Even though some Angelenos can pluck an avocado from a tree in their own backyard, a trip to one of the region’s many botanical gardens reveals vegetation that simply can’t be found on our city streets. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite spots.Less
The library portion is impressive (though indoor areas are currently closed), but the true highlights here are outdoors in its vast jigsaw of botanical gardens, arguably the most glorious in the entire L.A. region. The acres and acres of public gardens are divided into a variety of themes, including a prickly desert garden, a serene Japanese garden and bamboo forest, as well as a recently-expanded assembly of Chinese pagodas, pavilions and bridges. (Reservations required; $29)
This delightful tribute to the horticultural magic of Southern California includes more than 600 varieties of camellia (these are best seen between the middle of February and early May) and some five acres of roses. Look out for seasonal blooms—like the springtime cherry blossoms by the Japanese tea house. (Reservations required; $15)
These gorgeous grounds in Arcadia have been designed as an educational facility (the plants are mostly arranged by region), but many people simply come here for a little peace and quiet. You could wander these gardens for hours, taking in tropical forests and waterfalls, trees and fish. Plus, be on the lookout for wild peacocks. (Reservations required; $15)
This South Bay botanical garden covers 87 acres on the northeast side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. You’ll find a mix of Southern California flora, from fuchsia to the tangled roots of Moreton Bay Fig trees, alongside more specialized areas like small Japanese and desert gardens. It may not be as grandiose as some other gardens, but it’s well worth the reasonable price of admission. (Reservations required; $15)
This nearly two-acre private Japanese garden and traditional teahouse opens its doors to the public on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. First constructed in the late 1930s, the garden features two ponds, four bridges and a cascading waterfall, all centered around a Japanese tea house. The current structure was painstakingly restored after a fire in 1981; the original was created in Japan by landscape designer and craftsman Kinzuchi Fujii. (Reservations required; $7.50–$12)
Though some of the majesty of past Olympics has faded, Exposition Park still stands as one of L.A.’s most significant institutions. You’ll find green spaces scattered around the museum-filled, USC-adjacent property, but the most charming section resides in the fragrant Rose Garden. Rest in one of the gazebos or take a stroll around the central fountain, all the while admiring its beautiful brick neighbors.
In 1971, hiker Amir Dialameh singlehandedly nurtured a scorched hillside in Griffith Park into a shaded retreat. Nearly five decades later, this five-acre, volunteer-run garden remains a favorite rest stop for hikers and equestrians alike. Getting here is the difficult part: It’s about a half-mile walk uphill from the trailhead at Mineral Wells Road and Griffith Park Drive. But the payoff is sweet once you’ve found a seat on the hilltop picnic benches, among a patchwork of flower beds.