SOuter California has great natural attractions, and Los Angeles has some of the most spectacular parks in the United States. From lush gardens and stunning hiking trails to tranquil lakeside recreation areas, there is something for all nature lovers to explore and enjoy in the city. While there are many options, the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation manages 181 sites throughout the city, the options below will point you in the right direction.
The best parks in Los Angeles
If you visit any of the parks listed below, please remember to take plenty of water with you. LA gets extremely hot and most of the trails are pretty exposed. Los Angeles (and all of California) can also be extremely dry in the summer and fall, so you'll likely get thirsty much faster than in other parts of the country. You also want a good pair.Shoes with decent traction.as many of the hikes around the Santa Monica Mountains are sandy and rocky (and sometimes quite steep).
Parque GriffithIt is one of the best parks in Los Angeles and a must for anyone visiting the City of Angels. With more than 4,000 acres of lush green space, Griffith Park is home to some of Los Angeles' most iconic attractions, including the Hollywood Sign and theObservatorio Griffith. It is the ideal place for an active day in Los Angeles.
Visitors can hike through rolling hills and dense forests or browse the unique shops at Griffith Park Village. And the famous observatory is completely free, and the bus from the Greek theater costs only 50 cents. By the way, the Greek is one of America's premier outdoor theaters and hosts concerts by top-tier stars throughout the year.
Home to more than 50 miles of hiking trails, Griffith Park is one of the best parks in Los Angeles for exploring the outdoors. From easy walks through chaparral-covered slopes to long hikes up steep ridges, there's something for hikers of all skill levels and interests. Be sure to check out popular hiking trails like this oneGriffith Park Hollywood Sign Trail(8.7 miles), which meanders along the Hollywood sign, and thezoo circuit(2.5 miles) bordering the remains of the old Hollywood Zoo.
Runyon Canyon Park is a popular park in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. The park covers 160 hectares and is known for itsHiking trails, which offer a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding mountains. Runyon Canyon Park is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and can get quite busy on weekends and during peak tourist season. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset and admission is free.
Runyon Canyon Park has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. The park is named after its previous owner, C.H. Runyon and was originally used as a sheep station. Today it is an important part of the Los Angeles community and a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
The park has several loop trails ranging from 0.5 miles to 2.5 miles, and there are also several longer hiking trails that lead to the highest point in the park, known as theindian rock. Depending on the trail, you may encounter a variety of plant and animal species, including coyotes, rattlesnakes, and a variety of bird species.
Granted, technically Bronson Caves is in Griffith Park, so maybe it shouldn't be considered one of the best parks in Los Angeles. But it's good enough to include it anyway. Bronson Caves, also known as "Bat Cave", is a natural cave in the Hollywood Hills. It is a popular destination for hikers and tourists and is easily accessible from the parking lot at the foot of the hills. The cave is located at the end of a short paved path and is open to the public from sunrise to sunset every day.
Bronson Caves is known for its unique geological formation consisting of a large tunnel-like cave approximately 100 feet long and 25 feet wide. The cave is made of volcanic rock and has a smooth, curved surface. Even cooler, it's all natural.
But the caves are not only known for their geological importance. The caves have been used as a filming location for a number of movies and TV shows, including the 1960s.bat ManTV series in which it served as the entrance to the Batcave (hence the nickname) and 2002The Scorpio King.While there, it's important to be mindful of the cave's delicate ecosystem and to follow the park's rules and regulations, including staying on designated trails and not disturbing any plants or animals.
Exposition Park is a large public park in South Los Angeles. The park covers more than 160 hectares and is home to a number of museums, cultural institutions, and recreational facilities.
Some of the notable attractions in Exposition Park are thecalifornia Science Center,where the space shuttle Endeavor is on permanent display, and whichLos Angeles County Museum of Natural History, which has one of the most impressive dinosaur rooms outside ofSmithsonianin dc. It is also home to theCalifornia African American Museum, with exhibits on African-American history, culture, and art; and the LA Memorial Coliseum, home of the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans football team (and former host of the 1984 Olympics).
Exposition Park also has a variety of recreational facilities including sports fields and fields, a lake, and several playgrounds and picnic areas. A popular destination for locals and visitors alike, the park is easily accessible by car or public transportation: just take the Los Angeles subway to the 37th Street/USC or Expo Park/USC stations. Admission to the park is free, but all museums require tickets.
Venice Beach is not actually a park, but it is a popular destination for outdoor recreation and is often referred to as a park, and many people still consider it one of the best parks in Los Angeles.
Venice Beach is a neighborhood on the city's Pacific coast. It is known for its sandy beach, which stretches along the coast for about two kilometers. The beach is a popular destination for swimming, sunbathing, and beach sports. It is also home to the famous Venice Beach boardwalk, teeming with street performers, vendors, and performers. In addition to the beach and boardwalk, Venice Beach also has a number of parks and recreational facilities, including basketball courts, handball courts, a skate park, and several playgrounds. And north of Venice Beach is famousSanta Monica Beach, with its famous amusement park on the pier (built in 1909).
The neighborhood is packed with some of the best restaurants and shops in Los Angeles, so plan to spend the day there, alternating between lounging on the beach and strolling the neighborhood's pretty old streets.
Topanga State Park
Topanga State Park is a large natural area in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles. Spread over 11,000 hectares, it is known for its diverse plant and animal life, hiking trails, and recreational facilities. Some of the best hiking trails in the park are theTemescal Canyon Trail(3.8 miles, 930 foot gain) and theSanta Ynez Wasserfallweg(2 miles, 200 foot gain). Both are quite popular so you won't have them to yourself, but they do offer some of the best views you'll find in Los Angeles.
Temescal Canyon offers great views of the Canyon itself and the Pacific Ocean overlooking Malibu. And the Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail climbs up a stream bed to a beautiful waterfall; It flows more in spring after winter rains, but can be a bit dry in late summer.
The das LA-Arboretum
The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden, also known as the LA Arboretum, is a 127-acre botanical garden. And while it's not technically one of the best parks in Los Angeles, it's pretty close, being in the suburb of Arcadia, less than 10 minutes east of Pasadena. The garden features a wide variety of plants and flowers, including native and exotic species, as well as a number of historical and cultural attractions.
Some of the park's gardens include themed gardens such as a cactus garden, rose garden, palm garden, and gardens inspired by countries around the world. The park also has several historic buildings, including the Queen Anne Cottage, the Santa Anita Depot, and the John Marshall House, and peacocks and ducks roam the grounds.
The Arboretum hosts a number of special events throughout the year, including musical performances, outdoor movie screenings, and educational programs. Around Christmas it hosts “landscape of lights', with creative lighting above the trees and walkways in the garden. It is open daily and tickets are $15 for adults. While you can buy the tickettickets online, you must purchase tickets for the trolley rides ($8 per person) upon arrival.
Where to stay in Los Angeles
Traffic in Los Angeles can get pretty bad, so don't book a hotel with the idea of driving where you want to go. Instead, it's better to choose a hotel that's close to your destination or very close to a subway station, which is usually much faster than trying to drive.
We hope you enjoy the spaces and rooms that we recommend! FYI, Matador may receive a small commission via the links on this page if you choose to book a stay. The prices indicated are correct at the time of publication.
The Hollywood Roosevelt: a luxury hotel with deep Hollywood roots
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Arguably the most famous hotel in Los Angeles, this hotel sits on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was built in 1927 and since then it has been a symbol of the city. It has a variety of dining options, including a poolside bar with a grill, a 24-hour coffee shop, and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city. It's also only about a 10 minute walk to Runyon Canyon.
The Dixie Hollywood: an affordable stay on Hollywood Boulevard
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The Dixie Hollywood is a budget hotel (starting at around $179 per night) with an outdoor pool, about a 15-minute walk from Griffith Park. It has the feel of a 1950's hotel that has since been modernized for a chic, urban feel. It's also just a block from a subway station.
Any hotel with a rooftop pool
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The city gets sweltering in the summer, and strolling through some of LA's best parks is so much more bearable when you know you can head back to a fancy rooftop pool.Matadorrounded up eight of theThe best hotels in Los Angeles with rooftop pools, including trendy hotels like the Ace Hotel and Andaz West Hollywood.
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