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Saturday Night Live Makes Walking Fun

Pictures of Walkabout adventures
from the Walkabout International website
Copyright©2006 sandiego.com, Inc.

Every Saturday night at 6 p.m., rain or shine, unless it’s a rare San Diego downpour, a group of ten or twenty people meets in front of the County Administration Building downtown. At 6:15pm sharp, the group steps out into a brisk walk heading south along the harbor or through downtown.

The group ranges in age from mid-30s to upper 70s, although the younger set is welcome to join, if they can keep up the pace, that is, for these are no dawdling grandmas and grandpas. But even if the newbies can’t keep up, someone will straggle behind with them because Walkabout International of San Diego is the friendliest group of people you’ll ever meet in San Diego.

This non-profit organization has been holding walks like these every single day of the year for over 25 years. On St. Patrick’s Day back in 1977, a small group of men and women met and walked together, enjoying each other’s companionship and sights along the way. A tradition was born, and Walkabout International’s monthly calendar boasts at least one, and more likely at least two, walks every day of the year.

The Saturday Night Live group is one that has been meeting regularly for years. The ocean breezes are wonderfully refreshing as this lively bunch walks alongside the Embarcadero toward the Convention Center and back up to Seaport Village where some walkers enjoy an optional dinner or a frozen yogurt.

Another favorite Saturday Night Live walk is to stroll through the sights and sounds of the Gaslamp District, enjoying the sights and sounds of al aire libre dining and finally stopping at the Tin Fish Restaurant. As many as twenty walkers stop for a halibut or shrimp taco with Bay Seasoning and a side of their one-of-a-kind fries that are really more like crunchy miniature potato cakes.

“We’re an eating group as much as a walking group,” said Larry Jacobson, a member of Walkabout for over 10 years.

When the group is walking, everyone looks out for each other, pausing on the other side of stoplights to make sure the other half catches up to them. Another Walkabout tradition is to yell out, “toe stubber!” to warn of cracks in the sidewalk or other pedestrian dangers.

The pace of Saturday Night Live’s walk is considered moderate plus, covering about 3 ½ miles per hour. Other walks can be from half-speed pace, at about 1 – 2 miles per hour or casual, covering 2 – 3 miles to the brisk, at 4 miles an hour, a relatively rare pace. The latter one includes a walk called Wednesday Night Workout, led by Janice or Barbara. At 6 p.m., this particular group meets at Costa Verde Shopping Center between La Jolla Village Drive and Nobel Drive, in front of Bookstar. They charge out, walking at a brisk pace, for about 1 ½ hours, often exploring canyon trails and hills. Even if someone is in good shape, this is a major conditioning walk. Ample doses of Epsom salts in a warm bath may be what the doctor will order.

Yet do not allow the strenuousness of the Wednesday night’s walk scare away potential new members. Walkabout offers so much to so many people, such as walks around Coronado, a regular Monday evening walk along Harbor Island and an easy-paced Friday evening walk through Mission Hills.The group also features trips around the United States and abroad, all centered on walking, of course.

Membership to the organization is only $20 and includes the monthly calendar. For a complimentary calendar, call 619-231-SHOE.

Details »
  • City: San Diego
  • Phone: 619-231-7463
  • Name: Walkabout International
  • Address: 4639 30th Street