Short of it’s namesake, the majority of Lake Balboa is known for its sleepy residential streets. Most forms of recreation and shopping can be found in nearby communities such as Encino, Northridge, Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks. That being said, idyllic small neighborhood parks such as Louise Park and Jesse Owens Mini-Park offer sanctuary from a tough day.
More than anything, the crown jewel is the Sepulveda River Basin. Woodley Park is the smaller of the two parks within the Sepulveda River Basin. One of the coolest parts of the park is the Apollo 3 Flight Field, an archery range, and various fields, barbecue areas, and play areas. Nearby also sits Anthony C. Beilenson (formerly known as Balboa Park) Park, the larger location which includes the lake itself. Of the 80 acres that Beilenson covers, the lake covers 27 of those acres. Bring a fishing poll or a boat without a motor if a little quiet time is how you prefer to unwind. A popular pastime of many residents is to come feed the ducks – although there are several signs strictly prohibiting it.
Lastly, a wildlife preservation area is the perfect place to continue that birdwatching and see some small critters. Several groups, such as the Audubon Society and Sierra Club lead tours on weekends.
If you want to be outdoors, but don’t feel like lounging around the park, perhaps the Japanese Gardens are more your thing. A hidden jewel in the Valley, the Japanese Gardens are located next to the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant and a place that many residents find sanctuary.
For perhaps a more robust afternoon of activity, try the Van Nuys Golf Course instead. ONe little tidbit: the Van Nuys airport IS stil in Van Nuys. When lines were drawn for the newly formed Lake Balboa, part of the deal to split off was to leave the airport as part of Van Nuys and to draw the Lake Balboa lines around it.