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City Walk: Twilight Stroll Through our Business District (Video and Photos)

This roughly two-mile walk takes you from the train station down to Garfield Avenue and back again.

In the dog days of summer, it's sometimes best to do like the vampires: Walk at twilight. Of course, unless there is something you’re not telling me, you don't have the sturdy ankles or night vision of dreamy Robert Pattinson, so you better make sure you walk where there are good sidewalks and adequate street lighting. 

And, let’s face it, if you’re going to enjoy the evening air, you should probably just make a night of it and get yourself some dinner—or at least ice cream. ()

I know the answer—walk downtown! Here’s what you do: Get yourself to the bustling corner of Meridian and Mission. It’s not Old Town—thank goodness—but it gets busy these summer nights. Enjoy the vibe. 

Head east on Mission. As you walk, you’ll need to ask yourself this very important question: Should you eat or exercise first?  Hmmm ... There are whole philosophical treatises to be written on this one. I’m thinking Puritans versus Epicurians, tiger moms versus slacker moms.  But why not make it simple and let the climate be your guide?  

Start early enough so that you can eat while it's still warm and hit the pavement once it’s cool enough to get moving. 

Of course, now you are confronted with another question: where to eat? This is tough, too. There are so many good places to choose from. Again, don’t over think it: Go where you can pull off walking shoes. 

This is a two-mile walk, and you’ll want to be comfortable. My own preference might be . They’re pretty casual and just recently opened for dinner (Fridays and Saturdays only), so you’ll want to check that out soon anyway. 

Of course, who am I to stand between you and your cuisine of choice?  Walk around. Compare menus. Flash your VISA, and few will mind your old Pumas. (Have I mentioned that you really need new athletic shoes?)

Anyway, the point is to have fun. So eat. Laugh. Totally ignore those people with the salads. Get yourself something with cheese (unless your vegan, of course). And when you’re feeling ready, get moving.

Continue east on Mission. See on the south side of the street? They have the best meditation class: Saturdays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. You could totally do that next week! You’ll lower your blood pressure enough that you’ll be able to eat bacon again. Bacon! 

Now have fun window shopping. will have the best window, but those gals at , , and always do a nice job.  You’ll have to see which you like best.  And if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll see things you never knew existed.  Have you seen the rusty sheep? No!? Tsk-tsk. You need to get out of your car more often.

( )

Cross Fremont. Cross Fair Oaks. Pass  (If you haven’t eaten, maybe you’ll get lucky and find the . I know not everyone likes having it there, but I’m all for wrapping meat in dough and frying it. And making it mobile? Now that’s a public service.)

Now you will have entered into an attractive residential area. So you’re combining commerce with suburban nature. How perfect is that! It’s like a little bit of everything all on one street. 

Walk until you reach Garfield. At Garfield, turn right. Turn right again when you reach Oxley. How lucky are the people on this street? They have a charming, quiet street with lovely homes and yards, and yet they are still so close to Mission. They could walk up and get everyday, although I wouldn’t recommend it.

You’d want to mix it up: , , , . Spread the wealth ... and the calories.

Stay on Oxley until you get to Mound (one block west of Fair Oaks). At Mound, turn right. See those raised beds made out of stainless steel tubs? What urban/industrial/back-to-nature creativity!

Turn left at El Centro. Pass   I’d say stop for coffee, but they close at four. Too bad. Cross the street at Fremont, stay on El Centro, and soon you’ll be at . You can totally get coffee there—or maybe a blackberry Italian soda. (So good.)  

Or slip into for dessert. You didn’t have dessert earlier did you?  You saved room for later? No? Well, lucky you who just walked two miles! I think you’ll be fine with another wee little sweet thing.  

Walking directions

  1. Start at the corner of Meridian and Mission. Head east on Mission.
  2. Cross the big streets: Fremont and then Fair Oaks. Walk until you reach Garfield Avenue.
  3. Turn right at Garfield Avenue.
  4. Turn right one block later at Oxley.
  5. Cross Fair Oaks. Walk until you reach Mound.
  6. Turn right at Mound.
  7. Turn left at El Centro.
  8. Cross Fremont. Stay on El Centro until you reach Meridian.
  9. Turn right at Meridian.
  10. Congratulations, you’re back where you started!
Johnny Brown August 16, 2011 at 05:55 AM
This is a lot of fun!
Margaret Finnegan August 16, 2011 at 03:56 PM
Thanks, guys. If you give this walk a try be sure to tell me what you think.
Laurie Allee August 17, 2011 at 04:03 PM
I love this series, Margaret. (I gave it and you a blog shout out today!)
Margaret Finnegan August 19, 2011 at 03:12 PM
Thanks, Laurie!
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