(The Root) -- For many outsiders, Los Angeles is a mythic place crawling with Kim Kardashian-like starlets wearing Juicy Couture sweats and sipping on Frappuccinos from Starbucks. But California natives know that's only half of the state's story. Oakland is the polar opposite of its Southern sister city. From where to eat healthy to places where you can get your body in top shape, here are a few options for folks who appreciate a more down-to-earth West Coast vibe.
Where to Work Out
Along with sunny skies, Northern California is famous for gorgeous views of the San Francisco Bay, Lake Merritt and the Pacific Ocean, all of which are great for exercise and meditation. Organizations like Coastal Trail Runs map out paths for large groups to conquer together, while many runners and bikers start with a trek around Lake Merritt (568 Bellevue Ave.) or Tilden Regional Park (entrances off Wildcat Canyon Rd. and Grizzly Peak Blvd. in Berkeley). For the more adventurous, there are running and biking paths through Redwood Regional Park (7867 Redwood Rd.) and Joaquin Miller Park (3590 Sanborn Dr.) with both easy and difficult options depending on which way you turn. And if hiking through the historic redwoods or lounging in the grass after a jog sounds appealing, the City of Oakland has a full list of each of the city's parks and their specialties.
If you'd rather stay inside, the YMCA has nine locations in the East Bay, including Oakland's downtown area branch (2350 Broadway), along with gyms in surrounding cities like Richmond and Dublin. For families, the YMCA also boasts summer getaways like Camp Ravencliff, where kids, and their parents, can relax and enjoy their summers away from school.
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