Jamie McCourt

A walk around Los Angeles' park neighborhoods

A walk around Los Angeles' park neighborhoods

It's no easy job, being the lungs of Los Angeles.

But Griffith Park, the foremost green space in a city notorious for meager parkland and abundant smog, endures bravely, maybe even heroically. Venture into the park, or nearby Elysian Park, or one of the creative neighborhoods in between, and you'll find not only beloved landmarks such as Griffith Observatory and Dodger Stadium, but also happy surprises, such as the time-travel supply shop, or the cafe where cops dine daily to the sound of echoing gunfire, or the Korean greetings that echo at dawn every day atop Mt. Hollywood.

The more time you spend in these occasionally gritty, mostly gentrified neighborhoods around the...