Any seasoned traveler knows that the best way to take in a new city is on foot. But I'm going to take it up a notch and posit that one of the best ways to experience our corner of LA is by lacing up a pair of running shoes.
I've got the perfect opportunity too: the annual Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run, a 10K race on December 8. The route is like a great sightseeing tour through the artsy areas of Santa Monica and Venice, past all the big street murals and the famous Venice boardwalk, into downtown Venice.
This is no ordinary race, either. This is a fun-filled community event infused with the holiday spirit. You'll see more amateur runners than serious athletes. You'll also see a lot of red Rudolf noses and reindeer antlers, Santa Claus cuties and elves in lederhosen — even dogs dressed in their spiffiest red and green. There are awards for best holiday spirit (individuals and groups!).
Kids are welcome to do a "Fun Run" (two blocks long) and adults can bring babies in strollers. If the 10K is too daunting, try the 5K that starts afterwards. Both races take place early in the morning so the streets are beautifully quiet, and you can really take in the atmosphere.
The best part is that proceeds from your entrance fee ($40 in advance, and $45 on race day) go to Harvest Home, a shelter for homeless pregnant women.
If you end up running (or just taking in the merry sight), look out for me and a few of my hotel colleagues running in the race — come say hello!
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