On the far reaches of Los Angeles sits Antelope Valley—a magnificent space often overlooked. With its annual explosion of beautiful poppies each year, this reserve is a sight that must be experienced. If you can’t make it in the spring, you’ll still find plenty to do and see both within the park and the surrounding area. From local museums that showcase area history to top-notch restaurants, here are the best things to do in and around Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.
The Antelope Valley California Reserve is located in the high desert and relies on nature to create the amazing blooms that draw visitors from around the world each year to gaze in awe at the poppies and wildflowers that bloom. During the spring the area is filled with people taking a look at the fields or exploring single blossoms. The park is for day use and picnics, so you can bring a pack and explore the miles of trails that go through the blooms, but don’t veer off and risk crushing the flora. Nearby are other state parks, where you can find other types of flora and fauna to check out. Be sure to check in at the visitor center, which has a lot of information about the park as well as features artwork inspired by the flowers.
The Lancaster Museum of Art and History is a good way to learn about the original citizens of the valley as well as check out historical structures, local artists, and spend some time indoors. Lancaster’s weather tends to fluctuate between hot and cold so having a museum to step into can be a great relief. Museum hours vary depending on which building you check out so be sure to plan ahead.
Apollo Community Regional Park isn’t your typical neighborhood park. Fifty-four acres named after the Apollo 11 astronauts include three large stocked ponds for fishing. Walk around on the walking trails or enter one of the annual fishing derbies!
The Antelope Valley Winery features wines from local vineyards as well as exotic meats. Sign up for a tour or try a tasting. You can also pick up a picnic to enjoy in the poppy fields or other park. Call in advance for details, especially if you’re planning a trip with a large group.
There is almost always something going on at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. Bridal shows, food fairs, bingo parties, and more are frequently at the fairgrounds. There are often events for kids, including book fairs, petting zoos, and more, and all events are held throughout the year, not just during poppy season. Stop by to check it out.
The Antelope Valley Mall is a spacious spot to shop. The mall features many of the biggest chain stores as well as a few local retailers in addition to holding shopping and makeup events. The movie theater at the mall is also a good place to spend a few hours relaxing between seeing the sights!
BeX Bar & Grill is a local gastropub with a casual vibe. Chill out with a beer from the selection on tap or indulge in weekend brunch before you head out to the poppy fields. Friendly service and a big selection helps ensure a good time and good grub.
The Modern Tearoom is an unexpected retreat from the heat. You’ll find salads, sandwiches, and tea but with a more laid-back vibe than a traditional tea service. Locals enjoy snacking between shopping.
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A great taste of Cajun country in the desert, Crab N Spice is a fun way to get messy and indulge in a seafood spread. Try it for lunch or dinner and choose your own spices and seafood!
Gasoline & Coffee is a garage-themed coffee shop that is a perfect blend of swanky coffee and rough and tumble. Whether you like your coffee decaf or regular, you can find a basic cup of black alongside sweet treats and frozen blends.