Now for something really different: Hike LASHP Trails, Wi-Fi-enabled treks on which your smartphone becomes a tour guide and history professor.
Start downtown at the L.A. State Historic Park, a 32-acre slice of green in the industrial area between Chinatown and the L.A. River. You park at the trailhead--marked by an arty sculpture of metal tubing and glass rocks called Wellspring. Then you sign on to the park’s website (lashp-trails.org), which recognizes your location and tells you which way to walk. As you hit hotspots along the way, up pop vintage images and facts about the formerly buzzing hub.
We learned the Broadway Bridge was the pre-freeway method of getting from the east to the west side, and that in 1873, the city’s first transcontinental railway station was built here. In fact, this area was nicknamed the “Ellis Island of Southern California” because so many Chinese and Europeans arrived via the train.
What's really handy is the way the website ticks off exactly how far it was to the next hotspot. We tried the 2.25-mile Park Rim loop--two longer routes through Chinatown and Elysian Hills are next on our next urban adventures.
LASHP Trails, 1800 Baker St.; imlab.ucla.edu