LA Parks: Ascot Hills

by Gabrielle Antonette

Somehow, these blindingly golden rolling hills in the middle of LA go largely unnoticed. Ascot Hills Park is tucked away in El Sereno, making it relatively quiet and easy to access. You don't have to battle traffic or crowds, and you get some of the best views of Downtown. It's good for watching celestial events, picnics, hiking, and for showing off to out-of-towners (especially at sunset). If you're looking to really sweep someone off their feet, Fosselman's Ice Cream is a quick ten minute drive from the park and a perfect, pre-or-post-sunset snack.

Ascot Hills Park 

4815 Multnomah Street

Los Angeles, CA 90032

Fosselman's Ice Cream

1824 West Main Street

Alhambra, CA 91801

LA Parks: Watts Towers

by Gabrielle Antonette

There are a lot of people in LA who have never been to Watts Towers. Really? Look at them. We may be biased because we love anything involving pastel colors and decaying structures, but this is a cool place, probably objectively. This site was at some point Simon Rodia's backyard. This guy, a construction worker from Italy, spent 34 years (starting in 1921) building this collection. He is quoted as saying, "I had it in mind to do something big and I did it." The towers are now protected and surrounded by a park and community center/gallery, so you can make an afternoon of it, especially if you plan ahead and pack a picnic. You can always visit the towers because they're outside, but to get a closer look and walk through, take a tour. The entire area, Watts, is full of visual treasures: murals, graffiti, vintage signage, darling little houses, so try not to rush it.

LA Parks: Barnsdall Park

by Gabrielle Antonette and Carrie Nusbaum

For filing under: nice places close to home for lying around outside while watching strangers. If you get an early start, it's a good idea to pick up a book at Skylight and Texas-style breakfast tacos/anything covered in queso at HomeState before heading to Barnsdall. Don't forget to peek at Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House while you're at the park. It's now restored and open for self-guided tours, which they call "Walk Wright In" (wink), Thursdays-Sundays 11am-3pm. So far we've found it impossible to make it in early enough for a tour, because there's really no better time to be at the park than sunset. Lovebirds take note--sunset at Barnsdall makes for a sweet date, especially if you pack a picnic and sneak pre-mixed cocktails in mason jars. 

LA Parks: Forest Lawn Memorial Park

by Gabrielle Antonette and Carrie Nusbaum

If you want to be technical, Glendale's Forest Lawn is a cemetery, and there are a lot of things live people can't (and shouldn't) do there. We define "park" pretty broadly, and so we think it's worth visiting if you happen to be in the area. It's a large space, good for walking or driving around and exploring, and perhaps more importantly, it's beautiful. At the very top there are great views in every direction,  as well as some sort of little art museum (which we didn't have the pleasure of visiting ourselves).