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Downtown Los Angeles rose garden in Exposition Park

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It’s finally spring! The high temperature is only 62 degrees F today in Georgia so it’s a little confusing (that’s 16 degrees C for you metric folks). However, when everything thaws and the trees and flowers come to life, suddenly I feel like I have more energy to go out and explore! I have some exciting day trips planned here in Georgia, but I wanted to revisit my home town of Los Angeles (one of the best spring destinations the US) and give a breakdown of the amazing gardens there! Los Angeles is a BIG city so gardens might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but I assure you that in the spring, the gardens in Los Angeles are not to be missed! Here are my top five!

Huntington Gardens

1. The Huntington – Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (San Marino, CA)

The Huntington is number one in my book! It spans 207 acres, 120 of which consist of the botanical gardens. It has beautiful Japanese, desert, herb, jungle, and subtropical gardens. You can spend the whole day wandering through the gardens and themed buildings. And, if the garden isn’t enough, there is a full research library with 9 million items including one of 12 vellum copies of the Gutenberg Bible and first editions by Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, and William Blake! The extensive European and American art collections include Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Turner’s The Grand Canal, Venice.

Huntington Japanese Garden
Japanese Gardens at the Huntington

I’ve been to the Huntington so many times and honestly it’s such a peaceful place to spend the day. Sometimes constantly being around people in the big city gets hard (at least for the introverts of the world) so the Huntington is a quiet, relaxing escape. However, it does get really popular, especially on weekends and during the summer.

White bridge with chinese architecture over a small lake with beautiful green trees surrounding

The Huntington is open every day of the week, except Tuesdays. General Admission tickets are $25 for adults and $13 for youth. It might seem pricey but 1) it’s Los Angeles (everything’s expensive) and 2) the Huntington is incredible and worth it! You can reserve free tickets online for the first Thursday of every month.

2. Descanso Gardens (La Cañada Flintridge, CA)

At Descanso Gardens you can check out their bloom calendar and take special “Spring Bloom” walks to look at the specialty tulips that bloom in the spring! They have oak woodlands, a rose garden, and a ton of California native plants.

Descanso Gardens are open every day of the week from 9am-5pm. General admission is $9 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and $4 for children.

In the winter, they also have a cool Enchanted Forest of Light where they light up the whole garden!

Descanso Gardens

3. Exposition Park Rose Garden (Los Angeles, CA)

This 7-acre rose garden is located behind the California Science Center in Exposition Park. It’s free (except parking at Exposition Park), well-maintained, and in the heart of Los Angeles. It’s also a top Instagram spot in Los Angeles! What more could you ask for?

Exposition Park Rose Garden

4. The Arboretum (Arcadia, CA)

The Arboretum is 127 acres of beautiful gardens, historic buildings, and wildlife (including peacocks)! I grew up in the city next to Arcadia so I went to the Arboretum all the time, back in the day when it was free. Now, it costs $9 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and $4 for children. The historic buildings are really interesting. There’s a Mexican-era adobe, a 1890’s train station, a Native American shelter, and Queen Anne Cottage all near Baldwin Lake.

Arboretum cottage
Queen Anne Cottage at the Arboretum

The Arboretum is a fun place for kids because of all the animals. There are peacocks, geese, and ducks everywhere!

5. Getty Center and Getty Villa (Los Angeles and Pacific Palisades, CA, respectively)

The Getty Center is an art museum with an impressive garden art piece called the Central Garden designed to change with the seasons. It features a maze of azaleas, bougainvillea sculptures, and a winding stream. As an added bonus, the Getty Center has amazing views of the city on clear days. General admission is free, but parking is $15.

Getty Gardens

I personally prefer the Getty Villa, which features Greek and Roman art housed in a recreation of a Roman country house. The entire Villa is so beautiful and the gardens are mostly Mediterranean plants! General admission is also free and parking is $15, but you need an advanced timed-entry ticket that you can reserve online.

Getty Villa Garden

Did you know there were so many gardens in Los Angeles? Are there others that you’ve been to?

Spending more time in Los Angeles? Check out these posts on other fun things to do!

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Recent PhD graduate and hyper-planner of Periodic Adventures, my goal is to share travel inspiration, budget tips, detailed guides, and fun travel stories!

Comments:

  • Great post. The japanese garden is fabulous, the dark green color let you relax and destress, thank you for sgaring this article i really loved it

    reply...
  • I lived in LA and have only been to the Getty. This list of pretty Gardens makes me want to go back!

    reply...
  • Kay

    These were some great gardens! Perfect for spring!

    reply...

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