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Best Parks in Los Angeles

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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.

The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden makes for a great place to visit with your family. You'll find a variety of ornamental plants and flowers. Peacocks and more than 200 species of birds can also be observed. Every third Sunday of the month, the grounds are open to families for a picnic. The garden also offers Plants in Our World and Early California History tours to groups of school children.

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.

Point Mugu State Park is a secluded spot away from it all. There are 70 miles of hiking trails and camping areas for those who would like to stay for a while. Reservations are necessary for the camping facilities. The park also contains a tall-grass prairie preserve as well as sycamore trees and beautiful canyons. Whether you are just making a picnic out of it or want to spend a weekend camping, Point Mugu is a beautiful place to do it at.

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.

The largest home ever built in Beverly Hills is the Greystone Mansion, a 55-room English Tudor Mansion constructed by Edward L. Doheny in 1928. A gift to his son, it was built for more than USD 50 million and includes a huge garden. The grounds have been used as a public park, and the home itself for varying purposes, most recently for the activities of the American Film Institute. The interior of the mansion is closed to the public, but the exterior and surrounding park is completely open for visitors.

From fun outdoor activities to historic architecture, Will Rogers State Historical Park has it all. In 1944, actor Will Rogers' family donated his 31 room house and the 186-acre surrounding grounds so that it could become a state historic park. Take a tour of the ranch, watch a polo game, go on a horseback ride, or take a two mile scenic hike. This is a rare chance to see how a star of the Silver Screen lived.

This spacious park is known for its sprawling lake tucked away in the San Fernando Valley. Jog or walk along the lakeside as you watch the graceful swans and ducks glide through the water or enjoy a leisurely picnic beneath the Japanese Cherry Blossom trees. A children's playground will keep the little ones entertained while dogs run around on the grassy area. Barbecues, picnic tables and shady areas make this park a family-friendly locale.

Angels Gate Park has a number of facilities: the Korean Friendship Bell, Belmont Shores Railroad Club, Fort MacArthur Military Museum, Marine Bird Rescue Center, White Point Park Nature Reserve, and Hosteling International. The Korean Friendship Bell is no doubt the most attractive. The twelve-feet-high, intricately decorated copper bell and the pagoda-like pavilion cost over a million dollars to create, and was given as a gift by South Korea in 1976. It is not hard to imagine that weddings are popular in this heavenly setting. Always bring a jacket as the hillside is very windy, which also makes it popular for flying kites.

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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