Take a breather: The best parks in Los Angeles

Recommended by the local Cool Cousin community
2600 Franklin Canyon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, USA
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One of the most surprising things about LA is how much nature is right at your doorstep. There are well-known hikes like Runyon and Temescal, but there are a ton of other areas worth exploring that have way fewer people. Franklin Canyon is the best example of this. In the middle of Beverly Hills, just up Coldwater Canyon, is this huge natural park with tons of hiking trails, ponds, and meadows where you could get lost for hours and not see a soul. It's about 5 minutes up from Sunset and a total world away.
Kristen, 40 Music Executive
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
franklin canyon park
2600 Franklin Canyon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, USA
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A great place for a hike or a picnic. They have many different trails with beautiful views of LA. A lot of the trails are fairly easy but there are some that are a bit more intense. Your bound to see some wild life on your hike.
Erin, 33 Luxury Enthusiast
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Franklin Canyon Park, Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority
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3160 Canyon Lake Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA
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This hidden gem is the best place in town to snap a pic with the Hollywood Sign. Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, this dog park sits right below the sign. Heads up that the drive up goes through some winding canyon roads and your GPS may get confused, but the adventure is part of the fun!
Andrew, 25 UX designer, Barbie Global Brand
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Lake Hollywood Park
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31550 Palos Verdes Dr W, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, USA
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It's a bit of a drive south, but the Point Vincente Lighthouse is a beautiful piece of history nestled on the cliff side. Palos Verdes is a great place to drive and gauk at the giant houses that I will never own. The entire area is littered with hiking trails too so a trip down to see the lighthouse won't be a one-off!
Andrew, 25 UX designer, Barbie Global Brand
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Point Vicente Lighthouse
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1615 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA
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A 6.2 acre park in Santa Monica, right next to the pier and Third Street Promenade. Its got great garden sculptures, plenty of tables for chilling or picnicking, and playgrounds.
Rae Ann, 26 Multimedia Journalist & Brand Storyteller
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Tongva Park
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Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA
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Take a stroll along Palisades Park along with locals and their dogs, or make a picnic spread on the grass or on one of their picnic tables. Located along Ocean Avenue, Palisades Park is a great place to get some steps in and take in the ocean views. The park is also a popular spot to watch LA's breathtaking sunset behind the Pacific Ocean.
Rae Ann, 26 Multimedia Journalist & Brand Storyteller
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Palisades Park
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1133 7th St, Santa Monica, CA 90403, USA
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Great park in Santa Monica to play pickup basketball on weekends. They also have tennis courts available! Right in the center of Santa Monica and very easy to access.
Phil, 35 Product Manager, InvolveSoft
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Christine Emerson Reed Park
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Elysian Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA, USA
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Much quieter than Griffith. Great for picnics and plenty of space to kick back on the grass.
Michael, 36 Screenwriter
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Elysian Park Drive
20828 Entrada Rd, Topanga, CA 90290, USA
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Fantastic park! There are hundreds of miles of trails going through the Santa Monica mountains, so you really can find a ton of great hikes anywhere. But I think some of the best come out of Topanga State Park. Lots of treks that take you to lookouts over the water, or snake around ridges to awesome outcrops, saddles, ridges, or just a cool looking boulder somewhere. Careful during the summer, it gets HOT. Also, Topanga Canyon is super cool too!
Austin, 32 UX Designer & Rock Climber
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Topanga State Park
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4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA
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One of LA's classic parks. It's not quite 'natural' anymore, kind of like Central Park in NYC. But there's a ton of awesome hikes and it's always a good spot to throw a picnic. Tons of classic movies were filmed here too!
Austin, 32 UX Designer & Rock Climber
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Griffith Park
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200 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
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I note this park not for it's events, of which there are plenty: weekend fitness boot camps, weekend concerts (June-Sept), holiday fireworks, and the most popular 'Summer Sunday Sessions' Dance Parties, but for the fact it is lined with the Best Food Trucks for lunch during the week! If you follow it's Twitter: @GrandPark_LA you'll get the daily list. Some of my faves: @RiceBallsOfFire @Boba_ni_Taco
Patricia, 55 Director of Right2Left
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Grand Park LA
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1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291, USA
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This is why I live in Los Angeles. I'm not here to be fancy. I burned my New York City suit lifestyle long ago. I get around on a skateboard. I can still do a kick-flip if you asked me to really try. Coming here gives you exactly what you need to feel when you are visiting the Westside of LA. Youth, grit, fun, art, and absolutely no affinity for being fancy.
Anthony, 36 Dating and Social Development Coach
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Venice Skate Park
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7313-7351 S Marine Ave, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293, USA
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This is my favorite beach in LA for when I just want to spend some time with the ocean. The Santa Monica and Venice beaches are usually super crowded, but not this little gem. There is usually a fair amount of street parking, and I love stopping by Playa Provisions for some ice cream and then enjoying it on the beach. This beach is also close to the Balloona Wetlands, and LAX, so you can also enjoy watching artificial and natural flying creatures up above while taking in the ocean views. If you tire of the beach, there is also the Del Rey Lagoon meters away, where there are picnic tables to enjoy a nice lunch.
Lili, 33 IT Educational Specialist for a museum
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Playa Del Rey Beach
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17190 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, USA
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Looking to experience a little bit of peace in this crazy city? The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine will make you feel like you are in a distant land. The lake is gorgeous and makes for a meditative walk around the perimeter. Food and drink (except for bottled water) are not allowed, so don't come here expecting to have a picnic, but if you want to spend a quiet afternoon reading, or meditating, this is your spot. Since it is a temple (although open to the public and all are welcome), make sure to dress appropriately. If you are just coming from the beach (which is minutes away), make sure to cover up a little and wear shoes.
Lili, 33 IT Educational Specialist for a museum
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple
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4801 Griffith Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA
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If you are looking for a light hike with interesting sights, check out the Old LA Zoo. The ruins are still there, so you will see where they used to keep different animals, as well as where they have filmed scenes from Anchorman and America's Next Top Model. In the summer time, there is also Shakespeare in the Park on certain weekends, so a nice walk followed by a picnic with entertainment would make for a perfect quirky evening. If you complete the loop of the walk, you will also pass the Merry-go-round, which has a small exhibit in the back featuring the bench rumored to be where Walt Disney sat when he dreamed up Disneyland.
Lili, 33 IT Educational Specialist for a museum
Cool Cousin Los Angeles
Old Los Angeles Zoo
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