A Park a Day: North Hollywood Park

July is National Parks & Recreation Month, and all month long LAist will be featuring a hand-selected park a day to showcase just a few of the wonderful recreation spaces—big or small—in the Los Angeles area.

Technically it's called the North Hollywood Recreation Center, but personally, I prefer to think of the park that straddles Magnolia Boulevard to the east of the 170 Freeway as the activity and intellectual core of the neighborhood. Lofty, sure. But this wonderful space has a town square-style function with the free-from greenspace along with vital recreation resources fit to bring a community together.

To the north of Magnolia Boulevard up to Chandler, with the Orange Line whizzing by in the near distance, the park is robust with opportunities to expand your mind and keep your waistline from expanding.

The Los Angeles Public Library's lovely North Hollywood Branch is located at the South-East corner of this portion of the park, providing patrons with a place to exercise their mind (or the local wanderabouts to surf the net). The branch is named for onetime local resident Amelia Earhart, in whose honor a statue stands at the corner of Magnolia and Tujunga.

Three baseball diamonds, an auditorium, a rec center, tennis courts, a playground, handball courts, basketball courts, and a fairly new skate park provide year-round options for patrons to hone their sports skills or take part in activities. In the open spaces you'll often see families gathered for celebrations (bouncy houses, balloons, and picnics galore) or a soccer match with fans on the sidelines. This side of the park is also home to one of the City's many seasonal public pools.

South of Magnolia Boulevard, the sky is the limit—or at least the dirt jogging path that runs the circumference of the park is the limit. Walk, jog, or run the path, which measures just under a mile for a full lap. And you can even enjoy a safe jog after sundown; in 2009 the City of L.A. installed 28 solar-powered lights in this well-used parkspace.

If walking the beaten path isn't your style, stroll through the greenspace, which is filled with beautiful tall trees under which you can find at any given time a canoodling couple, a family relaxing, a reader, a squirrel or two, or, let's be honest, a homeless person. While trees do take up most of the space, there are open areas for playing catch, doing some yoga, or having a little party. A couple of times a year in this side of the park a carnival takes over for the weekend, with all its games and rides.

North Hollywood Recreation Center—or North Hollywood Park, as it's often called, might not be a destination for people coming to play from other parts of the city, but for the East Valley area, and NoHo itself, the Park is a wonderful place to go to feel a part of the community, to get away from the asphalt (as much as possible!) and to enjoy a little bit of nature amidst the chaos of urban living.