A Park a Day: Mar Vista Park, West Los Angeles

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Photo by spotreporting via Flickr

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.

If you haven't been recently, Mar Vista Recreation Center and Park might look a little different to you, thanks to a recent facelift (there's a joke in there somewhere). In addition to a new gym floor, fencing, landscaping, and play ground equipment, the fancypants Westside residents get to enjoy a rec center that has an auditorium, barbecue pits, baseball diamond (unlighted), basketball courts (lighted/indoor), basketball courts (lighted/outdoor), childrens play area, indoor gym (without weights), picnic tables, tennis court (lighted), volleyball courts (lighted). There is also an outdoor roller hockey rink and a separate facility for a pool!

Mar Vista is a little community that is right in the heart of West LA. The area was developed in the 1920's (officially named in 1924) and the park was founded shortly after. Next to Palms Middle School, La Lycee Francais, Windward, and Webster Middle School, it gets a lot of families and the rec center offers plenty of classes each season in various arts and sports. If you're a sports fan, Gary Sheffield and Kurt Rambis have been sighted here (not in many years) and Jerry West, Jerry Buss, and John Wooden were all residents nearby at one point in their lives.

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Photo by spotreporting via

Right next to the 405 and 10 intersection, it's an easily accessible and relaxing stop along your commute, especially during rush hour. There are people at the park until 10 pm daily and the park is very well lit (for the most part). In fact, they hold outdoor movie nights for families and the next one is the Goonies on August 20th at 8 PM (with a scavenger hunt for kids at 7).

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Photo by sportreporting via Flickr

To stock up on goodies for your next picnic, there's a Trader Joes and a Coffee Bean two blocks away, and a few fast food restaurants. You can also walk down the hill (about 1/2 a mile total) to Venice Blvd. to experience a vast array of ethnic eateries, Or one of the few remaining Fatburgers (on Sawetelle/Venice corner) that didn't shutter. Or head up Palms to Scoops Westside (where you can find this LAister on most afternoons, Chego (Roy Choi's rice bowl spot), N/Naka Restaurant (Japanese kaiseki), and Simpang Asia (Indonesian).

Mar Vista Recreation Center
11430 Woodbine Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90066
Facility Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm; Sunday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Holidays: Closed