Parks and gardens in Los Angeles
Lights, camera, action. Los Angeles is a busy city that’s always on the go. But away from the film sets and Hollywood glamour, is an abundance of parks and gardens that balance out the bustle and offer some much-needed tranquillity. From tropical botanical gardens to intimate secret gardens, this two-day itinerary takes you on a tour of the most serene green spaces in Los Angeles.
Begin the day with a 30-minute drive from Hotel Bel-Air or a 25-minute drive from The Beverly Hills Hotel to Arlington Garden.
A beautiful public space in Pasadena, Arlington Garden was built on the former private garden of a millionaire’s mansion. The only one of its kind in the area, the lesser-known park is filled with plants and vegetation from around the world, from Australia to Madagascar. Native wildlife, Mediterranean-style fountains and a labyrinth also await discovery within the tranquil space.
Then, take a 10-minute drive to The Huntington.
Part-library, part-art gallery, part-botanical gardens, after browsing the Huntington’s vast collection of books and artworks, head outside to explore the gardens, within which grow some 15,000 plant varieties. Don’t miss the Frances and Sidney Brody California Garden, the Desert Garden, or the striking Japanese Garden.
Take a 10-minute drive to the next stop, Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden.
Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden
Located in the heart of Rancho Santa Anita, the 127-acre Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden unites history and nature. It’s home to several historic structures from Native America and the late 19th century, and several beautiful conservation gardens filled with plants, herbs, roses, aquatic features and tropical greenhouses.
Drive for 25 minutes to reach the penultimate garden of the day.
Exposition Park Rose Garden
A stone’s throw from the California Science Center, Exposition Park Rose Garden adds a dose of colour to the concrete jungle. The seven-acre garden is filled with tens of thousands of rose bushes, covered in fragrant blooms of myriad colour and variety, arranged around a central fountain. The beautiful space is so important that in 1991 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Next, it’s a 20-minute drive to Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden.
Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden
Located on the south-eastern corner of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus, the 7.5-acre Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is dedicated to the preservation of plant species from around the world. Make your way around the garden’s picturesque paths, discover areas dedicated to different world climates and keep an eye out for turtles and Japanese koi swimming in the stream and ponds.
End the day with a 10-minute drive to Hotel Bel-Air or The Beverly Hills Hotel.
Start the day with a 10-minute drive from Hotel Bel-Air or a 15-minute drive from The Beverly Hills Hotel to the Getty Center.
The Central Garden at the Getty Center
A living work of art at the Getty Center, the Central Garden takes the artistic ethos of the museum outside. The 134,000-square-foot space features several picturesque specialty gardens and water features centred around a pool, upon which floats a maze of green azaleas. New plants and gardens are constantly added, so there’s something new to see on every visit.
Then, take a 15-minute drive to San Vicente Mountain Park.
San Vicente Mountain Park
For 360° views, San Vicente Mountain Park is the place to go. A popular place for hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and picnicking, the 10-acre park lies between the Santa Monica Mountains and Los Angeles. Climb up to the viewing platform (a former military radar tower) for the best vistas of the mountains, San Fernando Valley and the city.
Continue north with a 15-minute drive to The Japanese Garden.
The Japanese Garden
A slice of Japan in the San Fernando Valley, The Japanese Garden brings Far-Eastern charm and nature to Los Angeles. Known as the ‘Garden of Water and Fragrance’, it was designed by Doctor Koichi Kawana and showcases the Chisen-Kaiyushiki style – a “wet garden with promenade”. Over 6.5 acres, there is a zen meditation garden, cherry blossom trees and wisteria, water gardens decorated with hand carved stone lanterns and an authentic teahouse and tea garden.
Next, take a 20-minute drive to Amir’s Garden at Griffith Park.
Griffith Park may be best known as the home of the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign, but look a little closer and you’ll discover intimate spaces such as Amir’s Garden. The lesser-known ornamental garden is run by volunteers and is dedicated to the late gardener Amir Dialameh. Used by hikers seeking a shady spot to rest, the tranquil space affords beautiful views of the valley.
To reach the final destination, it’s a 30-minute drive.
Virginia Robinson Gardens
The Virginia Robinson Gardens offers a rich green paradise set around a historic Beverly Hills mansion. The estate, built in 1911, was owned by Virginia and Harry Robinson, who frequently threw legendary parties in the grounds. Nowadays, it’s open (by appointment only) to visitors, who can tour the beautiful botanical gardens and grand house.
Finish with a 10-minute walk to The Beverly Hills Hotel or a 10-minute drive to Hotel Bel-Air.
All journey times are approximate and subject to variation.