So you'd like to pack a meal and eat alfresco? You've come to the right city! Nestled within Los Angeles's concrete jungle are ample green spaces where picnic-goers can soak up the practically year-round California sunshine, feel their toes in the grass, and enjoy an array of views, from the ocean to the foothills to the cityscape. It's true that the beach also makes a tempting picnic spot, but strong ocean breezes and abundant sand can put a damper on enjoying your picnic fare. So, my recommendations are all parks or park-like patches that make for a classic picnic experience. Los Angeles parks may not be as expansive as, say, New York's Central Park or London's Hyde Park, but the diversity of smaller parks is noteworthy. These five picks all offer prime picnic settings and other perks, from a rose garden to an architectural landmark to lots of local color.
The team behind New York City's High Line brilliantly transformed a Santa Monica parking lot into a green oasis, replete with picnic tables, grassy lawns, and water features. The sculptural observation decks are ideal for catching views of the Pacific Ocean − it's a seaside picnic without sand in your food!
Stretching from City Hall to the Music Center, this sprawling, tiered park is a centerpiece of the recent downtown renaissance. Enjoy skyline views, interactive water fountains, and shady lawns. There's also a cultural calendar of live bands and food trucks, so you'll have a front row seat to the downtown action.
Silver Lake Meadow
This patch of green hugs the Silver Lake Reservoir, a glistening water source surrounded by gentle hills. It's a popular picnic spot for the artsy neighborhood crowd. You'll spy people strumming guitars, doing yoga, hanging out with their pooches (there's a dog park nearby), and enjoying San Gabriel Mountain views.
Barnsdall Art Park
Perched atop Olive Hill in the Los Feliz neighborhood, this tree-lined park affords awesome views of the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory. Combine a daytime picnic with a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House on park grounds. In the summer, pair your sunset picnic with Friday night wine tastings.
Exposition Rose Garden
The fragrant blossoms in this expansive rose garden make a sweet setting for an alfresco meal. Anchored by the central fountain, the sunken garden features 200 varieties of multicolored roses. Spread a blanket or grab a bench! Afterwards, check out the adjacent California Science Center or Natural History Museum.