Unfortunately, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to visit it, but as far as parks in the Greater Los Angeles area go, Brand Park in Glendale is one of my favorites. It kind of reminds me of a mini-Griffith Park in that there’s a lot of cool historic features amongst a playground and trails for hiking or biking. The bonus, of course, is that you don’t have to deal with the parking nightmare that Griffith’s popularity creates.
And in case you were wondering, it’s going to be in the low 80’s in the San Fernando Valley this weekend, so it’s the perfect opportunity for a visit to this gem.
When you approach Brand Park (which is located at the base of the Verdugo Mountains on the aptly named Mountain Street), the first thing that you’ll notice is the ominous entry gate with the word “Miradero” inscribed at the top. This was actually the name of Leslie Brand’s 1904 home, which is now Brand Library (also located inside the park). It means “A high place overlooking a wide view”. So, as you might expect, Brand Park does afford its visitors some pretty stellar views of the valley stretched out below.
The whole park is 31 acres, which means there’s a lot to do and see. The last time I visited, my family and I enjoyed a picnic lunch at one of the park’s many picnic tables and then had an Easter Egg hunt for my son (we didn’t have a back yard at the time). We were able to do this in a huge grassy area near the library building while not being disturbed whatsoever by the park’s other visitors who were playing softball, basketball, throwing frisbees, or on picnics of their own. Plenty of elbow room.
The Brand Park playground is also really nice, as it is fairly new. There’s a shelter area and benches for the grown ups to enjoy as the kiddos swing and race down the slides. During the summer months, there’s also a little wading pool at the bottom of the hill.
When you visit the park, be sure to visit the Shoseian Japanese Teahouse and Friendship Garden. It’s open to the public each Monday through Thursday from 10am to 3pm and it is absolutely gorgeous. Complete with a pond filled with Koi, the Japanese garden is a really special and tranquil retreat.
Every Sunday from 2pm to 4pm you can also stop by the “Doctor’s House” which is situated within the park. The historical house got its name after housing four separate physicians and their families, however, it was also once the home of silent film star Nell Shipman. It’s a cheap $1 to go on a guided tour of the home (put on by the Glendale Historical Society) and it’s a pretty neat experience.
While you’re at the park, you should definitely also make the trip down a short trail to the Brand Park Cemetery. A large pyramid stands in the middle, with the plots of the Brand family and their dogs situated around it. I have a strange fascination with cemeteries so to me, this was the bee’s knees.
Plus there is, of course, hiking available in the park. I haven’t had a chance to tackle the trail myself, but reviews that I have read make it sound like a scenic (but challenging) hike. The good news is that the trail is free, so you don’t have to buy an Adventure Pass.
The park is definitely worth a visit, and you may even plan to make a day of it. It’s never too early to start thinking about the weekend! 🙂 Cheers!