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Los Angeles Gardens

The Most Beautiful Public Gardens in Los Angeles

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In addition to beautiful park spaces, Los Angeles is home to some amazing gardens, from encyclopedic botanic gardens to California native gardens to tranquil Japanese Gardens, there are myriad showcases of natures bounty to enjoy.

1. The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens

The Huntington Library - Huntington Beach, California
Rick Gerharter/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images
1151 Oxford Rd
San Marino, CA 91108
(626) 405-2100

The Botanical Gardens at the Huntington Library feature 120 landscaped acres with thirteen themed gardens and a conservatory on the former San Marino Ranch just outside Pasadena include rare and exotic plants from around the world as well as California natives. You could spend all day in the gardens, but the extensive art collection and illustrated manuscripts, including a Gutenberg Bible, are also worth a look. Garden walking tours are available.

2. Descanso Gardens

150 acres of gardens, woodland and chaparral. The 40,000 camellia bushes within the 20-acre California live oak forest bloom from October to March. Peak bloom for the 4,000 roses in the Rosarium is April through December. Guided tram tours are available.
1418 Descanso Drive
La Canada, CA 91011
(818) 952-4400

3. Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

301 N. Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007
(626) 821-3222

The 127 acres of trees and shrubs at the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden are arranged by continent of origin. The park includes the spring-fed Lake Baldwin, a research center and greenhouses and several historic buildings. Walking tours are available.

4. South Coast Botanic Garden

26300 Crenshaw Blvd
Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274
(310) 544-1948

The South Coast Botanic Garden features over 2,500 plant species on 87 acres with an emphasis on draught resistant plants. Includes a children's garden.

5. Exposition Park Rose Garden

Exposition Park Rose Garden
Photo © 2011 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

701 State Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90037

The Rose Garden at Exposition Park in South Los Angeles is a popular spot for USC students to hang out and study, and a busy spot for weddings and photo shoots. The Rose Garden is opened daily from 9:00 am - sunset. It is closed to the public from January 1st - March 15th of each year for annual maintenance. Exposition Park is also home to a variety of museums including the Natural History Museum, California Science Center and the California African American Museum, so you can combine some indoor and outdoor time.

6. The Getty Center

Azalea Pool at the Getty Center
Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 440-7300

The manicured gardens at the >Getty Center were designed as a work of art by Robert Irwin. Zigzagging walkways, a stone waterfall and a floating maze of azaleas are surrounded by a variety of seasonal plants. Architecture and garden tours are available.

7. The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
5333 Zoo Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 644-4200

Most people go to the zoo to see the animals, but the habitats at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Griffith Park are just as carefully cultivated, including a variety of specialty gardens including a collection of contraband plants that have been confiscated by airport customs from people trying to bring them into the country illegally.

8. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

1500 North College Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 625-8767

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens in Claremont has 86 acres dedicated exclusively to California native plants and is a haven for wildlife. There are many resources provided to help people develop and maintain native gardens. In summer be cautious of the heat and bring plenty of water.

9. Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Gardens

The Gardens are located on the southeastern corner of the UCLA campus. The main entrance is on Tiverton Ave., near the Emergency Center of the Hospital. The south entrance is at the corner of Hilgard Ave. and Le Conte Ave., and the north entrance is opposite The Patio, behind the Botany Building. Admission is free.
310 825-1260

About 5000 species of tropical and subtropical plants are grown on the six acres of the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Gardens at UCLA.

10. Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

17190 Sunset Blvd (Garden entrance, closer to the ocean)
17080 Sunset blvd (Shrine entrance)
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
(310) 454-4114

The ten-acre Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is 1/4 mile from the Pacific Ocean just up sunset Blvd from the coast. It honors the five major world religions and includes a memorial to Mahatma Ghandi where a portion of his ashes are said to be enshrined. The grounds have been compared to a Disney version of a botanical garden with everything manicured and pristinely perfect.

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