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People & Places

Best Spot for Beach Football Not on the Beach Los Angeles 2011 

Beach Park 1

Who's the guy in charge of naming Santa Monica parks? Surely they could find some more inspiring moniker than Beach Park 1 for this spectacular swath of buzz-cut-thin grass accented by towering palm trees, a place that solves the age-old "Everyone wants to be near the beach but no one wants to deal with sand" paradox. The north-side strip is perfect for a pickup football game, where you can feel like you're playing near the ocean without the wide receivers slipping around on every play. I had my birthday party here once, and leading up to the party I actually purchased grass seeds and planted them to patch up some areas I was told were created by soccer players in cleats. This is the kind of park that sparks such civic duty. In fact, is there an opening for Santa Monica park namer? How hard could it be? Ocean Park Boulevard at Barnard Way, Santa Monica; smgov.net/parks.

—Zachary Pincus-Roth

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