There’s no better time than now to dine outdoors with your family—and any other members of your quarantine pod. While park playgrounds and facilities may still be off limits, you can still spread out a blanket and enjoy a meal al fresco on the grass. Read on to discover the best, most under-the-radar picnic destinations around LA.

Vista Hermosa Natural Park

This 10.5-acre park just outside of downtown features walking trails, streams, meadows and oak trees that offer plenty of shade for your picnic. (The park's tables and benches are currently off limits.) While you can't sit on the park's iconic bench (aka Tom's bench from 500 Days of Summer), you can still take in the views of the city skyline. 

100 N. Toluca St. 
Echo Park
Online: mrca.ca.gov

South Coast Botanic Garden

Looking to escape the heat in LA? Purchase tickets in advance and make a trip to this 87-acre garden on the the Palos Verdes Peninsula, where you'll find a koi pond, rose garden, flowering fruit trees and more. Picnics are permitted in designated areas, and with the garden open until 8p.m., you could even do dinner on the grounds. Tickets are $15 for adults; $5 for children 5-13; and free for children 4 and under.

26300 Crenshaw Blvd.
Palos Verdes
Online: southcoastbotanicgarden.org

The Old Zoo at Griffith Park

Admittedly, an abandoned zoo might not be the first place that comes to mind when choosing a picnic spot for little ones, but we promise your pint-sized explorers will totally dig it. This was the original site of the LA Zoo that opened in 1912 and later closed in 1966, but its remnants, including an empty bear grotto, stone caves, and old monkey cages still remain.

Insider tip: The Old Zoo can be a tad tricky to locate, but if you park in the lot next to the merry-go-round in Griffith Park, it's just a short hike up the hill nearby.

4730 Crystal Springs
Los Angeles
Online: laparks.org/griffithpark

Arlington Gardens in Pasadena

Pasadena's only dedicated public garden offers three acres of of native trees and plants to enjoy. Although there are benches and tables on the grounds, it's best to bring your own blanket and find a tucked-away spot for the sake of social distancing.

275 Arlington Dr.
Pasadena
Online: arlingtongardenpasadena.com

Augustus F. Hawkins Natural Park

This 8.5 acre park is an urban oasis, located on the corner of Slauson Ave. and Compton Ave. There's a short hiking trail, a pond (where kids might spot some ducks and turtles), and plenty of grassy areas for picnicking.

5790 Compton Ave.
South LA
Online: laparks.org

Wattles Mansion and Community Garden

Talk about hiding in plain sight: This destination is walking distance from the always-packed Runyon Canyon, but feels like a world away.

1850 N. Curson Ave. 
Hollywood
Online: laparks.org

–Shannan Rouss

feature image: dhanelle via Pixabay

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