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Take Me to the River

The L.A. River

The L.A. River

It may not be pretty, but it sure is famous. The LA River, the concrete-bedded waterway that cuts through downtown Los Angeles, has appeared in plenty of well-known films — from ‘Grease‘ to ‘Chinatown.’ It usually plays sinister host to car chases and murder scenes, but today, there’s much more to see down by the river. Find out, after the jump…


It’s not a usual stop on a visit to Los Angeles, but the LA River holds a special place in the city’s heart, dry and polluted though it may be. Before you go, brush up on your Hollywood history and check out ‘Purple Rain,’ ‘Escape from L.A.‘, ‘To Live and Die in L.A.‘ and ‘Gone in 60 Seconds‘ — all movies the feature the river.

When visiting the river, the best place to start is the on the east side of downtown LA, just under the East Sixth Street Bridge — you’ll recognize it as the starting line from the iconic ‘Grease’ race scene. But there are other, more scenic spots to visit. Recently, groups like Friends of the Los Angeles River have stepped in to try to revitalize the river — both environmentally and artistically. Not only are wildlife reserves and fishing available on the river (at the Sepulveda Basin), it’s also become a pilgrimage spot of sorts for graffiti artists, who paint the concrete river’s concrete bed.

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