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The Best Public Parks in Los Angeles

March 22, 2022
Just like any other big city, Los Angeles has many parks you ought to check out. They may not be like New York's Central Park, the scenic grounds in Paris, or the beautiful gardens in Rome, but they're just as worthwhile as the rest of them. Perhaps it's because parks are the last thing on your mind when you're in LA. Since it's where Hollywood is, you're more focused on the celebrities who live and work here, the movie-related attractions, and more. However, when you want to take a break from all of that, these LA parks are the best escapes you'll find in the city!

The Best Public Parks in Los Angeles

Griffith Park

Griffith Park is undoubtedly one of, if not the most famous public park in LA. And it's not because it's a regular old park with grassy fields and picnic tables. Sure, Griffith Park does have all of these recreational features where families and friends can spend the day having fun, but this place's popularity is mostly because of its iconic observatory. The Griffith Observatory is among the go-to tourist attractions in Los Angeles, rivaling even the Hollywood hotspots that many celebrities frequent. In fact, you say that this observatory is a celebrity itself since it's been featured in many movies before. Doesn't that sound like a place worth visiting?
The Best Public Parks in Los Angeles
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lake Hollywood Park

Another LA park that features an icon is Lake Hollywood Park, located along Canyon Lake Drive. Although technically speaking, the 'icon' in question isn't exactly in the park, per se, but rather you can see it from the park. And who or what is this aforementioned icon, you ask? Why, the city's famous Hollywood sign, of course! You can see it from various other parts and even neighborhoods in LA, but both locals and tourists agree that Lake Hollywood Park is the best place to see it in its full glory. It's practically the next best thing to going to the iconic sign yourself.
The Best Public Parks in Los Angeles
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Grand Park

Stretching from Grand Avenue to Spring Street in Downtown LA, Grand Park is a recreational paradise worth checking out. When you have a free day in the city and you want to spend it hanging out with friends and family, this is one of the best places to visit. There's always something going on in this 12-acre patch of grassy fields, tall trees, and nice shrubberies. There are often concerts, festivals, fairs, live performances, and more held here. And even when there aren't, you can still relax with a picnic or a nice game of football, rugby, dodgeball, and more. What's not to love?
The Best Public Parks in Los Angeles
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ PKM

Exposition Park

More than just your average recreational park in Downtown LA, Exposition Park is a treasure trove of must-see attractions. This place includes the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the California African American Museum, the California Science Center, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. What a doozy, right? This is the kind of place where one day isn't enough for you to explore and check out all that's in store. You'll likely need a week, at least! And don't worry! Even if you don't plan to visit all these museums and whatnot, there are still some spots within Exposition Park where you can simply relax.
The Best Public Parks in Los Angeles
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ MikeJiroch

Elysian Park

Elysian Park is as historic as it can get! Not only was it part of the 1932 Summer Olympics when Los Angeles hosted the historic world event, but it also features Portola Trail, named after Don Gaspar de Portolá, a Spanish military officer and the first-ever governor of Upper California. He was also the founder of Monterey and San Diego. You can learn more about him when you go to the marker at the trailhead, which itself commemorates the spot where Portolá camped near the Los Angeles River. And when you do get to the higher peaks of the park, you also get to enjoy amazing views of the LA skyline!
The Best Public Parks in Los Angeles
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Fizzy+lifting

Barnsdall Art Park

Perched atop Olive Hill, which itself is near the famous Hollywood Boulevard, Barnsdall Art Park is unlike any other in the city. It's a go-to park for many artists and art-loves alike thanks to the many museums and galleries that make up this 11-acre public space. Its pièce de résistance, Hollyhock House, the former residence of Aline Barnsdall who once owned this park as her private property, is among the more underrated tourist hotspots of LA. The structure itself is great, but the grassy fields that surround it offer a great spot to hang out and see some stunning views of the rest of the city and the famous Hollywood sign.
The Best Public Parks in Los Angeles
Source: Barnsdall.org/

Tongva Park

Arguably, what makes Tongva Park worthy to be part of this list of the best public parks in Los Angeles is that it's near the ocean. A former parking lot-turned-coastal park that's right beside the Pacific Ocean, it's a great recreational spot for when you want to embrace the city's tropical vibe. And it helps that the place is filled with palm trees by the dozen. Not to mention the salty sea breezes that'll brush against your face on a windy day. The atmosphere and vibe here are just right that you'll want to spend the entire day unwinding and having a good time.
The Best Public Parks in Los Angeles
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Echo Park Lake

And finally, there's Echo Park Lake! This 13-acre former water reservoir-turned-recreational park offers a lot of fun and excitement for the entire family. The little ones will enjoy rowing boats across the lake, all while the parents sit back and enjoy the freshwater breezes. Meanwhile, couples can get all lovey-dovey on the swan-shaped pedal boats—a staple date activity in Echo Park Lake. And when the day is through, don't forget to take a selfie with the 'Lady of The Lake' statue to commemorate your great time here! It's become a tradition for many visitors!
The Best Public Parks in Los Angeles
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Alaiben

Despite how busy of a city it is, the best public parks in Los Angeles will always be there to provide recreation, botanical bliss, natural beauty, and more. They're the perfect escapes from you want to take a break from the rest of the world.