The glamorous city of Los Angeles is the Entertainment Capital of the world. Movie studios, theme parks, museums, nightlife and shopping are some of the most common attractions, and the city is easily navigable giving you the chance to do it all. It's not uncommon to see celebrities and famous personalities walking around the streets, and with the Sunset Strip and L.A. LIVE entertainment complexes, you'll never run out of things to do.
Los Angeles is home to one of the best climates in the world and no matter what the season, there's sunshine and warmth. The pleasant gentle breeze that comes from the ocean keeps it just cool enough to have you wanting to spend all day outside, and there are endless opportunities for outdoor adventure in Los Angeles. Luckily you'll find green spaces scattered all around the city offering places for locals and tourists to relax in their free time.
With so many community parks to choose from it can be hard to know where to start, but we've got you covered with this list of the best parks in Los Angeles. Enjoy a picnic at one of the parks listed below and then leave your picnic basket with bounce. Then, meander a few trails and admire landmarks. When you leave your belongings behind at a Los Angeles luggage storage facility, you won't have to carry them around with you all day, allowing you to make it a full day at the park.
Everyone can benefit from a visit to Exposition Park which isn't only a nice place to visit but is also situated close to some of the city's top museums, giving you the chance to experience the culture of the city while enjoying the fresh air. The 160 acre Exposition Park stands in Downtown Los Angeles, just south of the main campus of the University of California with some beautiful brick neighbors.
While you're inside the park, make time to explore the exhibits of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the California Science Center and the California African American Museum. Afterward, the grounds are yours to explore, with a big 7 acre fragrant rose garden that is home to more than 200 different species of roses.
Gazebos are available in the park so you can sit and relax while being sheltered from the sun, and around each of the 4 corners of the sunken garden, you'll find stunning marble sculptures which are the works of Thyra Boldsen. There's also a nice fountain in the heart of the park, a beautiful lake, several playgrounds and picnic areas, as well as plenty of sports fields. Fun fact; the Memorial Coliseum was the host of past Olympics in 1984, and is going to be the venue for the Olympic Summer Games in 2028
Need a break from the bustle and busyness of the Los Angeles city center? Griffith Park is the perfect place to go since, at well over 4,000 acres in size, you'll forget that you're in the city at all. It's actually among North America's largest municipal parks and boasts more than 50 miles of walking paths and hiking trails that will bring you past some outstanding natural landscapes like waterfalls and lagoons. If you explore enough you could find yourself at the Bronson Caves, nicknamed the Bat Cave since they were used as the entrance to the famous hideaway in the Batman TV series in the 1960s. The Amir's Garden shouldn't be missed either. Explore the passage through the Fern Dell and stop for lunch on the Crystal Springs picnic tables.
There's lots for the entire family to enjoy with much more to do than just hiking. You'll find equestrian trails and cycling facilities, a golf course, the Autry Museum of the American West and the Travel Town Transportation Museum. It's home to the Old Los Angeles Zoo which can still be visited, although it has not housed any animals for years since the new zoo was constructed.
End your visit with some entertainment at the Greek Theatre or go see where Walt Disney had his model trains at Walt's Barn, but not before you climb the Griffith Observatory for fantastic views of the park and surrounding area. The park is home to the iconic Hollywood Sign and has been in many famous movies. It's situated just a couple of miles east of the Hollywood Bowl on the Santa Monica Mountains' eastern side.
This inviting area only began welcoming park visitors in July of 2012 in the hopes of bringing more life and community areas to Downtown Los Angeles, although it's been used as a green space since back in 1966. It spans 12 acres and is a lovely spot to go for a walk or to hang out with friends on the spacious picnic lawn, and it's also easy to find a calm shaded spot to sit down with a book. It's hard to miss the bright pink benches placed strategically around the park which offer ample seating for all who visit, and the central fountain adds a nice touch of class to the area.
You can visit nearby attractions before or after checking out the park, like the Music Center that's located at the top of the hill. Grand Park hosts regular events, farmers' markets and performances for the whole family to enjoy so chances are that something will be happening while you're here. From the park's highest point, you can admire views spanning as far as the Los Angeles City Hall. The community terrace is a good place to stop and have lunch, and if you ever get too hot you can go wading in the pool of the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain.
Lake Hollywood Park
As you may have guessed from its name, you'll find this one close to the famous Hollywood Sign and Hollywood Reservoir, just below Mount Lee. You can admire the bright white letters from a distance while you sit back on a shaded picnic table by the water, or even do some yoga in the open space. You'll find a small playground and trails where you can go hiking, and even running or biking is possible on the 3 mile long paved road that loops around the reservoir. Bring some food for roasting on the fire since the park has barbeque pits.
Dog owners are welcome to bring their furry friends to explore the park and jog around the grassy open space, as long as they remain on a leash. If you want to get the best picture of the Hollywood Sign you should come by during golden hour since the park is open all day from sunrise to sunset. Not too far away you'll find great attractions like The Last House on Mulholland and the charming Garden of Oz.
Echo Park is one of the best parks in Los Angeles and also one of the best known since it's been around since 1860. It used to be a reservoir, although now it's one of the top kid friendly parks in the city welcoming couples, families or solo visitors looking for somewhere to spend time outside. Inside the green space, you'll find colorful flower gardens, plenty of walking trails, and picnic areas where you can sit and enjoy a pre-packed lunch. Forgot to bring food? Not a problem since there are lots of alfresco dining cafes nearby that offer coffee, snacks, and fantastic views of the lake in the park.
If you want to cool off from the sun you can get out onto the water yourself by renting a row or swan boat from the onsite Wheel Fun Rentals found inside the park, and you'll probably cruise past some real swans enjoying the water as well. Echo Park plays host to lots of fun community events including the Dragon Boat Race and the Lotus Festival. It's a very beautiful spot with lotus flowers, geyser fountains, and the star of the park, the Lady of the Lake statue which was created and gifted to the city by Ada Mae Sharpless back in 1935.
This beautiful park dates back to 1886 which earns it the title of being the oldest park in the city. It covers 600 acres of space and on its grounds, you'll find palm groves and picnic areas where plenty of locals go to relax, as well as playgrounds and baseball fields for those who want to be active. A must visit spot in Elysian Park is the Chavez Ravine Arboretum which features an impressive variety of tree species, more than 100 to be exact. Included in that list are cape chestnut, kauri and tipu trees.
Bring your camera with you to the park since you'll get to admire stunning views of the Downtown Los Angeles area from Angels Point and could even spot landmarks like the Dodger Stadium and Hollywood Hills. You'll find this open space directly adjacent to the Police Academy so don't worry if you hear guns being fired because it's probably just officers practicing their aim at the firing range. We'll let you in on a small hidden gem in the area, if you go to the intersection of Angels Point Drive and Park Row Drive you'll find the Secret Swing Angels Point. There you'll spot a tree with a swing overlooking the gorgeous city below.
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area has it all when it comes to park features, from baseball and soccer fields to playgrounds and barbeque or picnic grounds. Bring all of your sports equipment since the basketball and volleyball courts are perfect for playing a friendly game with friends, and you'll also find scenic trails leading to some wonderful spots if that's more of your interest.
This park offers community centers and lakes where you can go fishing as well, and with so much to do it's easy to lose track of time and spend the entire day participating in outdoor activities. Beginning at this urban oasis you can follow the trails all the way to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook which is the perfect spot to admire the city below, from the Pacific Ocean to the San Gabriel Mountains.
Will Rogers State Historic Park
Will Rogers was an important man in Los Angeles being an actor, writer, and the very first honorary mayor of Beverly Hills. Inside the park, you can see his former ranch home which has been preserved since the 1930s, and free guided tours of the property are offered if you're interested.
The entirety of the grounds span 186 acres and are quite large, with plenty of hiking trails for you to discover. One in particular will bring you to a fantastic lookout called Inspiration Point, and the Backbone Trail through the Santa Monica mountains and Rivas Canyon Trail are well worth exploring just to enjoy the lush greenery, too. During the weekend you'll spot polo matches being held in the park and if you're interested in taking horseback riding lessons, that can be done here as well.
Explore the urban wilderness in Los Angeles, CA
Now that you know about some of the green spaces around Los Angeles County you're ready to get out and start exploring them. There's just something about spending time in nature that makes you feel good, plus it's a great way to boost your immune system and do some physical exercise.
Most of the parks mentioned above can be enjoyed by people of all ages and capabilities, but if you're somebody who likes to go trekking and challenge themselves then you might want to go somewhere with more hiking trails. Check out the best hikes in Los Angeles to get an idea of what kind of landscapes there are around LA. Would you rather spend time in the sands by the coast? With popular places like Venice Beach and other beaches near Los Angeles, you'll have lots of opportunities for swimming in the ocean and tanning in the sun as well.