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Your Guide to Planning the Perfect Picnic in LA

Picnics are tons of fun for spring, summer or fall. Luckily for Californians, the state offers year-round sunny skies — winter or summer, you’re bound to experience some pleasant weather. Whichever time you choose is sure to bring excitement — but before you go, check out a few tips for planning an enjoyable picnic!

Pack Smart

Choose food that doesn’t require hassle or leave behind a mess. Finger foods like sandwiches, fruit, veggies and chips work perfectly. If you can’t leave that hearty casserole behind, keep it in the pan you cooked it in to make transport easier. Place everything into seal-able containers to avoid spillage, and bring plenty of tableware!

Store beverages and perishable items in a cooler — pack them a few minutes before you leave. Place anything you’ll need first at the top to avoid shuffling through it and letting hot air in. Keep your cold foods below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, as you risk your food’s safety otherwise. A large tree provides the perfect cover, so pick a shady spot to make your tidbits last longer. Throw away any leftovers at the end of the day, especially if they’re perishable.

Include essentials like sunscreen, bug repellent and wipes. Soaking up California rays always brings heaps of fun, but you don’t want to go home with a sunburn. Additionally, make sure to read up on some general rules for being respectful when using public parks and campgrounds. Taking the time to keep your surroundings clean and in-tact will allow for many more years of enjoyment for you and others!

Indulge in Local Delicacies

Head to Grand Central Market for all your picnic needs, or hit up restaurants near you — such as Clementine, Pitchoun! and Playa Provisions.

Grand Central Market offers an array of goods from various vendors. Any food you desire is likely available, so drop in and get a taste of your favorite dishes. Indulge in a bento box from Bento Ya Japanese cuisine, or buy an artisanal wood-fired pizza from Olio. Pair it with a bottle of rosé, or grab a few beers from Golden Road. Head to Wexler’s Deli for some classic cold cuts and stop by G&B Coffee afterward for a fresh brew.

Clementine provides a sweet spot for breakfast and lunch if you plan to picnic in the earlier hours. Ingredients come from local farmers markets — you don’t have to worry about food sourcing here. They make their sandwiches, pastries and salads from scratch, ensuring a homemade flavor with each dish. Choose from hot or cold sandwiches and pair them with specialty salads.

Choose the Best Spots

The ideal picnic requires the perfect spot, and you have countless places to choose from in the Golden State. Check out the locations below for a day of fun under the sun:

  • LACMA: LACMA offers jazz picnics on Friday nights from April to November. Hear the smooth notes of a saxophone while enjoying a prepackaged LACMA meal, or bring your own fare. Visit during daylight hours to view the art before spreading out on the green lawn.
  • Playa del Rey Beach: Take a dip in the water or play a game of volleyball before enjoying your meal. Grab a full spread from Playa Provisions nearby, with hearty lunch fare and ice cream all in one spot.

  • Barnsdall Art Park: Head to Barnsdall Art Park to enjoy a summer night of fresh food and flowing wine. You can even take a tour of the Hollyhock House after your picnic. Stop by the food trucks to load up on tasty treats if you’d rather not pack your own basket.
  • Lake Hollywood Park: Hop over to Lake Hollywood Park if you want to bring your beloved pooch along — it’s dog-friendly. Get a direct view of the iconic Hollywood sign to take photos with. Take advantage of the available barbecue pits and grill some patties for your picnic.
  • Coldwater Canyon Park: You’ll be smitten with this location if you adore greenery. Explore over 5 acres of lush landscape, including a stream, a couple of playgrounds and some relaxing hiking trails. Kick boredom to the curb with activities the whole family can enjoy.

Make Your Next Outing Unforgettable

Now that you know some of the best picnic tips and locations, what are you waiting for? Go out and experience the best of LA! Eating outside is sure to be the most enjoyable in the sunny parks of California.

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