One thing that is great about living in Los Angeles, is the weather and these days it’s absolutely beautiful. Grab a friend, a blanket, some food and hit up some of the best spots in Los Angeles to picnic:
A picnic at the Hollywood Bowl is as important as the show itself. Some picnic areas open as early as four hours before each concert. Tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Large groups (30+) can reserve selected areas: 323.850.2050. General ticket-holders can pre-order gourmet picnic baskets for two from Patina Group to pick-up at the Bowl. If you have box seats, Patina Group can deliver a variety of meals, including a three-course meal, a picnic basket for two, a family-style platter for four, and more.
Grand Park in Downtown extends from Grand Avenue at the Music Center to Spring Street at City Hall. The Park is filled with spots to picnic and spots for public and private gatherings. The 12-acre park has four areas: one featuring the restored Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain, one is a small performance lawn, one is a community terrace, and a grand event lawn. The Music Center offers community events, cultural experiences, festivals and holiday celebrations. You can bring a picnic or purchase food and beverages on site. Selected events include food trucks and other food vendors. The park is open every day from 5:30 am-10 pm.
Jazz at LACMA is a free Friday night event and it’s one of LA’s best outdoor music series. It has featured Wayne Shorter, John Clayton, Kenny Burrell, Les McCann, Billy Childs, Arturo Sandoval, Cannonball-Coltrane Project and Ernie Watts. During the season, Jazz at LACMA takes place at 6 pm every Friday at the central BP Pavilion.
Pan Pacific Park
Across the street from The Grove, Pan Pacific Park is located on the site of the landmark Pan-Pacific Auditorium, which opened in 1935. Before its destruction in a 1989 fire, the venue hosted political events to the Harlem Globetrotters to Elvis. Now, there is a recreation center where the Pan-Pacific Auditorium was and behind it is a public pool. There are picnic tables and barbecue pits along the paved paths throughout the park. The park also features a baseball diamonds, basketball courts and indoor-outdoor gyms.
Cinespia-Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Launched in 2002, Cinespia hosts screenings of classic films (1930s-1990s) in Los Angeles. Most screening are in open-air settings at historic locations, with their most popular series running weekly, May-August at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The Hollywood Forever screenings are perfect for picnic dinners and drinks (beer and wine only). Films are projected against the west wall of the Cathedral Mausoleum.
Echo Park Lake
Echo Park Lake just went through a $45-million restoration. Improvements included draining the lake, planting 376 lotus plants, cleaning up the walking paths, and restoring the fountains and the boat house. The famous Lady of the Lake statue, known as “Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles” (Queen of the Angels) was returned to her original location on the north end of the lake. The Echo Park Recreation Center features picnic tables, barbecue pits, children’s play area, community room, year-round pool, and lighted sports areas, including a baseball diamond, basketball courts, soccer field and tennis courts. The Echo Park Pedal Boats Concession has pedal boat rentals, guided canoe and gondola rides.
Barnsdall Art Park
Barnsdall Art Park is centered around Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. In 1927, Oil heiress Aline Barnsdall donated the Hollyhock House and 11 surrounding acres to the City of Los Angeles in memory of her father, Theodore. In addition to the Hollyhock House, the park includes the Barnsdall Art Center, Junior Art Center, Municipal Art Gallery and Gallery Theatre. The Summer Wine Tastings take place every Friday night from May through the end of the summer. At each tasting, Silverlake Wine presents four selections of boutique, small production, artisanal wines from around the globe. Tickets are $25 (online only) include a limited edition wine glass. All profits from the wine tastings benefit Barnsdall Art Park Foundation programs and projects.
Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Located in Griffith Park, you can bring your own picnics into the zoo. The zoo asks that you do not bring aluminum cans, glassware or any other breakable materials, and to avoid using any small plastic items such as straws and cup lids that might accidentally end up in an animal’s exhibit.
The Old Zoo
The Los Angeles Zoo was originally located in a different spot and opened in 1912 as the Griffith Park Zoo. The original zoo closed when the Los Angeles Zoo opened in 1966. Located off Griffith Park Dr., the abandoned Griffith Park Zoo is now known as the Old Zoo. The cages and stone caves are nearly intact and there are tables, BBQ grills, and a large grass area for picnics. Founded in 1998, the Independent Shakespeare Co. has presented its summer festival at Griffith Park since 2010. Taking place from June-September, the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival is performed on a stage that’s built on the slopes of the Old Zoo’s natural amphitheater. Arrive early to picnic and enjoy pre-show performances by local artists, the Salon Series, and pre-show workshops about the plays. All of these summer events are entirely free.
This is one of the most popular picnic spots. You can admire the art, architecture and panoramic views. The Central Garden, created by renowned artist Robert Irwin, is located at the heart of the Getty Center. The 134,000-square-foot design features a natural ravine and a tree-lined walkway. Bring your own food and enjoy a picnic on the lawn adjacent to the Central Garden, or at any of the Getty Center’s public seating areas. Picnic tables and lawns for lounging are located at the Lower Tram Station (T1). The picnic area is open every day until 30 minutes before the museum closes.
Will Rogers State Historic Park
Will Rogers was one of the world’s best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s. He began buying land and eventually had 186 acres in Pacific Palisades. Rogers developed a ranch where he could relax with his family and friends, now it’s Will Rogers State Historic Park. You can tour the historic ranch house and the Will Rogers Polo Club plays matches every weekend from April-October on LA County’s only outdoor polo field. Riding lessons are available Monday-Saturday, and equestrians are invited to bring their horses to the park for day-use. A large picnic area with grills is available for everyone to enjoy.
Malibu Family Wines
Malibu Family Wines is a collabo between the Semler and the DeJoria families. The hillside vineyards have approximately 61,000 vines on 61 acres with eight varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Mourvedre, Grenache, Viognier and Malbec. The Malibu Wines tasting room is free and they invite you to to bring a picnic or non-alcoholic drinks for their enjoyment. A minimum of one bottle purchase is required for each group of 2-4 people. The Malibu Wines tasting room is open from 11 am-6 pm daily, with extended hours from Memorial Day through Halloween. Live music is performed on Saturdays and Sundays year-round.
Located at the corner of Redondo Avenue and Manhattan Beach Boulevard, the 18-acre Polliwog Park is the largest park in the South Bay area. The focal point of the park is a large pond, bordered by a natural wildlife refuge that’s home to birds and other wildlife. The amphitheater that overlooks the pond has concerts, performances, weddings and other special events. The picnic area features 15 tables, eight of which can be reserved for a minimum of two hours and a maximum of six. The picnic area is open daily from 8 am to dusk. Three gazebos can be reserved in advance for two-hour periods. Other park attractions include children’s play areas, the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden, City Historical Museum, 9-hole disc golf course, and the Polliwog Park Dog Run.
Covering 61 acres, Brookside Park is Pasadena’s largest park, located just south of the world-famous Rose Bowl Stadium. Brookside Park features picnic tables, barbecue pits, two lighted softball diamonds, a lighted field for flag football and soccer, tennis, badminton and handball courts, and a play area. The park’s regulation baseball diamond, the Jackie Robinson Stadium, has grandstand seating for 4,200 people, team rooms, showers and lockers. Brookside Park also features two of Pasadena’s main attractions, the Rose Bowl Stadium Tours and the Kidspace Museum, where children can discover the excitement of learning while engaging in creative play.