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Nature & Wildlife

Top Rated Attractions in Los Angeles

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Griffith Park

Spread over 4,210 acres (1704 hectares) of the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains, Griffith Park is often referred to as "the Central Park of Los Angeles," although its verdant sprawl surpasses its east-coast counterpart in both size and wild charm. The municipal park is one of North America's largest urban green spaces, splayed across an undulating landscape sheathed in oak and walnut woodlands, coastal sage scrub, landscaped parklands, and deep, luxuriant gorges. There's ample opportunity for outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding and tennis, alongside popular attractions like the Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Greek Theater, and the iconic Hollywood Sign. At the confluence of landscaped greenery and rugged wilderness, Griffith Park is Los Angeles' most treasured recreational venues and scenic escapes.

Runyon Canyon Park

160 acres (65 hectares) of unspoiled nature can be seen at the east point of the Santa Monica mountains at the Runyon Canyon Park. This pet friendly park has two southern entrances and a northern entrance at Mulholland Drive. Go for a hike or head to the play area where your kids can play. Keep your camera ready as celebrities are known to unwind here as well.

Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens

The Huntington, the former home of a railroad tycoon, is many things—an extensive library filled with rare books, a large art collection containing numerous European prints and paintings, botanical gardens of almost unmatched splendor and a forum for regular lectures and other activities. You will also find a fine bookstore, cafe and tea room on the grounds. Come and wander through the 150 acres of colorful gardens, lily ponds and beautiful sculptures. The rare books and manuscripts in the library include some of the earliest editions of Shakespeare's works, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible on vellum and the Ellesmere manuscript of one or more of Chaucer's greatest works. Please note reservations are required in order to visit and prices vary depending on the day of the week.

Santa Monica State Beach

Santa Monica's most prized possession, this Southern Californian waterfront state park is the closest landmark to the iconic Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade. Equipped with modern amenities such as volleyball courts, serene picnic spots and scenic swimming zones, this golden-sand landscape houses something that sets it apart from everything else in the vicinity: Muscle Beach, the mecca for bodybuilding exhibitions and gymnastic presentations. A sunbather's heaven, the beach also seems to be a magnet for themed special events like the world-famous Cirque du Soleil, which transforms the place into a dynamo of energy, music and vivid colors. The Santa Monica Ferris Wheel is by far the state park's most noticeable attraction.

La Brea Tar Pits

Once upon a time, Rancho La Brea or La Brea Tar Pits was only a Mexican land grant. Now a park, the tar pits have been the world's richest deposit of Ice Age fossils. More than 40,000 years ago mammoths, saber-toothed cats and dire wolves freely roamed the Los Angeles basin and became entrapped in the natural asphalt of the tar pits. During the summer months, visitors can observe the ongoing excavation from Pit 91. A visit to the on-site Page Museum is a must.

Exposition Park

Built for the 1932 Olympic games, Exposition Park is now a venue for many sports and cultural events. Originally known as "Agricultural Park," it houses a sports arena, coliseum, museum, science center, rose garden, a swimming stadium and expo center. The park is bustling with activities throughout the year with events like Annual Bug Fair and Science Camp. The Rose Garden can be hired for special events and the Coliseum hosts popular sports events. Exposition Park also plays host to the L.A. Food Fest, a culinary extravaganza attracting food lovers from far and beyond.

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