COVID has most of us homebound and with a minimal radius to explore. I thought I’ll give you some ideas to spice up your daily neighborhood walks. While most of these specific walks are for Silicon Valley, the ideas should transfer to other areas. So, grab your mask and get your steps in with these walking ideas:
We are blessed in the Bay Area with a long growing season. To get inspired for your own vegetable garden you should check out the local community gardens and wander around. There are plenty of Native Plant Gardens in the area. The Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society has a great list (https://www.cnps-scv.org/gardening/gardening-with-natives/69-public-gardens-of-native-plants-69). In the same category, Mountain View’s Green Garden Showcase features front yards that are examples of California Native Plants, water wise gardens, and environmental friendly practices.(https://www.mountainview.gov/depts/pw/services/conserve/landscape/showcase.asp)
With all museums closed right now I admit I’m a little art deprived.
Sculptures are great outdoor artworks you can still admire. One of the largest collections of sculptures around is on the Stanford Campus. You can limit yourself to Rodin, it’s the largest in the U.S., or go around campus and find other inspiring pieces.
The Triton Museum in Santa Clara features a sculpture garden on the premises. (https://www.santaclaraca.gov/Home/Components/ServiceDirectory/ServiceDirectory/1260/2661)
Some local towns have maps to their public art works. I found the bike racks in Los Altos a welcoming change and great for kids to try to find them all!
If you are more of a mural enthusiast I recommend San Jose, Redwood City, and Palo Alto.
Some examples of public art:
Santa Clara: https://www.santaclaraca.gov/our-city/about-santa-clara/maps/art-statues
Los Altos: https://www.losaltosca.gov/publicartscommission/page/public-sculpture
Palo Alto (map): https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1AUOuWuDvI0_jAbZYvvY_JBD9lIs&ll=37.42470074587974%2C-122.16085689067381&z=14
San Jose as the first Capitol of California has a rich history to share. They compiled a history walk for downtown. No need to print out a map, you can just follow the signs. If you would rather have a digital idea or would like to print out the brochure, here is the PDF: https://www.sanjose.org/pdf/downtown-san-jose-historic-walking-tour-guide
Japantown in San Jose offers historic information on their benches.
A few other towns have lists of historic buildings. Rich Heli has compiled three historic walking tours for Mountain View: https://rick-heli.info/mvtour/
While most shops are currently closed, most downtowns invite you for a nice evening stroll on main street. Mountain View, for example, closed off their downtown area for most car traffic. The other night I walked by an exercise class. Also window shopping is an option. My favorite non-shopping window is in Palo Alto at the Future Institute.
If you feel the need to acquire something while on a walk, check out a little free library near you or in some other neighborhood.
I love the fact that we are able to walk to our neighborhood park. If you want to mix it up, why not explore another park near you?
Canopy has multiple self-guided tree walks: https://canopy.org/our-work/tree-walks/
Birdwatching while walking is always a great pastime. If you want to see egrets you should check out the Google campus.
Bring the kids for a peak at the donkeys in Bol Park.
Do you have ideas for fun activity walks?