With the weather we’re blessed with in Southern California, it’s no surprise that we spend the better part of our lives outside. Beyond the fact my wardrobe is perfectly equipped for it ( my daily uniform consists of a tank top, cut offs and flip flops – thank you, working from home), there’s an impressive amount of outdoor activities to partake in. You want wine tasting? You don’t have to go to Sonoma or Santa Barbara, just head to Santa Monica or Malibu – skiing and snowboarding are only a few hours away at Big Bear, and the beach is equidistant in the opposite direction. Fun, sun, snow, sand – we’ve got it all, and then some. Now that Summer season is in full swing, I’m finding it near uncomfortable to be stuck indoors with so much amazing weather, so when it comes to daily adventures – it’s time to start thinking outside the box – or at least, outside the home – for some fun day trips and day-tes in the area.
Though Los Angeles can come across as a completely concrete jungle, once you’ve found the right nooks and crannies you’ll realize it’s anything but! From the West in Santa Monica to the East in Pasadena, Los Angeles has been blessed with a gregarious amount of green space throughout the city, and it’s only right that as residents we get to revel in it. The fabled Griffith Park Observatory offers up acres and acres of fresh green space smack dab in the middle of the city and it feels like you’re on a wild safari when you’re trying to trek towards the Hollywood Sign, while assorted areas like Ernest E Debs Park and NELA’s Lincoln Park provide a pop of vivaciously contrasting greens in the heart of residential neighborhoods and burrows.
Even though I’ve lived in LA for over eight years, I’ve realized that here’s still so much to discover and uncover. There’s simply so many options to choose from that I have a hard time narrowing it down – after all, they all have their je ne sais quoi moments of sheer bliss, utter beauty and vivacious blooms. Between the neat little retreats and hidden gems with sincere botanical beauty, I’ve definitely made my way through a pretty solid chunk of what the city of angels has to offer and I’m eager to share my favorite botanical gardens and nature nooks with you.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
The trifecta of artistic expression, creation and perfection – The Huntington boasts a bevvy of fantastic art collections, a wonderful library rich library and of course – a delectable amount of shrubbery, flowers, trees, flora and fauna. There natural areas are broken out by region, and you can take a leisurely stroll through a Japanese Tea Garden, a Chinese Garden and even a banzai exhibit, which is even cooler when you realize you’re staring at tiny Sequoias and Redwoods – it’s actually unbelievable. With over 120 acres to revel in, it’s easy to get lost – and even easier to not see absolutely everything the park has to offer. Good news – you can get an annual pass and visit whenever you want. Seeing as the park spans the globe, there are always wonderful specimens in bloom.
Check their website for the latest exhibits as well as their Summer hours, from my knowledge the venue is open from 10:30 to 4:30 every day except Tuesday.
The Descanso Gardens
Though I’ve only visited in the Winter (which in Los Angeles just means it’s below 60), the Descanso Gardens boast a stunning landscape that includes a Lilac Garden, a Japanese Garden, California Natives and a sprawling 5 acre rose garden. Open year round and only $9 for adults, botanical gardens offer a menagerie of courses and programs, and host a wonderful series of summer concerts.
Los Angeles County Arboretum
Located off in Arcadia on the East Side of Los Angeles sits one of my absolute favorite venues, and every time I go I’m absolutely astounded by the fact it exists within Los Angeles county. Just one stroll around the LA Arboretum, in through the tall bamboo shoots or the indigenous South American trees, and you’ll feel instantly transported into a new land. Each corner and every inch of the park is impeccably maintained and absolutely stunning to marinate on. Plus, the third Tuesday of every month is free!
Storrier Sterns Japanese Garden
Located off the beaten path, in the residental neighborhoods of Pasadena is one of the city’s unique hidden gems. The Storrier Sterns Japanese Garden is a stunning piece of throwback landscaping and architecture built by the one and only Kinzuchi Fujii in 1935, not to mention – the last standing one he ever created. Over 80 years later the two acre span is more beautiful than ever with a teahouse, relaxing areas to sit and meditate in and an active coy pond. The venue is tiny, only about two acres, but there simply so much to see that you could be there all afternoon.
270 Arlington Drive, Pasadena, California 91105
Arlington Botanical Gardens
One thing about the wonderful botanical gardens in the area – is you more or less have to pay for them. Great news about the Arlington Botanical Gardens, is they’re open to anyone, any day, for Free.99. The Arlington Botanical Gardens stand as the only public open space in Pasadena and it offers a great arena to walk and relax among it’s community maintained garden, or the rich array of Californian and Mediterranean trees, bushes, flowers and succulents with a wonderful amount of benches scattered among them – so bring a book, get comfortable and get into your R&R.
275 Arlington Dr, Pasadena, CA 91105
I’ve by no means gone to all of the local gardens, but I’ve been blessed with the opportunities to visit a great number of them and be awe struck by their beautiful, blooming bounties. Also, if you couldn’t tell – I effing love reflection shots!
What are your favorite Botanical Gardens and Open Spaces – in Los Angeles, or your favorite city?
Let me know in the comments below!