Top 10 Parks in Los Angeles, CA: Playgrounds, Parks & Trails

Best Parks in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is home to a grand world of parks to uncover, from hidden gems to crowd favorites and everything in between. While Los Angeles’ best beaches and attractions, like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, garner the most attention, the city’s parks are beloved treasures with much to offer. Whether you crave tranquil greenery, outdoor adventures, or spots to share with your pet, the city’s parks truly deliver something special.

Highlights of LA’s Pristine Parks

  • Griffith Park offers a natural escape within the city with hiking trails like the Wisdom Tree Trail, which provides stunning city views.
  • Echo Park Lake serves as a bustling community hub, offering activities like swan boat rentals, cultural events, and scenic spots for relaxation, while several LA parks cater to dog owners with designated off-leash areas like Silver Lake Reservoir and Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park.
  • Los Angeles parks offer a variety of unique experiences, from historic and cultural sites like La Brea Tar Pits and Will Rogers State Historic Park to kid-friendly spaces like Beverly Hills Gardens and Polliwog Park.

Griffith Park

Imagine a verdant oasis in the heart of Los Angeles, where the urban landscape seamlessly blends with the untamed wilderness. Welcome to Griffith Park, a place where you can immerse yourself in nature’s splendor without stepping out of the city.

The park's elevation range is from 384 feet to 1,625 feet, offering unbeatable views and miles of trails to explore on foot or horseback. But Griffith Park's real magic lies in its diverse ecosystem, which is home to walnut, oak, mahogany, sage scrub, toyon, and manzanita, among other indigenous plants.

And it’s not just the flora that’s fascinating—the Fern Dell Nature Preserve is a wildlife haven home to butterflies, birds, mule deer, bobcats, lizards, frogs, and more. This urban wilderness, bordered by Glendale to the east and the Burbank community to the north, promises a unique adventure with every visit.

Hiking Trails and More

Griffith Park has a special treat in store for hiking enthusiasts. The Wisdom Tree Trail—a favorite among locals and tourists alike—beckons with its solitary pine tree, a beacon of resilience after the 2007 wildfires.

As you hike up this short but steep trail, you’ll find yourself standing on the brink of breathtaking vistas, with the expansive cityscape spread out before you. It’s a sight that will make you stop, breathe, and soak in the beauty of nature’s grandeur.

The Griffith Park Trails are diverse and plentiful, with a new adventure awaiting each visit. Griffith Park is also home to the LA Zoo, The Greek Theatre, and the Griffith Observatory, which provides some of the best views in Los Angeles, making it a must-visit. 

Beverly Hills Gardens and Parks

Enjoy a Day at Beverly Gardens Park

Nestled among the glitz and glamor of Beverly Hills are Coldwater Canyon Park and Beverly Gardens Park—two beautiful parks that promise a memorable backdrop for outdoor fun.

Located at 1100 North Beverly Drive, Coldwater Canyon Park offers over five acres of landscaped greenery with amenities like a jogging track, a playground, a water fountain, shaded seating, and picnic table rentals. Simply put, it’s a delightful retreat.

Just a mile and a half away, Beverly Gardens Park is home to the iconic Beverly Hills sign and lily pond—a classic photo op. As you stroll through nearly two miles of manicured landscapes, you’ll come across sculptures, themed gardens, two fountains, and a decomposed granite jogging and walking path. Beverly Gardens Park underwent a comprehensive restoration in 2014, and it remains a testament to Beverly Hills’ commitment to preserving its natural beauty.

Echo Park Lake

Nestled in the heart of Echo Park, just blocks from Downtown Los Angeles, this beautiful lake offers an experience as unique as the community. Picture yourself gently gliding on the water, the sun warming your skin, the soft splashing of oars breaking the serene silence as you explore the lake on a swan boat rental.

But Echo Park Lake is more than just a picturesque spot for unwinding. It’s a lively hub for eclectic live music, movie nights, and art events, adding to the charm of the Echo Park community. And when you’re not soaking in the vibrant local culture, you can take strolls around the lake or enjoy a relaxing outdoor meal at one of the available picnic tables.

Echo Park is a community experience that will make you fall in love with Los Angeles's local charm.

La Brea Tar Pits and Hancock Park

Another fixture of Los Angeles, Hancock Park allows residents and visitors to step back in time with the La Brea Tar Pits. This globally renowned Ice Age fossil site is the only one being actively excavated in an urban setting, making it a must-visit for history buffs. As you wander through the La Brea Tar Pits Museum in LA’s Miracle Mile neighborhood, you’ll come across fossils from over 100 excavations, showcasing species like mammoths, sloths, and a variety of microfossils.

With play areas featuring Ice Age replicas, paths to explore around the excavation site, and the famous bubbling Lake Pit, there’s so much to check out at Hancock Park. And the best part? Admission to the park itself is free, making it a perfect destination for an educational day out.

Palisades Park

Enjoy a Day at Palisades Park

Overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean in beautiful Santa Monica, Palisades Park spans more than 26 acres along Ocean Avenue. As you relax on one of the concrete benches or lounge on the grassy area, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by a stunning panorama of Santa Monica Bay.

But the beauty of Palisades Bluffs Park isn’t just in its vistas. You can also enjoy public artwork like the Bust of Arcadia Bandini de Baker and Gestation III wood sculpture. With picnic areas, a rose garden, and Pétanque courts, there’s plenty to explore and enjoy at this serene retreat.

Polliwog Park

At 18 acres, Polliwog Park is the largest park in the South Bay area. Visitors can enjoy shaded picnic spots, barbecues, an extensive playground set with a galleon structure, and an amphitheater for summer concerts and other events.

Located in Manhattan Beach, the true magic of Polliwog Park lies in its wildlife refuge. The park’s pond creates a rich natural habitat for fish, turtles, and birds, providing an interactive experience with nature that’s sure to delight both kids and adults alike. To make the most of your trip, consider stopping by the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden while you’re exploring the rest of Polliwog Park.

Swimming lessons at Begg Pool can be another great addition to the park experience, and for dog owners, there’s a leash-free run area where pups can enjoy unfettered play and socialization.

Barnsdall Art Park

Known for hosting outdoor movie nights, wine tastings, and various cultural events during the summer, Barnsdall Art Park is a hub of creativity and artistic expression.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, or a casual visitor exploring the East Hollywood area, Barnsdall Art Park has something to spark your interest. From beginners’ art classes and installations to theatre programs, this iconic park offers a range of experiences that will immerse you in the world of art.

Come see the famous Hollyhock House in person at 4800 Hollywood Boulevard.

Will Rogers State Historic Park

Enjoy a Day at Will Rogers State Historic Park

A journey through Los Angeles’ parks wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Will Rogers State Historic Park in the stunning coastal Pacific Palisades neighborhood. Once owned by “cowboy philosopher” and Western actor Will Rogers, the park offers equestrian activities, scenic hikes, and cultural experiences that make it a must-visit LA destination.

Whether you’re an equestrian enthusiast or a hiking aficionado, Will Rogers State Historic Park has something for you. The park offers a variety of adventurous activities, including:

  • Horseback riding lessons at Jigsaw Farms
  • Designated areas for riding and roping
  • A two-mile trek to Inspiration Point
  • Access to the extended 70-mile Backbone Trail National Trail

Ranch house tours, movie nights on the front lawn, food trucks, and a picnic area with grills overlooking the polo field offer an unforgettable way to experience this historic slice of Los Angeles.

Gloria Molina Grand Park

In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Gloria Molina Grand Park offers visitors a 12-acre urban oasis filled with green spaces, a fountain plaza, and vivid pink benches. This lively hub is perfect for community gatherings, performances, and people-watching all year round.

But Grand Park isn’t just about relaxation and recreation. Its amenities, accessibility, and commitment to providing an enjoyable experience make it a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike. And with the Lunch à la Park Food Trucks program catering to the tastes of local workers and park-goers, you’ll find a culinary delight to complement your visit to the park.

Franklin Canyon Park

Just a stone’s throw from some of the most spectacular luxury homes in Beverly Hills lies Franklin Canyon Park. The park is a treasure trove of scenic hiking trails, educational programming for schools and the public at large, and a rich history connected to Los Angeles’ development.

The trails here range from the 0.3-mile Discovery Trail to the 2.3-mile Hastain Trail, so you can go at your own pace. As you explore the park, you’ll come across a three-acre lake, a duck pond with ADA accessibility, and oak woodlands. The park also has several cultural and educational facilities including the Sooky Goldman Nature Center and the Sam Goldman Amphitheater.

Once a summer retreat and cattle grazing land for the oil baron Doheny family, Franklin Canyon Park offers a fascinating glimpse into Los Angeles’ past.

Dog-Friendly Retreats in Los Angeles

Enjoy a Day at a Dog Park in Los Angeles

Taking your furry friends out for a day of fun shouldn’t feel tedious—and in Los Angeles, it doesn’t have to be. The city boasts a variety of dog-friendly parks equipped with off-leash areas, perfect for pet owners who want their companions to enjoy the freedom and space they deserve. From spaces near downtown to the Lake Balboa neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, dogs and their owners have plenty of options.

Among the many beloved dog-friendly spots in LA, Silver Lake Dog Park and Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park stand out for their unique offerings and atmosphere.

Silver Lake Dog Park

Located at 1863 Silver Lake Boulevard, Silver Lake Dog Park is a haven for dogs and their owners. Specifically designated for off-leash activities, the park offers a safe and controlled environment where dogs can run free, play, and socialize to their heart’s content. But the park isn’t just about letting dogs roam free. It’s about fostering a community where pet owners can relax, watch their pets play, and even make new friends in the Silver Lake neighborhood

Located at the southern tip of Silver Lake Reservoir, one of the best lakes in Los Angeles, the park offers a communal space where dog owners can enjoy the company of others who share their love for pets. Outside of a maintenance window that delays opening until 8:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, the dog park is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. To extend your stay while enjoying some great views, consider taking the scenic 2.2-mile loop trail around the reservoir.

Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park

Another fantastic option in the San Fernando Valley, Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park offers a generous space for dogs to enjoy off-leash playtime. But what sets this park apart is its thoughtfully designed areas for dogs of all sizes. Whether your furry friend is small, large, or a little on the timid side, there’s a separate space for them to safely play and socialize.

Located at 17550 Victory Boulevard, Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park is more than just a playground for dogs. With its large dirt field complemented by trees, benches, and picnic tables, it’s a welcoming place for dog owners, making it one of the best dog parks in the Lake Balboa community.

You can visit the park daily from sunrise to sunset, but make sure to avoid the maintenance period from 6:00–11:00 a.m. on Fridays.

Discover Another Side of Los Angeles

There’s no shortage of delightful parks to discover throughout Los Angeles’ best neighborhoods and suburbs. Whether you’re exploring the artistic legacy of Barnsdall Art Park, delving into the historical allure of Hancock Park, or living out your equestrian dreams at Will Rogers State Historic Park, countless adventures await.

Pack your picnic basket, lace your hiking boots, leash up your furry friend, and set out to explore the stunning vistas, verdant retreats, and vibrant communities these parks offer.

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