It's great on the weekends, but on a random weekday afternoon we encountered a huffer with an open container (driving, no less), a couple who couldn't afford a hotel room, and two brake-less bike thieves, one of whom wrecked right in front of us and lost a few teeth. It's also been the site of bathroom rapes and an abandoned body. Sadly, it's one of those LA conundrums -- a wide, open space where you can be alone, and a wide, open space where you can be alone.
Best Lofty Park With a View - 2011
Ernest E. Debs Regional Park
The more innocent, guileless part of our mind wants to describe Ernest E. Debs Regional Park as an amazingly underused place, a wild, hilly gem about 10 minutes north of downtown off the 110 freeway, and the third largest public park in Los Angeles. The more jaded part of our mind wants to describe it as a vantage point from which diagonally mobile hipsters can look out and point to a plethora of "next Silver Lakes." There's Highland Park, and Eagle Rock — already done, we know — and Lincoln Heights and Montecito Heights and Glassell Park, still edgy and new. But forget all that for a minute and enjoy the hiking paths, dramatic city views, peaceful pond, plentiful trees, flower-filled fields, baseball diamonds, soccer pitch and architecturally cool-modernist Audubon Center. Observant hikers have spotted rare plants, owls, coyotes and the occasional sideburns-wearing indie-band dude prowling the area for organic coffee. 4235 Monterey Road, Montecito Heights. (213) 847-3989, laparks.org/dos/parks/facility/ernestEDebsPk.htm.