What’s fantastic about Pokemon GO isn’t just the fantasy of catching Pokemon, but also the incentive to explore your community. So, the perfect Pokemon GO spot shouldn’t only have rare Pokemon–it should be a relaxing/exotic/strange place to just be in! Here’s a list of our favorite Pokemon GO hangout spots in LA. Get exploring!
Sometimes it seems like Pokemon GO was built for Los Angeles. It’s a city with a ton of museums and eateries, but spread thinly, with miles of parking lots/questionable neighborhoods/industrial space between. In other words, there’s a lot to do, but they’re all so far apart. With parking fees, distances, and limited parking spots, we Angelenos need way more incentive to go anywhere in this strange city.
And then, Pokemon GO came around.
Suddenly, a host of isolated attractions become very viable Pokemon GO walks in LA. Suddenly, paying five bucks for the right to be in a neighborhood for 2 hours doesn’t seem all that bad! And suddenly, there’s this thing called a Pokemon GO hangout, where it’s acceptable to just drift around an area, eyes glued to your screen, having a chat with a buddy in between gym battles. So here’s a list of great places to take a walk and lounge around, while hunting after that elusive Pokemon for your collection.
Edit: Since the writing of this article, Pokemon GO nest locations have changed, and will likely continue to change with further app updates. Because of this, you may not find the exact same Pokemon I did at these specific locations. That being said: 1. These are still fun places to be, with fun landmarks / eateries/ etc. 2. Locations that spawn rare Pokemon typically will continue to do so, just not the same exact Pokemon.
The LA Arts District
Admittedly, the LA Arts District is light on rare Pokemon, but like we said, that’s only half the fun. If you want a place that’s pretty dense on PokeStops and local flavor, LA Arts District is definitely one of our favorite Pokemon GO hangout spots. Basically every single one of these stops and gyms is a street mural. Hence, hunting for PokeStops around here actually ends up being a pretty respectable tour of the District’s beautiful street art! Come for the art, stay for the delicious Blue Bottle coffee, the local barcade EightyTwo, or Angel City Brewery. And of course, Little Tokyo’s just a few blocks away if you’re looking for great Japanese cuisine and shopping.
Barnsdall Art Park
This is a great example of a place I’d always heard of, but never really bothered going to. Barnsdall Art Park is one of the most ‘LA’ places in LA. It’s a park on a hill in the middle of bustling East Hollywood, with its own art gallery, and the beatiful Hollyhock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Art Park affords one of the most breathtaking panoramas of the city, and is a favorite for picnickers and sunbathers. But more importantly (let’s be honest)–it’s a confirmed Dratini nest. Ya heard that (W)right. I caught no less than five of those beautiful blue babies wandering around the luscious shade of the trees. The park was crawling with fellow Pokemon GOers, pointing and exclaiming new sightings. Which is another thing–it’s always great to hang out somewhere with fellow trainers, as Pokemon GO is the greatest icebreaker ever. Other notable catches included Magnemite, Machops, and Primeapes abound.
Echo Park was a favorite park of mine before, but now it’s one of the best Pokemon GO hangout spots in the city. I’ve always loved the grand lake, the fleets of ducks and geese, the mix of hipsters and families sharing space beside the lotus blossoms. I can go on: the LA skyline is just across the lake, there’s paddleboats for rental, and the street dogs and chicharron carts on hand for snacking. Aside from the real-world charm, Echo Park lake boasts some great aquatic captures. There’s Magikarp to be found, Krabbies, occasional Clefairies (and Clefables), and the even more occasional Dratini. Walk the park, then head down to Sunset Blvd. for bookstores, coffee shops, bars, and venues.
LACMA / La Brea Tar Pits
LACMA and the adjoining La Brea Tar Pits are making the internet rounds as a confirmed nest for Charmander, as well as its evolutions if you’re lucky! When we went, there were tons of meandering trainers wandering around, in spite of the bad air conditions from the Santa Clarita fire. But aside from the wealth of fire Pokemon, this makes our list of Pokemon GO hangout spots because it’s a renowned art museum, next to a spacious park, next to a natural history museum – a guaranteed afternoon well-spent. When you’re all Pokemon’d out, head out to downtown for dinner with your box full of Charmanders.
Santa Monica Pier
Three weeks into the game, Santa Monica Pier is now legendary amongst Pokemon GO hangout spots in LA. Seriously, if there’s a missing spot on your Pokedex, chances are, you can fill it here. Electabuzz, Magikarp, Tentacool, Magnemite, Omanyte, Kabuto, Goldeen, Psyduck, Poliwag, Dratini… what’s even more astounding is that aside from Electabuzz, the others spawn in droves. I got there with 0 Magikarp, came back a quarter of the way to a Gyarados. The Pokemon GO scene there is just ridiculous. The pier is regularly full up to 2am nowadays, and it’s easy to see why. Who doesn’t want to leisurely catch Pokemon by the sea, with a bevy of high-end restaurants along the shore? Not to mention the 3rd Street Promenade for shopping and people-watching. If you haven’t been already, go. You’ll double your Pokedex sightings, easily.
Venice Beach Boardwalk
Venice Beach has always been one of my favorite places to people-watch. You really get all sorts here: beach folk, Beverly Hills migrants, international tourists, all mingling on the most diverse beach in California. You come here to watch the people walk, pump iron at Muscle Beach, shoot hoops, skate, it’s breathtaking. And now, even more so, thanks to its Pokemon habitats. Omanytes and Kabutos are the prime catch here, in addition to the occasional Charmander sightings. Grab some delicious beachside poke to go with your Pokemon, and soak some sun.
Vincent Lugo Park
Of all the places on this list, Vincent Lugo Park is way off the beaten path. It’s located in San Gabriel/Alhambra, an area best known for its concentration of authentic and delicious Asian cuisine, mostly Chinese. That, and boba. Aside from those two reasons, no one really heads up here, but that might change rapidly with Pokemon GO. Aside from Santa Monica Pier, I think this area has the most populated Pokemon GO hangout spots of any other neighborhood. The biggest park to be at is Almansor, which is nice and all, with its lake and golf course. But I opted for Vincent Lugo, one, because it’s so close to Valley boulevard, arguably the area’s Chinese cuisine hotspot. Two, because it’s home to the most bizarrely beautiful playground ever. It’s a historical landmark for its assortment of giant, whimsical sea creature sculptures that look completely surreal in a suburb like this. The whole scene is made even more bizarre after-hours, when you can spot 20-somethings and adult trainers hanging off the giant dragon slide, or nestled atop the bright blue sea serpent. Really photogenic place, and with a parking lot that’s just made for food trucks. For Pokemon hauls, I’ve spotted Tauros, Krabbies, Magikarps, and Clefairies. On a really good day, you might spot the Slowpoke in the grassier parts.