"Car-Free LA": Oxymoron, or Clever Tourism Campaign?

by  Alex Schechter | Sep 20, 2013
Los Angeles
Los Angeles / choness/iStock

Of the six reasons we recently gave for Melbourne being voted the "most livable city in the world," public transportation ranked number four. Meanwhile, eight thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean, sprawling Los Angeles isn't about to win any awards for its still-in-progress Metro system and tangled network of unreliable bus routes.

No surprise, then, that LA has become known as a "car city" -- almost every destination on your itinerary is usually best reached by car.

But there is a movement, albeit a small one, to change all that: Car Free LA is a day-long event taking place this Sunday, as part of a worldwide initiative celebrating alternative transportation modes. And for anyone who happens to be visiting the city this weekend, the centerpiece of LA's campaign will be a public walking (and Metro) tour from Beverly Hills to Santa Monica, and back (for those not in town, you can follow all the fun on Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtag "carfreeLA").

Meanwhile, Discover LA, the city's official tourism office, has launched a dedicated #CarFreeLA page on its website, full of car-free itineraries through Hollywood, Downtown, and the Beach Cities, plus a rundown of the city's public transit system, info on guided tours, and links to the city's top bike shops along with bike route maps.

In the spirit of walking, here's a quick recap of the world's best pedestrian-only areas in big cities. You may already be familiar with Paris' Left Bank – but what about Moscow's Kuznetsky Most? Or Dublin's Grafton Street? Read on to find out more!

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