s right, he’s still teaching.

Summit Echo Mountain, in the San Gabriel Mountains in the Altadena neighborhood. This is Tony’s favorite hike, and one of the first dates he took me on.

Ride a horse off into the sunset at Griffith Park, drink some margaritas, and ride back in the dark.

OR, just hike Griffith Park. My favorite entrance is on Cadman Drive because I saw Zac Efron near it once and he smiled at me.

Explore the Venice Canals, then eat on a milk crate like a rich hipster hobo outside Gjelina Take Away. This is at the top of my list, as I’ve lived here for over 10 years and never have. (*Never have seen the Venice Canals, that is. I’ve stuffed my face at GTA plenty of times. It’s good.)

Grab a latte at The Dog Cafe, and adopt your new best friend!

Run on the beach in Malibu close to the waterline, because technically no one owns that sand and you can legally stalk celebrities!

Try any of these hikes recommended by Travel + Leisure and the LA Times. (I love this list of quintessential “LA walks,” too.)

Just go to brunch in your athleisure-wear and pretend you worked out. Everyone in L.A. lies, so this is probably the best way to pay homage to the memory of Runyon Canyon, anyway.

Runyon Canyon