LA is a picnic town. Add great food to our year-round warm weather, abundance of public parks, and views wherever you look, and the ideal picnic has been assembled. We’ve put together this guide with a few of our favorite spots to eat lunch on a blanket, along with the best places to pick up food nearby.
No picnic is complete without dessert, and Tate’s Bake Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies are the perfect way to finish your outdoor meal. Dunk them in your coffee, make a DIY ice cream sandwich, or just eat them pure and simple. Grab your blanket, a cooler, and some Tate’s Bake Shop cookies on the way - you’ll find everything else you need below.
We love Hotchkiss, because in an area dominated by tourist-filled beaches and The Promenade, this tiny two-acre green space in Santa Monica feels like a true neighborhood park. Located only a few blocks away from Main St., Hotchkiss never gets too crowded and has a smooth, sloping lawn that offers partial views of the ocean and plenty of space for a picnic with friends.
Salt & Straw is home to the best ice cream in LA and has the lines out the door to prove it. It moves pretty quickly though - so pick up a pint of their ice cream to go with your favorite Tate’s Bake Shop cookies and win the picnic with ice cream sandwiches for dessert.
Bay Cities’ shining star is The Godmother. Genoa salami, mortadella, capicola, ham, prosciutto, and provolone all placed together with mustard and peppers on two of the freshest slices of Italian bread.
Think of the nicest deli or bakery you’ve ever been into, and multiply that by ten. Gjusta sandwiches are some of the best in all of Los Angeles. But you can also get your whole picnic spread at Gjusta - you can even make your own sandwiches with their homemade baguettes, cured meats, and variety of dips.
Everett Park, on the edge of Echo Park and Chinatown, remains relatively unknown. Quiet, uncrowded, and with unobstructed views of the Downtown LA skyline, by day, it’s the perfect place to bring a blanket and pretend to read something. At night, you’ll have a truly breathtaking view of the city’s skyscrapers.
Eastside Market’s sandwiches are the messy, red sauce-covered variety that are hard to find anywhere else in LA. If you’re feeling ambitious, the D.A. Special (sausage, meatball, roast beef, and pastrami) is your one-way ticket to an all-day nap on your picnic blanket.
Mexicali Tacos is known for a few things, but their freshly-shipped Baja tortillas and carne asada sit atop the throne. And nowhere on the menu is that better exemplified than in their now quite famous Vampiro Taco. The perfect handheld item for a picnic, this glorified quesadilla does not disappoint.
This Cajun restaurant/grocery store is a great place to grab a quick sandwich as you head to the park. You should focus on the po’boys - they’re made to order and come out quickly. Our favorite is the oyster-fish po’boy. For dessert, grab some coffee for some Tate’s Bake Shop cookie dunking too.
Pan Pacific Park
Pan Pacific Park is a perfect place to suggest when your friend group is coming from all corners of the city and you know they’ll only show up if you agree on a central location. The surprisingly large space has multiple grills, various playgrounds, and several covered picnic areas.
Potato Chips Deli sandwiches are excellent for a quick, easy, and reasonably priced picnic lunch. They’re all massive, the bread is made in-house, and everything is under $12. Complement your sandwich with potato chips and Tate’s Bake Shop cookies for a tasty sweet-and-salty combo.
Sycamore Kitchen, with a dedication to house-made pastries, a serious approach to coffee, and an absolutely top-notch brunch menu, might be the most affordable, quality brunch in the city. Pick up one of our favorites, the Scrambled Egg & Chorizo Sandwich, on your way to the park.
Republique has everything you need for a French-inspired picnic brunch. Just stepping inside will make you think of a marketplace in a courtyard in the kind of little village in France that probably has an extremely charming and difficult-to-pronounce name. Put together a spread of breakfast sandwiches, baguettes, coffee, and as many of their excellent pastries as you can justify.