TJ: This past weekend, we went not once but twice to the Barnsdall Art Park, which we had both never been to before.
Dara: I hadn’t even ever heard of the park before and yet separate friends planned events there for two days in a row. It was a really random coincidence, but I’m so glad it happened because I’m not sure we would have found this hidden gem of a park otherwise.
TJ: The park is atop a hill in Hollywood, tucked away behind the Kaiser Permanante hospitals in Little Armenia. The entrance to the park, off Hollywood Blvd, is pretty inconspicuous, with parking lots both at the bottom and top of the hill. Most people don’t realize there’s an upper parking lot though so we’d recommend driving up the hill to check, so that you don’t have to make the trek up the hill by foot.
Dara: The park itself is full complex of lawns and buildings overlooking to the Century City west, downtown Hollywood to the south, Griffith Park and the Hollywood Sign to the North.
The buildings include the LA Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Arts Center, Barnsdall Theatre, and the famous Hollyhock House – the first house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed in Los Angeles.
Fun fact: Hollyhock House is named for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall’s favorite flower – the hollyhock – as she’s the one who donated the grounds to the city of Los Angeles in 1919.
The Hollyhock House is $7 for admission but stops selling tickets 3:30pm every day so we’ve yet to visit early enough on the day to go. It’s incredibly beautiful on the outside though, so we’re excited to go in and see what Frank Lloyd Wright crafted on on the inside.
We spent most of our time there hanging out with friends on the main lawn, since we were there for a going-away party and then a birthday party. It’s the perfect place for a relaxed picnic with friends. We brought blankets, wine, snacks, and cake, and hung out, enjoying the sun, and the view.
Unfortunately, since it’s an “art park” there are no sports allowed on the grass – relaxing only! But there are always lots of cute of babies and dogs and families and friends hanging out, and it truly is an amazing peaceful environment.
There are also plenty of events, including a weekly wine tasting, that are hosted in the park. They also recently started a partnership with Cinefamily, and will now have outdoor movies on the lawn every fall! Though the 2017 schedule is not up yet, it should be soon! Check out the calendar for more: http://barnsdall.org/events/calendar/