Huntington Bell Hops

Visit Huntington Park and Bell in LA and Enjoy Their Craft Brewhouses

{MARCH 22, 2023 UPDATE: Due to the most recent storm, please be aware that there may be sudden trail closures and poor and hazardous conditions; please exercise good judgement and caution accordingly.}

On your next urban adventure, hop to parks and park for hops. In the metropolis of the northeastern cities of LA, the neighboring sprawls of Huntington Park and Bell have less-visited hidden green spaces and breweries worthy of a city hop. Find an unexpected array of diverse wildlife at South Los Angeles Wetlands Park and a charming respite at Augustus F. Hawkins Nature Park with a stop at Beer Thug Brewing Company for delicious libations.

There’s not a lot of green space within the rectangular border created by the busy 10, 110, 710, and 105 freeways, which makes South Park’s South Los Angeles Wetlands Park even more of a natural treasure. The 10-acre space has a small loop just over a half-mile, but it packs a powerful, picturesque punch. Formerly a bus and rail yard, these artificial wetlands were developed via innovative community efforts to reduce pollution; they are now home to a variety of waterfowl, from ducks to coots to egrets, even pelicans. Along the boardwalks, take time to also search for turtles basking on the shore. As you walk the loop, you’ll notice the industrial surroundings (look for a mural of Maya Angelou on the nearby school, too).

Next, park hop and take a short drive to Augustus F. Hawkins Nature Park, a similarly picturesque green space amongst the more concrete urban structures just over a mile east. This 8.5-acre oasis has wetlands too, viewable via a small trail network that transports you into the rugged chaparral and riparian habitats of the Santa Monicas (the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy helped build this park with mud from a Malibu mudslide). Named after the first African American member of congress elected west of the Mississippi, Augustus F. Hawkins Nature Park also has a succulent garden and a small nature center filled with interpretive exhibits and, often, educational events for the community. It’s a beautiful respite from the city and an inspiration for creating more green space in cities.

BEER BONUS: After your park twofer, hop to the neighboring city of Bell for delicious local hops at Beer Thug Brewing. Located within the also incredible Border X Brewing (a transplant from San Diego with an extensive—and delicious—tap list), Beer Thug Brewing is the creation of Edgar Preciado, a man with an inspiring story whose focus now is sharing the joys of craft beer with his community.

The beers are all good, but we love the Nuestra Ciudad (a juicy hazy IPA), the Thug Berry (a refreshing sour), and the Thug Lite, an incredibly drinkable German Leichtbier that can (and should) be ordered as a michelada. Get a tasting flight and a michelada and enjoy the huge space with board games, pinball machines, and plenty more beer from their Border X Brewing-mate.

To get to the South Los Angeles Wetlands Park, take the CA-110 to the 51st Street exit and head east. After 1 mile, turn right onto Avalon Blvd. South Los Angeles Wetlands Park entrance and parking lot will be on your right in just 0.2 mile. Dog-friendly!

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