15 Great LA Parks for Birthday Parties Kids Will Rave About

Where to have a birthday party - parks and places for kids' parties in Los Angeles

Lucky for us, hosting mostly free kids’ birthday parties at the many glorious parks around Los Angeles is available year round; and with our famous weather, it’s a pretty safe perk to gamble on. From rustic to scenic to built-in activities, the city’s bounty is near limitless. And the best part: no sticky floor and dirty fingerprints to scour afterward. Be sure to check whether there are additional fees around parking or other rules; LA City parks, for example, require a permit fee for bounce houses (we have an entire post just on parks that allow bounce houses). Read on for some of our favorite party parks, with ideas for themes at each one. And check out these other parks with barbecue grills and parks with gated playgrounds, too.

Will Rogers – Pacific Palisades  Cowboy Adventure
1501 Will Rogers Park Road
310.454.8212
Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, this state historic park really feels as if you’re out in the country, right down to the grazing deer. With trails galore and horse rentals, Will Rogers would make a great venue for a Western birthday party. There are also plenty of shaded picnic tables, barbecues, and a gorgeous green lawn to lounge on, play duck duck goose, or even set up a croquet set. Reservations are available – five or 10 tables.

Malibu Bluffs Park – Malibu  Cool Breezes
24250 Pacific Coast Highway
310.317.1364
A free park with a dramatic view of the ocean, this Malibu location will take your breath away. Breezy (and windy) all year round, this can be a great place to throw a party during the dog days of summer (which as we all know can extend into November). The park offers trails, a jungle gym, permits for barbecues, and picnic tables, as well as allowing bounce houses (fee required). Shade is minimal.

Rustic Canyon Recreation Center  – Pacific Palisades  Bucolic Coziness
601 Latimer Road
310.454.5734
This hidden gem in a Santa Monica canyon offers perhaps the most shade of any park in the city and plenty of picnic tables for vittles. A seasonal pool – open the third Saturday in June through Labor Day – is a terrific and underused amenity. Rustic Canyon also offers barbecues, basketball, baseball, tennis, and volleyball courts. Last time I was there I stumbled on a birthday party featuring a couple of giant parrots. The vintage recreation center is available for rent as back-up, in case of rain.

Virginia Avenue Park Santa Monica  Get Wet!
2200 Virginia Ave.
310.458.8688
This park is an instant classic with an interactive splash-pad water play area (open seasonally from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend) where kids can run in and out of the water. The fountain almost seems to dance as it squirts on and off. There is also the Patio building, next to the water play area, that you can rent and is perfect for birthday parties, as well as a larger community building for rent. There are also a couple of playgrounds, picnic tables (mostly in the sun), barbecues, and basketball courts. Get there early if you want to reserve a table, and bring a swimsuit!

Venice Beach Recreation Center – Venice  Surfs up!
1800 Ocean Front Walk
310.399.2775
For a picnic-type party (no picnic tables) with close proximity to a jungle gym, skate park, and live surfers, Venice Beach is the place to hang ten. The kids' play area has a view of the ocean and not a lot of shade, so bring extra sunscreen and, as the playground is not fenced in, make sure the adult/kid ratio provides enough childcare. There are no barbecues and no bounce houses allowed, but plenty of street cred.

RELATED: Top Birthday Party Parks in the San Fernando Valley


Sometimes only beating the candy out of a unicorn will do.

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area – Ladera Heights – A Sense of Place
4100 S. La Cienega Blvd.
323.298.3660
You can see for miles and miles from this urban oasis overlooking DTLA and much more. Eight picnic areas are available for rental for the whole day—just make sure to choose one of the four that are near a playground area and not elsewhere in this sprawling park. Ambitious parents might lead the kids on a hike on the park's many trails and/or go explore the Japanese garden. Tip: Parking is not free on weekends, so come up with a plan to cover that for guests or make plans for drop off and pick up.

Pan Pacific Park – Los Angeles  Film
7600 Beverly Blvd.
323.939.8874
Centrally located near the Grove, this surprisingly large park has two different reservable areas for parties. One is larger with a roof and near the play area. The other has a terrific view, no shade, and is up on a hill. Prices range from $150-$200, depending on the number of people. There are also gazebos available to reserve and many barbecues situated around the park. No bounce houses are allowed. As for themes, might I suggest Hollywood, or sports (by the baseball diamond or basketball courts).

Roxbury Park – Beverly Hills  Tea Party
471 S. Roxbury Drive
310.285.6840
With Sprinkles nearby and the fanciness that is Beverly Hills floating in the air, why not have an Alice in Wonderland tea party? Roxbury offers lawn bowling and a croquet and putting green to complete the theme. Shaded picnic tables and barbecues can be reserved in advance ($35-$58 per table, or $102-$127 for a pavilion, which is four tables and two grills). No bounce houses allowed.

Barrington Park – Brentwood  Bounce House!
333 S. Barrington Ave.
310.476.4866
Sometimes a bouncy house is all kids really want, and why not give them what they want? This park has a rentable fenced in lawn space ($100-$200) that allows for a bounce house, or there are picnic tables with some shade available to the earliest bird. No barbecues are on site, but feel free to bring your own. (Note that the bounce house must come from a list of approved companies.)

Los Encinos  Encino  Culture
16756 Moorpark St.
818.784.4849
One of several state historic parks in Los Angeles, Los Encinos boasts a colorful history that mirrors the city’s own – from the Gabrielino Indians to the Spanish. It would make a terrific setting for a Mexican themed party with piñatas, confetti eggs, and pin the tail on the donkey. Free guided tours of the refurbished De la Ossa Adobe are available by appointment. The park boasts more modern amenities as well, including barbecues, a duck pond, and shady picnic benches (first come, first served).

Griffith Park – Los Angeles  Merry-Go-Round
4730 Crystal Springs Road (Park Center between the zoo and
the Los Feliz park entrance)
323.665.3051 or 323.913.4688
For a Mary Poppins-themed birthday party, why not celebrate at Griffith Park’s magical 1926 Spillman carousel? At the bargain rate of $2, kids could go a few times in the midst of other revelry. Chalk would be a great party favor, for kids to practice their sidewalk art. There are a lot of shade trees nearby, or you could find picnic tables in another section of the park with barbecues.


This lake at El Dorado Park begs for a party. Photo by Tracie Hall / CC BY 2.0

El Dorado Park – Long Beach – Boats
7550 E. Spring St.
562.570.1773
Get this: you can actually rent a boathouse shelter with tables, and that comes with the use of 15 paddle boats that seat up to three each. This package even comes with a jumper house. Or you can rent boats individually for $8 per half hour (weekends only). And if that’s not enough maritime activity for you, there is also a radio controlled model sailboat area (see above). The park has many other amenities, including the El Dorado Express train ($3 per ride, 10:30am-4pm Saturdays-Sundays, March through October), barbecues (first come, first served), shady picnic tables (can be reserved or first come first served), an archery range, and two stocked fishing lakes.

Charles H. Wilson Park – Torrance  All Aboard!
2200 Crenshaw Blvd.
310.618.2720
The free choo choo train ride alone, though it runs only on limited days, makes this a terrific park, especially for aspiring conductors. The expansive 44 acres offer dozens of shaded benches, barbecues, a duck pond, two jungle gyms, and a tree house – and the parking is plentiful. Just make sure to plan your party on the right day, as the train runs twice monthly (11am-3pm the first Sunday and noon-3pm the third Saturday). Bounce houses are welcome, and reservations are taken for $50 (for non-residents).

Ryan Community Park – Rancho Palos Verdes  – Playing Pirates
30359 Hawthorne Blvd.
310.377.2290
We always knew this park as "the one with the pirate ship on the back side of The Hill" while growing up in the South Bay. It's a beautiful spot, on a bluff near the ocean with superb views and mature trees. A pirate party theme with treasure hunt would be ideal, as the main playground has a pirate ship structure for kids to explore and pretend to sail the seven seas. You can rent the patio and activity room for up to 40 guests total ($22-$47 an hour). There is also a tot lot, picnic areas with barbecues, grassy fields, and a baseball diamond.

Polliwog ParkManhattan BeachChicks and Ducks and Geese
1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
310.802.5000
The highlight of this park is the pond, which plays host to all manner of ducks, geese, and other waterfowl. A natural wildlife refuge borders the pond on one side, adding to the scenic beauty. There are a number of picnic tables, eight of which can be reserved for rental (starting at $9-$17 per hour for one), and six barbecues. There also are three gazebos (starting at $17-$35 per hour; no barbecues allowed at these). Play areas include a lighthouse-inspired climbing structure, sand area, and colorful tot lot. Any would be a great place to play Duck, Duck, Goose.

Originally published June 19, 2012, updated since

Photos via Bigstock unless otherwise noted

location: 
Charles H. Wilson Park
2200 Crenshaw Blvd.
90501 Torrance , CA
Phone: (618) 2720
33° 49' 29.802" N, 118° 19' 42.582" W
California
Virginia Avenue Park
2200 Virginia Ave.
90404 Santa Monica , CA
Phone: (310) 458-8688
34° 1' 16.68" N, 118° 28' 5.4948" W
California
Rustic Canyon Park
601 Latimer Road
90402 Pacific Palisades , CA
Phone: (310) 454-5734
34° 2' 20.4144" N, 118° 30' 51.9084" W
California
Los Encinos
16756 Moorpark St.
91436 Encino , CA
Phone: (818) 784-4849
34° 9' 36.8568" N, 118° 29' 55.3452" W
California
Will Rogers State Park
1501 Will Rogers Park Road
90272 Pacific Palisades , CA
Phone: (310) 454-8212
34° 3' 15.9192" N, 118° 30' 44.928" W
California
El Dorado Park
7550 E. Spring St.
90815 Long Beach , CA
Phone: (562) 570-1773
33° 48' 34.4232" N, 118° 5' 12.948" W
California
Venice Beach Recreation Center
1800 Ocean Front Walk
90291 Venice , CA
Phone: (310) 399-2775
33° 59' 8.214" N, 118° 28' 21.9612" W
California
Griffith Park
4730 Crystal Springs Drive
90027 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: (323) 665-3051
34° 8' 33.2376" N, 118° 17' 10.1976" W
California
Malibu Bluffs Park
24250 Pacific Coast Highway
90265 Malibu , CA 34° 2' 2.2056" N, 118° 42' 14.1012" W
California
Roxbury Park
471 S. Roxbury Drive
90212 Beverly Hills , CA
Phone: (310) 285-6840
34° 3' 27.2592" N, 118° 24' 21.7404" W
California
Pan Pacific Park
7600 Beverly Blvd.
90036 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: (323) 939-8874
34° 4' 31.3896" N, 118° 21' 15.318" W
California
Barrington Park
333 S. Barrington Ave.
90049 Los Angeles , CA
Phone: (310) 476-4866
34° 3' 40.8492" N, 118° 28' 7.9212" W
California
Ryan Community Park
30359 Hawthorne Blvd.
90275 Rancho Palos Verdes , CA 33° 45' 6.03" N, 118° 23' 39.0624" W
California
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
4100 S. La Cienega Blvd.
90056 Los Angeles , CA 34° 0' 22.6008" N, 118° 22' 17.1372" W
California
Polliwog Park
1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
90266 Manhattan Beach , CA 33° 53' 16.1412" N, 118° 23' 5.3124" W
California