Parks in Los Angeles, USA
Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Dr. Spanning over 4,300 acres, Griffith Park is the tenth-largest municipally owned park in the United States and the second largest city park in California. Situated in the Los Feliz neighborhood in East Los Angeles, it’s a great place for hikes, picnics or hanging around with friends. It’s also home to the Griffith Observatory and the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. The park’s hiking trails lead up to Mulholland Drive, and provide great views of the city. One of the main hiking trails is located on Bronson Ave. The street will end leading up to the trail. Griffith Park has several options for kids, including the L.A. Zoo; “Travel Town,” which is a free exhibition of old trains and model trains with trains rides for children; the Autry Western Museum; pony rides; a golf course; driving range; horseback riding; and a Christmas light drive in December (expect traffic).
Exposition Park is surrounded by Figueroa Street to the east, King Boulevard to the south, Vermont Avenue to the west, and Exposition Boulevard to the north. In 1909, California’s Sixth District Agricultural Association and the county and city of Los Angeles agreed to transform Agricultural Park (renamed Exposition Park in 1910) into an exposition building and armory. In return, the county would construct and operate a history and art museum and the city would maintain the grounds.
Grand Park 200 N. Grand Ave. Grand Park was built in 2012 as part of the redevelopment of Downtown Los Angeles. Spanning 12 acres, it stretches from the Music Center to City Hall. Visitors can use a series of stairs, ramps and sloping walkways to travel through the park. The park provides seating and green areas but is also used for civic events. Among its highlights is the restored Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain, a performance lawn and a terrace with drought resistant plants. In this highly urban landscape, Grand Park offers an intimate, garden-like environment.
Mulholland Drive. This famous road is worth a drive if you have your own transport. It’s the setting for endless movies and first kisses, and provides great views over the city. The easiest way to enter is to head north up Highland Ave into the Cahuenga Pass – you’ll come to a turnoff to your left that is signed.
Will Rogers State Historic Park, 1501 Will Rogers State Park Rd, Pacific Palisades. Named after the beloved actor, Will Rogers built a ranch on the land overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains. Today the ranch and the surrounding 168 acres of land that he purchased are part of the park and open to the public, including tours of the 31-room ranch house. While the area boasts everything from stables to a polo field and golf course, the stunning hiking trails that offer a 2-mile hike to Inspiration Point are always a huge draw. The horse trail rides are also extremely popular.
Tongva Park, 1685 Main St. Santa Monica. Opened in November 2013 in Santa Monica overlooking the ocean, Tongva Park’s traverses 6.2 acres and cost just over $42 million. The park boasts a series of winding paths, observation points, picnic areas, water features and a kids’ playground. Leashed dogs are also welcome. The park has seven entrances and highlights native plants, green gathering places and uniquely shaped climbing equipment in the kids’ park. One of the park’s highlights is Observation Hill. Standing at 18 feet, it offers stunning views of the ocean and the Santa Monica Pier. At night, the park is lit up with LED displays.
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, 4100 S. La Cienega Blvd. Located in Baldwin Hills, Kenneth Hahn is a green oasis in a bustling urban landscape. Spanning 338 acres, the area offers landscaped areas, picnic sites, a fishing lake, lotus center and five miles of trails. It has some of the most breathtaking views of the city and die-hard exercise enthusiasts and casual walkers alike regularly traverse the trails. There’s also a Japanese Garden, and baseball and soccer fields.
Macarthur Park, 2230 W. 6th St.. Situated in Westlake and named after General Douglas MacArthur, today the park is listed as a Historic Monument. Often seen in movies and television shows, the park’s signature lake situated on the south side is always a huge draw. On the north side the park boasts a soccer field, a kids’ playground, an amphitheater and the Levitt Pavilion, which hosts free summer concerts. Jimmy Webb made MacArthur Park famous in his song of the same name in 1968.
The Wisdom Tree is about a 40-minute walk up Burbank Peak about 15-minutes west of the Hollywood sign. After a huge wildfire in 2007 destroyed hundreds of acres the Wisdom Tree was left standing. From the top is a heart stopping view of Los Angeles. You can also find a box of notebooks by the tree with hikers hopes, dreams, and thoughts with pencils to write your own. It’s a very inclined hike so come prepared with plenty of water and good shoes.
Disney California Adventure Park 1313 Disneyland Dr., Anaheim Opened just across the road from Disneyland in 2001, California Adventure Park is designed to reflect California’s history. The 72-acre park is divided into seven “lands” including Cars Land from Disney’s Pixar studios, Hollywood Land and A Bug’s Land. Check out how Disney movies are made at the Disney Animation building and learn how to draw your very own Disney character sketch. If your stomach can handle it, take the California Screaming’ rollercoaster or the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. For those who don’t like to live on the edge there are plenty of gentler rides, too. Ticket prices are the same as for Disneyland. However, combined Disneyland and California Adventure passes can also be purchased.
Disneyland Park 1313 Disneyland Dr., Anaheim The happiest place on earth is located in Anaheim in Orange County. Walt Disney’s wonderland for kids and kids-at-heart opened in 1955 and people from around the world have flocked in droves to visit the 160-acre park ever since. The park is divided into eight separate themes, so there’s something for everyone. Head down Main Street U.S.A. or check out Mickey Mouse’s Toontown. Visit the famous “It’s a Small World” and take a spin in the teacups. Kids delight in seeing their favorite Disney characters wandering the grounds and every night there’s a fireworks display. For daredevils try the stomach lurching Space Mountain rollercoaster or the wet-and-wild Splash Mountain ride.
Knott’s Berry Farm 8039 Beach Blvd. Buena Park This 160-acre theme park opened in 1940 and has been drawing crowds ever since. It offers plenty of thrill rides, and scary roller coaster rides including the terrifying Rip Tide that reaches heights of 59 feet before spinning you in two directions. However, it also provides plenty of fun for those not willing to live on the edge, with more traditional Ferris Wheels and Merry-Go-Rounds. The farm’s slow rotating Sky Cabin also offers stunning 360-degree views over the area.
Six Flags Magic Mountain 26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia Situated slightly north of Los Angeles in Valencia, Six Flags Magic Mountain opened in 1971 and spans 272 acres. It’s a place where die-hard roller coaster fans flock year-round for some of the scariest, heart-stopping rides including the Apocalypse that will take you on a 95-foot drop and the Green Lantern ride that will flip you 360 degrees. There are, of course, gentler rides including Merry-Go-Rounds and the kiddie treat – Pepe Le Pew’s Tea Party. Discounts are available for advance purchase tickets.
Universal Studios Hollywood. 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City Opened in 1964, Universal Studios is indeed home to many well-known American television shows and movies and the studio tours take you onto movie and TV sets, and show you behind-the-scenes action. However, the studio also has its own amusement park. Many of the rides have been created to highlight some of the most beloved shows in celluloid history including the Simpsons ride, the Shrek 4-D ride, the Revenge of the Mummy ride and the Jurassic Park ride where you’ll be confronted by dinosaurs including a 50-foot T-Rex and be taken on a death defying 84-foot drop. The Jurassic Park ride uses 1.5 million gallons water. Prepare to get a little wet.