Photograph courtesy of flickr/Jared1989
Griffith may be the city’s largest, but Elysian Park (835 Academy Rd., L.A., 213-485-5054 or laparks.org) is its oldest: Mayor E.F. Spence dedicated it in 1886. To walk beneath the wild date palms along its 575 acres is to follow the footprints of the Yang-Na Indians, who in 1769 greeted then-governor of Las Californias Gaspar De Portola with native refreshments. The expanse was part of the original 1781 land grant to the pueblo of Los Angeles from King Carlos III, and other than the addition of the L.A. Police Academy in 1935 and Dodger Stadium in 1962, it doesn’t feel like much has changed in Elysian Park since. Explore the miles of underutilized hiking trails, toss horseshoes, or meander among the gentle slopes at the Chavez Ravine Arboretum, which was founded in 1893 by the Los Angeles Horticultural Society.