Soft grass, brilliant sun, hands-on food at the ready -- what's not to love about a picnic? It's summer's sweetest and easiest activity that we never take full advantage of. Let us help you navigate the concrete maze that is Los Angeles and spot the five ultimate picnic spots in the city. Plus, we've included where to pick up the perfect picnic food near your preferred park.
Hollywood Bowl & Mozza: Picnicking at the Bowl is the greatest tradition of a Hollywood summer. The Hollywood Bowl, of course, is the city's premier venue for musical performances under the stars. The summer lineup is beautifully varied -- from Joshua Bell's classical variety of "Four Seasons" to the much-anticipated July 4th weekend spectacle with Hall & Oates (yes, fireworks!). Typically, every show at the Bowl is BYOB (triple-check per performance), and along with your wine and beer, concertgoers are never without their "boxes."
So what about a pizza box? Forego typical picnic fare, and order pies ahead with Mozza2Go, located just off Highland Avenue (I mean, it's practically on the way). Pizza is that wonderful gastro-invention that some would argue improves in taste as it cools in temperature. Or, the ever-thoughtful Nancy Silverton will arrange your Hollywood box to-go complete with utensils and plates; $35 will get you a three-course meal of Mozza caliber. (We suggest this trio: burrata/salumi, funghi pizza and butterscotch budino).
Hollywood Bowl, 2301 North Highland Avenue, at Cahuenga Boulevard (323-850-2000 or hollywoodbowl.com)
Mozza2Go, 6610 Melrose Avenue, at Highland Avenue (323-297-1130 or mozza2go.com)
Silver Lake Meadow & Forage: LA's newest patch of green is on the Eastside: Silver Lake Meadow, located on the northeastern edge of the Silver Lake Reservoir, has welcomed picnickers since April. It's a quiet park -- no sports and (so far) no dogs -- so it's the summer's ideal spot for spending one-on-one time with your paramour.
Pick up farm-to-picnic fare at Forage, Silver Lake's go-to for vibrant salads, sandwiches and sweet stuff. The pearl barley salad with pine nuts, raisins and agro dolce is exactly what you want to spoon into your mouth as you're basking under the sun. Heck, even a steak salad is just right -- especially if the steak is soy and Coca-Cola-marinated, right?
Silver Lake Meadow, Armstrong Avenue and Tesla Avenue (silverlakereservoirs.org)
Forage, 3823 West Sunset Boulevard, at Hyperion Avenue (323-663-6885 or foragela.com)
Venice Beach & Gjelina: Venice Beach during summertime is almost a war zone -- in a good way. Tourists, locals, and Angelenos from greater LA all flock to the anything-goes beach town -- for the colorful characters "performing" along the Boardwalk or for the dexterous tweens doing flips in the Skate Park. The best seat, of course, is the sand -- for the rays, the surf-watching, the lifeguard-scoping. But don't let yourself go hungry -- there's no good food for a mile.
Gjelina, your favorite "cool restaurant" on Abbot Kinney has spawned something quite helpful to your future picnics; next door is GTA, or Gjelina Take Away, and just as it implies, Gjelina food is available to take away for sooner-or-later nourishment. To complement Venice Beach's best hours (the morning!), pick up an egg sandwich, biscuits and coffee for -- this is a new -- a breakfast picnic.
Venice Beach, 1800 Ocean Front Walk, at Mildred Avenue (laparks.org/venice/venice.htm)
GTA, 1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, at Milwood Avenue (310-450-1429 or gjelina.com)
Echo Park Lake & The Park: Echo Park Lake is a humble little park that somehow bears little to no resemblance to the seedy behavior playing out just outside of its celestial grounds. Overgrown lily pads cover the lake, and renting paddleboats is one of the sweeter adventures to embark on. After, you've likely worked up an appetite, which is why you've packed a picnic.
We're not even sure why The Park is fast-food affordable -- the food is beyond yummy. They run a daily lunch special wherein all sandwiches are either $5 or $7 and a choice of side is just $1. From pulled BBQ pork to a marinated tofu Banh Mi, you can't go wrong with any of the 14 available sandwiches. The must-get side -- especially if you're opting for the pulled pork: creamy coleslaw.
Echo Park Lake, 751 Echo Park Avenue, at Park Avenue (213-847-8524 or laparks.org)
The Park, 1400 Sunset Boulevard, at Douglass Street (213-482-9209 or thepark1400sunset.com)
Griffith Park & Little Dom's: Griffith Park is the second largest city park in California, and as the weather warms, Angelenos cannot stay away from all it offers. From hiking trails to up-close-and-personal views of the Hollywood sign, there's almost too much green to choose from when selecting the perfect picnic spot. But while available picnic tables are abundant, our favorite patch of green is the lawn in front of the historic Griffith Park Observatory.
If you're up for walking to Griffith Park -- and you live below Los Feliz Boulevard -- pop into the deli at Little Dom's for your to-go nutrition. A variety of hot and cold sandwiches can be whipped up for your picnic -- try the truffled chicken salad or the rosemary ham and fontina, as well as some light summer salads and pastries. Los Feliz locals -- and Griffith Park goers -- wouldn't survive without Little Dom's.
Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, at Los Feliz Boulevard (323-913-4688 or laparks.org/dos/parks/griffithpk)
Little Dom's, 2128 Hillhurst Avenue, at Los Feliz Boulevard (323-661-0088 or littledoms.com)