The time has come to surrender to the Great Pumpkin. Mind you, the big guy is spoiled for choice around the Southland in Halloween season. We won't presume to call one pumpkin patch more sincere than the others, but LA’s pumpkin patches (and pseudo pumpkin patches) run a satisfying gamut from small to large, folksy to commercial. Whether you're hoping for a hit-and-run Halloween photo or a day's outing in autumnal reverie, your destination is below...
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McGrath Street Pumpkin Patch
October 1 - 31, 2018
5156 McGrath Street
Hours: 9am to dusk
Families wanting to pick pumpkins off the actual plant can realize their dreams at McGrath Street Pumpkin Patch up in Ventura. It requires a little more of a drive than the typical parking lot full of hay bales and squash in town, but the payoff includes a real, honest-to-goodness pumpkin patch alongside farm animals, games, and hayrides. Most days there is no separate entrance fee; call to confirm.
September 22 - October 31, 2018
5380 3/4 University Drive
If Orange County sounds closer for you than Ventura, Tanaka Farms has its own sincere patch, with opportunities to pluck one’s pumpkin straight from the vine. A free corn maze is added incentive, as are wagon rides and a petting zoo (both charges separately). But what really makes this patch different is the Hello Kitty theme (and occasional appearances). Admission is $4, and register for parking online if you're going on the weekend ($5).
The pumpkins are on the vine at Tanaka Farms. Photo courtesy of the farm
September 29 - October 31, 2018
3370 Sunset Valley Road
Ordinarily the ultimate pick-your-own paradise, Underwood Farms does all the picking in advance for its huge Fall Harvest Festival each year. The fresh pumpkins are lined up and waiting to be bought, amidst endless farm fun that includes hayrides, petting zoos, pony rides, pig races, corn mazes, and every other form of agricultural entertainment imaginable. Admission price varies, and is higher on weekends when activities really ramp up. For discounted tickets, purchase in advance online.
October 1 - 31, 2018
15200 Rinaldi Street
Mission Hills 91345
Weekdays 1pm-5pm; Weekends 9am-5pm
Another farm in the Valley sets up its pumpkins in the more urban fashion, lined up between hay bales. Forneris Farms’ pumpkins are nonetheless freshly picked and accompanied by a corn maze and train rides (included in $15 activity fee), pony rides, and a petting zoo (both charged separately). Parking and entry to the farm and pumpkin patch are free. The hours above are for the festival activities; pumpkins are available 9am-6pm daily.
Photo by Mommy Poppins
Toluca Lake Pumpkin Patch
October 1 - 31, 2018
10601 Riverside Drive
Valley-dwellers focused more on the pumpkin and less on the rides can generally find an impressive selection at the Toluca Lake Pumpkin Patch. Colors and shapes vary much more widely than we thought possible, and little kids can get up close and cuddly at the covered petting zoo while adults shop. There is a haunted maze on weekends scary enough for bigger kids. Check the website for pricing and a discounted admission coupon.
October 1 - 31, 2018
5251 Hayvenhurst Avenue
The other side of the Valley greets the Great Pumpkin at the decades-old, family-run Tapia Bros. urban farm stand. The competitively priced pumpkins, squash, and gourds are accompanied by a big climb-on pumpkin, hay rides, a petting zoo, and a haunted trailer (but check the website or call before you go, as some activities are weekend-only). Non-fans of Monsanto will be glad to know that Tapia Bros. has non-GMO crops. No admission fee; prices for activities vary.
Take a pony ride at a pumpkin patch—why not? Photo courtesy of Tina's Pumpkin Patch
Tina's Pumpkin Patch
October 5 - 31, 2018
4827 Sepulveda Blvd.
Sherman Oaks 91403
Thurs.-Sun.10am-8pm; Fri-Sat 10am-9pm
One of the Valley's newer patches is squeezed in between the 101 and the Galleria. This is definitely a city patch, but the entertainment factor is high, with pony rides, a straw maze, train rides, bouncers, and a petting zoo (pony rides and petting zoo are open Thursday afternoon through Sunday). Where else can you fit pumpkins and alpacas in the same family photo?
Palisades YMCA Pumpkin Patch
October 1 - 30, 2018
15551 Sunset Blvd.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Weekdays 3pm-6pm; Weekends 9am-6pm
One of our family's favorite patches has long been the unpretentious and inviting patch at the front of Temescal Gateway Park in the Palisades. Simon Meadow, as the grove is called, is a corner of the park controlled by the Palisades YMCA, and the pumpkin patch there is large, tree-filled, and fenced in – in short, perfect for a playdate. No one counts how long or how often your kids visit the bounce house or walk through the hay maze, and the location makes for great photo ops - as does the late afternoon sun filtering through the trees. On October 7 and October 21 there will be a glass pumpkin sale from 10am - 4:30pm, as well as a pumpkin carving booth (at no extra charge except for the purchase of the pumpkin to carve). Admission and parking are free, and pumpkin purchases support the YMCA.
Shawn's Pumpkin Patch
October 6 - 31, 2018
6020 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Culver City 90016
9am-8pm (with a few exceptions; call to confirm)
Whoever Shawn is, we crown him king of the parking lot pumpkin patches. Admission is free, with charges for the various forms of entertainment: petting zoos, pony rides, a little train, and bounce houses. We recommend calling ahead to check on animal-related activities, as the hours on these are shorter than Patch opening hours (e.g. ponies only work Thu-Sun, and not all day).
Who knew the Bat Cave was in a pumpkin? Photo courtesy of Mr. Bones
October 5 - 30, 2018
10100 Jefferson Blvd.
Culver City 90232
Sun-Thu 9am-8pm; Fri-Sat 9am-9pm
Another popular seasonal lot is Mr. Bones, who loaded up his truck and moved from Beverly (Hills, that is) to Culver City in 2015. The patch's location at LA City College is much bigger, making room for life-size pumpkin houses, a theater for storytelling and magic shows, and interactive pumpkin art (by reservation). Classic entertainment from previous years also returns, including pony rides, face painting, a hay maze, a petting zoo, a super slide, and a giant bouncy pumpkin. Parties are available. Check website for pricing and ticket packages.
Pa's Pumpkin Patch
September 28 - October 31, 2018
6701 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.
Long Beach 90803
Hours vary; check website for details
There are pumpkins at this patch. It seems necessary to state that because one could forget - in the midst of the carnival rides, animal attractions, and games - that one came here to buy a piece of fruit. The pumpkins are, indeed, plentiful, and the accompanying entertainment and Halloween celebrations have been getting Long Beach families in the holiday spirit for years.
Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch
September 15 - October 31, 2018
1 Irvine Park Road
Hours: Weekdays 10am-5pm; Weekends 10am-6pm
Kids can ride the Pumpkin Train, jump in a moon bounce, go on a hayride, play carnival games, get their faces painted, and pick pumpkins at Irvine Park Railroad (most activities $5). Be sure to check the coupon page before heading over. The Pumpkin Patch is located just behind the train station, and admission is free, but the County of Orange charges a gate entrance fee ($5 weekends, $3 weekdays) to drive into Irvine Regional Park.
College of Agriculture Pumpkin Festival
October 6 - 7, 2018 (festival)
Pumpkin patch continues from October 9-31 at varying times
Cal Poly Pomona:
4102 S. University Drive
Festival Hours: 8am-5pm
Cal Poly Pomona's Pumpkin Festival celebrates its 26th year with lots of family fun. The drive east is rewarded with a large patch, a corn maze, games, a petting farm, horse rides, live music, contests, storytelling, an Insect Fair, and more. Family packs are cheaper purchased in advance on the website. The pumpkin patch, one of the largest in California with over 70,000 pumpkins, continues after the opening weekend festival. Admission is free October 9-31.
Originally published September 14, 2011
Top photo by Mike D./ CC BY 2.0