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In the foreground is a tree, grass, and a fence. In the distance is a large body of water.
That lawn is begging for a blanket.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Los Angeles picnic spots: 20 of the best places to lay out a blanket

Fix a fancy basket of snacks and head outside

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That lawn is begging for a blanket.
| Getty Images/iStockphoto

In the warmer temperatures of summer, chances are many Angelenos are going to eat at least one meal outside. Los Angeles’s parks, beaches, and other open-air venues offer an array of ideal spots for eating al fresco. This map tracks 20 of the most scenic and pleasant spaces for picnicking. (Those looking for great shops to load up a picnic basket might find some help here.)

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Lake Balboa Park

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Valley dwellers don't have to drive over the hill to have a lakeside picnic or cruise around that lake in a pedal boat that looks like a swan. Pets are ok here (provided they’re on a leash) and there are picnic tables, as well as lots of spots for a more traditional-style, on-the-grass picnic.

Valley Village Park

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With shaded play areas for the kids, covered and uncovered picnic areas (no reservations needed), and plenty of trees, this park has it all. The park is located in a residential area, giving it a neighborhood-park vibe, and does not allow bounce houses.

The Old Zoo at Griffith Park

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Picnic benches and grills and old animal cages to explore: everything needed for a memorable outdoor eating experience. This corner of Griffith Park could be a pre-hike or post-hike snack spot, or simply a good place to lounge. Good driving and zoo-locating directions can be found here.

Lake Hollywood Park

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A great spot to picnic that allows your dog to have a good time too. This unofficial dog park has a few picnic tables and more spots for just throwing down a blanket. The dogs can roam while the humans nosh—everybody wins.

Barnsdall Art Park

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How about a picnic in the shadow of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House? There’s plenty of grass to put down a blanket at this popular East Hollywood park. If you’re looking for a quiet picnic at dusk, take note: Friday nights through August are extra busy, thanks to a very popular wine tasting series.

Ernest E. Debs Regional Park

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At the grassy, shaded picnic area at Debs Park, there is always an ice cream truck in the parking lot (at least one!) and there are 20 barbecues on-site. If that’s not a recipe for summer fun, what is?

Chavez Ravine Arboretum

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Elysian Park is full of good spots to picnic, but this part of the park is also an arboretum, containing more than 100 different types of rare trees, many of which "are the oldest and largest of their kind in California and even the United States."

Pan Pacific Park

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The rolling hills and barbecue pits of Pan Pacific Park are great for a classic summer picnic. There are also large expanses of grass for post-food sport including pick-up soccer games.

A park lawn. There are trees surrounding the clearing. There is a colorful picnic blanket under one of the trees in the foreground.
A picnic on a sunny day in Pan Pacific Park.
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Holmby Park

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This flat, grassy park has plenty of space for throwing down a blanket. Then, follow that picnic up with some lawn bowling—this park has it.

Echo Park Lake

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This spot is bustling almost all the time, and with good reason. The tall trees and waterfront picnicking opportunities make this a great outdoor eating spot. Plus, pedal boats!

In the foreground are plants and grass. There is a body of water with a fountain. In the distance is a city skyline with tall buildings and skyscrapers.

Los Angeles State Historic Park

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Chinatown’s 34-acre Los Angeles State Historic Park has new pathways, bathrooms, and picnic areas thanks to a renovation that was completed in 2017. For now, this might be a better spot for an early morning or evening picnic, since all the newly planted trees don't provide a ton of shade.

Park benches are on both sides of a wide path in Los Angeles State Historic Park. In the distance is a city skyline with tall buildings. Alissa Walker

The La Brea Tar Pits Museum Lawn

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Yeah, it’s close to the stinky tar pits, but when the wind’s blowing right, you wouldn't even know that. The proximity to the Page Museum and LACMA makes this a good spot for a date picnic. The gentle incline of some of the lawns makes it a similarly solid place for good old-fashioned hill rolling.

In the foreground is a lawn and trees. In the distance is a building with a flagpole in front of it.
Lots of good picnic spots on the Page Museum lawn.
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Vista Hermosa Park

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True to its name, Vista Hermosa offers a beautiful view. The park somehow manages to make visitors feel like they’re somewhere else, away from it all, despite the DTLA skyline clearly in sight. The park has rolling hills, picnic tables, a giant snake sculpture for the kids to climb, and little forested walking paths.

Roxbury Memorial Park

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Two large playgrounds mean outdoor eaters with children can either get the kids good and tired before, after, or during the outing. Basketball courts and croquet greens are available and drop-in only, so no need to fuss with reservations.

Grand Park

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Downtown’s favorite park offers a playground and plenty of scenic urban space. Close to public transit, food trucks, and even a Starbucks, it's great for when you want to have a picnic that doesn't require much planning to pull off.

In the foreground are hot pink picnic benches on a large lawn. In the distance is a tall white building.
The park’s hot pink benches are the perfect spot for an impromptu outdoor meal.
Shutterstock

Palisades Park

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Ocean breezes! Palm trees! What a California place to have a picnic. This 26.4-acre park stretches along Ocean Avenue (between Colorado Avenue and Adelaide Drive) and gets a lot of foot traffic because walking paths run throughout. There are designated picnic areas, but also plenty of good unofficial spots to lay down a blanket.

In the foreground is a green lawn with trees and a wooden fence. In the distance is a sunset over the ocean.
Palisades Park at sunset.
Cameran Ashraf/Getty Images

Exposition Park Rose Garden

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The area around the Rose Garden at Exposition Park has lots of good places to just plop down for a picnic among the flowers. If full sun is not desired, there are large, mature trees between Exposition Boulevard and the garden, so eat in the shade and then slap on the sunblock for a walk through the flowers.

A rose garden with assorted rose varieties. Two people walk on a path in the garden.
Exposition Park Rose Garden
LA Times via Getty Images

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

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This 401-acre hilltop park on La Cienega has trails, a Japanese garden, soccer fields, and plenty of spots for "passive recreation" (aka eating outdoors). The park has 100 picnic tables and 60 barbecue grills scattered throughout.

In the foreground are rocks and a creek. In the distance are trees. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tongva Park

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Tongva Park in Santa Monica was designed by the same people who did New York’s High Line—James Corner Field Operations—but it has its own kind of cool glamour. The six-plus-acre park has picnic tables, along with "winding walkways, rolling hills, expansive lawns ... lots of play areas for kids," and beachy breezes.

Abalone Cove Shoreline Park

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This oceanfront park in Rancho Palos Verdes offers stunning sea views from the bluffside picnic area. Chow down, then head off for a hike or a bit of tidepooling on the seashore below.

Lake Balboa Park

Valley dwellers don't have to drive over the hill to have a lakeside picnic or cruise around that lake in a pedal boat that looks like a swan. Pets are ok here (provided they’re on a leash) and there are picnic tables, as well as lots of spots for a more traditional-style, on-the-grass picnic.

Valley Village Park

With shaded play areas for the kids, covered and uncovered picnic areas (no reservations needed), and plenty of trees, this park has it all. The park is located in a residential area, giving it a neighborhood-park vibe, and does not allow bounce houses.

The Old Zoo at Griffith Park

Picnic benches and grills and old animal cages to explore: everything needed for a memorable outdoor eating experience. This corner of Griffith Park could be a pre-hike or post-hike snack spot, or simply a good place to lounge. Good driving and zoo-locating directions can be found here.

Lake Hollywood Park

A great spot to picnic that allows your dog to have a good time too. This unofficial dog park has a few picnic tables and more spots for just throwing down a blanket. The dogs can roam while the humans nosh—everybody wins.

Barnsdall Art Park

How about a picnic in the shadow of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House? There’s plenty of grass to put down a blanket at this popular East Hollywood park. If you’re looking for a quiet picnic at dusk, take note: Friday nights through August are extra busy, thanks to a very popular wine tasting series.

Ernest E. Debs Regional Park

At the grassy, shaded picnic area at Debs Park, there is always an ice cream truck in the parking lot (at least one!) and there are 20 barbecues on-site. If that’s not a recipe for summer fun, what is?

Chavez Ravine Arboretum

Elysian Park is full of good spots to picnic, but this part of the park is also an arboretum, containing more than 100 different types of rare trees, many of which "are the oldest and largest of their kind in California and even the United States."

Pan Pacific Park

A park lawn. There are trees surrounding the clearing. There is a colorful picnic blanket under one of the trees in the foreground.
A picnic on a sunny day in Pan Pacific Park.
Shutterstock

The rolling hills and barbecue pits of Pan Pacific Park are great for a classic summer picnic. There are also large expanses of grass for post-food sport including pick-up soccer games.

A park lawn. There are trees surrounding the clearing. There is a colorful picnic blanket under one of the trees in the foreground.
A picnic on a sunny day in Pan Pacific Park.
Shutterstock

Holmby Park

This flat, grassy park has plenty of space for throwing down a blanket. Then, follow that picnic up with some lawn bowling—this park has it.

Echo Park Lake

In the foreground are plants and grass. There is a body of water with a fountain. In the distance is a city skyline with tall buildings and skyscrapers.

This spot is bustling almost all the time, and with good reason. The tall trees and waterfront picnicking opportunities make this a great outdoor eating spot. Plus, pedal boats!

In the foreground are plants and grass. There is a body of water with a fountain. In the distance is a city skyline with tall buildings and skyscrapers.

Los Angeles State Historic Park

Park benches are on both sides of a wide path in Los Angeles State Historic Park. In the distance is a city skyline with tall buildings. Alissa Walker

Chinatown’s 34-acre Los Angeles State Historic Park has new pathways, bathrooms, and picnic areas thanks to a renovation that was completed in 2017. For now, this might be a better spot for an early morning or evening picnic, since all the newly planted trees don't provide a ton of shade.

Park benches are on both sides of a wide path in Los Angeles State Historic Park. In the distance is a city skyline with tall buildings. Alissa Walker

The La Brea Tar Pits Museum Lawn

In the foreground is a lawn and trees. In the distance is a building with a flagpole in front of it.
Lots of good picnic spots on the Page Museum lawn.
Getty Images

Yeah, it’s close to the stinky tar pits, but when the wind’s blowing right, you wouldn't even know that. The proximity to the Page Museum and LACMA makes this a good spot for a date picnic. The gentle incline of some of the lawns makes it a similarly solid place for good old-fashioned hill rolling.

In the foreground is a lawn and trees. In the distance is a building with a flagpole in front of it.
Lots of good picnic spots on the Page Museum lawn.
Getty Images

Vista Hermosa Park

True to its name, Vista Hermosa offers a beautiful view. The park somehow manages to make visitors feel like they’re somewhere else, away from it all, despite the DTLA skyline clearly in sight. The park has rolling hills, picnic tables, a giant snake sculpture for the kids to climb, and little forested walking paths.

Roxbury Memorial Park

Two large playgrounds mean outdoor eaters with children can either get the kids good and tired before, after, or during the outing. Basketball courts and croquet greens are available and drop-in only, so no need to fuss with reservations.

Grand Park

In the foreground are hot pink picnic benches on a large lawn. In the distance is a tall white building.
The park’s hot pink benches are the perfect spot for an impromptu outdoor meal.
Shutterstock

Downtown’s favorite park offers a playground and plenty of scenic urban space. Close to public transit, food trucks, and even a Starbucks, it's great for when you want to have a picnic that doesn't require much planning to pull off.

In the foreground are hot pink picnic benches on a large lawn. In the distance is a tall white building.
The park’s hot pink benches are the perfect spot for an impromptu outdoor meal.
Shutterstock

Palisades Park

In the foreground is a green lawn with trees and a wooden fence. In the distance is a sunset over the ocean.
Palisades Park at sunset.
Cameran Ashraf/Getty Images

Ocean breezes! Palm trees! What a California place to have a picnic. This 26.4-acre park stretches along Ocean Avenue (between Colorado Avenue and Adelaide Drive) and gets a lot of foot traffic because walking paths run throughout. There are designated picnic areas, but also plenty of good unofficial spots to lay down a blanket.

In the foreground is a green lawn with trees and a wooden fence. In the distance is a sunset over the ocean.
Palisades Park at sunset.
Cameran Ashraf/Getty Images

Exposition Park Rose Garden

A rose garden with assorted rose varieties. Two people walk on a path in the garden.
Exposition Park Rose Garden
LA Times via Getty Images

The area around the Rose Garden at Exposition Park has lots of good places to just plop down for a picnic among the flowers. If full sun is not desired, there are large, mature trees between Exposition Boulevard and the garden, so eat in the shade and then slap on the sunblock for a walk through the flowers.

A rose garden with assorted rose varieties. Two people walk on a path in the garden.
Exposition Park Rose Garden
LA Times via Getty Images

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

In the foreground are rocks and a creek. In the distance are trees. Getty Images/iStockphoto

This 401-acre hilltop park on La Cienega has trails, a Japanese garden, soccer fields, and plenty of spots for "passive recreation" (aka eating outdoors). The park has 100 picnic tables and 60 barbecue grills scattered throughout.

In the foreground are rocks and a creek. In the distance are trees. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tongva Park

Tongva Park in Santa Monica was designed by the same people who did New York’s High Line—James Corner Field Operations—but it has its own kind of cool glamour. The six-plus-acre park has picnic tables, along with "winding walkways, rolling hills, expansive lawns ... lots of play areas for kids," and beachy breezes.

Abalone Cove Shoreline Park

This oceanfront park in Rancho Palos Verdes offers stunning sea views from the bluffside picnic area. Chow down, then head off for a hike or a bit of tidepooling on the seashore below.