While Apr. 23 might be National Picnic Day (yes it’s a thing), long, sunny days mean it’s always a good idea to grab a picnic basket and blanket and set up a feast at one the best picnic spots in Los Angeles. We’ve pulled together some extra special gems that will also keep littles entertained so you can actually relax. Scroll below to check out our favorites.
Grand Park is a peaceful oasis in the middle of bustling downtown and is one of our top choices for a picnic. With plenty of open green space to lay a blanket down, you’ll have a spectacular view of City Hall and can maybe even pop by for a tour of their observation deck after you eat. There’s a fantastic playground with a tunnel slide and hills that feel straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.
The other half of the park offers multiple bright pink tables and chairs that you can rearrange and push together to create an ideal dining spot. During warmer months, kids will go gaga over playing in the gigantic Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain (also happens to be one of our favorite splash pads) and you'll go gaga over the Starbucks just steps away.
Food Tip: There are no grills inside in the park and no cooking is permitted, so be sure to bring food that’s ready to devour.
Travel Tip: Instead of paying steep prices for parking downtown, take the Metro Red or Purple Line to the Civic Center Grand Park stop.
220 N. Grand Ave.
Echo Park Lake
What’s better than picnicking while enjoying cool lakeside breezes as giant swans float by? Uh...nothing! Echo Park Lake is one of our absolute go-to's for picnics in the city. There’s ample room to spread out, as well as picnic tables and grills (which get snagged up quickly, so be sure to get there early).
For more impromptu picnics, swing by Beacon, Echo Park Lake’s revived boathouse restaurant, that features a delish variety of sustainable and locally-produced coffees, breakfast and lunch options, as well as a kids’ menu. After you nosh, rent one of the famous swan pedal boats for fun trip around the fountain or check out the playground nearby and let kiddos blow off that extra energy.
751 Echo Park Ave.
If you’re searching for a prime picnic spot in the mid-city area, look no further than LACMA. There's tons of beautiful green space to roll out a blanket and relax. Kids have plenty of room to ride their scooters and bikes or play a game of frisbee without running over passersby, and lots of trees offer much-needed shade.
After your meal, you can take the little ones for a leisurely stroll through the museum or La Brea Tarpits next door. Soon, the new Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum will be open within walking distance as well. And what tyke can resist a game of hide-and-seek at LACMA’s famous Urban Light Exhibit? From Apr. through Nov., a Friday evening picnic may be more your jam (literally) as LACMA welcomes some of the finest jazz musicians in the city for free performances outdoors.
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
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.
Picnic tables are located in some of the former animal exhibit areas, making it one of the most unique outdoor dining experiences in town. After lunch, your tots will definitely be chomping at the bit to check everything out. 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
Will Rogers State Historic Park
If you have horse lovers in the house, then giddy-up to Will Rogers State Historic Park for a picnic with the ponies. Will Rogers Polo Club season (May – Sept.) is the perfect time to lay down a blanket, throw on your finest Derby hats and snag a front row seat to all the chukking fun. There's plenty of room on the gorgeous lawn surrounding the polo field, as well as picnic tables in front of the ranch house. The park also features a roping and training area where guests can watch the horses being put through their paces, as well as tons of hiking trails to explore and tours of Will Roger’s ranch house.
Good to Know: Dogs are welcome in the park, but must be leashed and in control of their owners at all times; parking costs $12 per car for entry to the park.
1501 Will Rogers State Park Rd.
Being close to the beach sounds pretty darn good right about now, and Tongva Park in Santa Monica is a swell place to picnic. With lots of shaded picnic tables, plenty of grassy areas, lovely gardens, a fantastic children’s play area with rock climbing hills and amazing slides, as well as a splash pad, your kiddos will be entertained for hours.
Tongva Park is also only a five-minute walk to the Santa Monica Pier, so you could literally spend a day in this part of town and make it a mini getaway. If you don’t regularly call the Westside home, we recommend taking the Metro Expo Line that lets out near the park.
1615 Ocean Park Ave.
—Emi Ruzzin & Jennifer O’Brien, feature image: staffordhills via Pixabay
To see what Red Tricycle Editors are up to this weekend, follow us on Instagram!