Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Where to be Merry: Darby Park

Thanks to Los Angeles’ moderately mild Subtropical-Mediterranean climate, we Angelenos have the privilege of enjoying traditional summer activities all year long. Have you stopped by a BBQ for the Holidays in December? Worn flip-flops in November? Ever frolicked in the sand by the beach in October? While most of our fellow Americans grumpily begin to hibernate in their gloves and scarves come autumn, we, without so much as a blink of an eye, go about our merry summery ways, indulging in pools, beaches and outdoor malls.

One great place to go this fall is Inglewood’s Darby Park. I hadn’t been to a park in ages, but when my father (pictured above) caught a case of nostalgia and decided he wanted to revisit his old childhood stomping ground one day, lo and behold, I found myself in the midst of this hidden gem.

As a Gemini myself, I was immediately intrigued by the park’s dual nature, complex and simplistic at the same time. On one hand, Darby Park is like a park on steroids. It is literally jam-packed with activities for all ages to enjoy: a wading pool for toddlers, playgrounds for the kiddies (pictured to the right), a skate park for adolescents, infinite soccer fields for the athletically-inclined and even a recreation center with basketball courts, pool tables and a kitchen.

Yet amidst all of the frenzied action, there’s a subtle peacefulness that hovers over the park. There’s nothing like grabbing a picnic basket and a blanket one lazy weekend afternoon, laying on your back in the grass and watching the planes that are en route to LAX fly so close above you that you can see their passengers gazing down at you (OK, maybe they're not that close – but they do soar pretty low to the ground). Plus, from all over the park, there are captivating views of Inglewood’s former glory days – of the Great Western Forum (pictured to the left, with my dad) and the Hollywood Park Race Track – granting a bittersweet glimpse into the city’s heyday.

Pools and outdoor malls and strolls in open-air markets are lovely, but I suggest that the next sunny autumn day, you make the trek to Darby Park. It’s free, provides hours of fun for any age and any interest, and it even has a bit of history surrounding around it. See you there next time!
For more information:
Darby Park
3400 W. Arbor Vitae St.

Inglewood, CA 90305
310.412.5391

www.cityofinglewood.com