LA Parks and Gardens

Moon Bridge | Photo courtesy of vgm8383, Flickr 

Head outdoors and enjoy the city's many parks and gardens. Whether you're casually strolling through a blooming rose garden or getting some exercise on a scenic hike in LA, gorgeous weather and beautiful surroundings will be your constant companion.

Japanese Garden at The Huntington

Founded in 1919, The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is world renowned as a cultural, research and educational center. The Botanical Gardens cover 120 acres and feature over a dozen specialized gardens, arranged within a park-like landscape of rolling lawns. After undergoing a year-long, $6.8 million renovation and improvement project, the historic Japanese Garden celebrated its centennial April 11, 2012. Among the new features in the nine-acre garden are a ceremonial teahouse set inside a traditionally landscaped tea garden, and a brand-new waterfall that connects the tea garden to the ponds beneath it.

1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, 91108

Exposition Park Rose Garden

Photo courtesy of Wikamedia Commons

Located across the street from USC in Downtown Los Angeles, Exposition Park is the home of several top LA cultural attractions and venues, including the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum & Sports Arena, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the California Science Center and the California African American Museum. The famous seven-acre Rose Garden features more than 15,000 rose bushes, in about 200 varieties. Its gazebos, statues and central fountain make the garden a popular picnic, wedding and photography destination. The Rose Garden was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

701 State Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90037

Griffith Park

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

With more than 4,210 acres of natural chaparral-covered terrain and landscaped parkland and picnic areas, Griffith Park is the largest municipal park with urban wilderness area in the United States. Griffith Park offers miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, providing visitors an ideal environment for enjoyable recreation activities. There are numerous family attractions and cultural institutions in Griffith Park, including the Autry National Center, The Greek Theatre, the Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Zoo and Travel Town.

4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Los Angeles, 90027

Barnsdall Art Park

Photo courtesy of Barnsdall Art Park, Facebook

Located near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, Barnsdall Art Park sits on 11 acres atop Olive Hill, offering breathtaking views of the city and the Hollywood Sign. The site was deeded to the city of Los Angeles in 1927 as a cultural art center. Today, it is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, the Barnsdall Art Center, the Junior Arts Center, and the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre. Barnsdall Art Park is operated the City of Los Angeles’ Recreation and Parks Department, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Department of General Services. Popular seasonal events at Barnsdall include Friday night wine tastings on the Hollyhock lawn, Saturday night outdoor movies, and Sunday art workshops.

4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 90027

Pan Pacific Park

Photo courtesy of Ian Broyles, Flickr

Centrally located across the street from The Grove, Pan Pacific Park was once home to the famous Pan-Pacific Auditorium. Today it’s one of the most popular and family-friendly parks in the city, with features that include barbecue pits, a baseball diamond (lighted), basketball courts (lighted/indoor/outdoor), a children's play area, an indoor gym (no weights) and picnic tables. Pan Pacific Park is also the site of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, the oldest Holocaust museum in the United States.

7600 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 90036

Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden

Nestled within the UCLA campus in Westwood, the seven-acre Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is an urban oasis that maintains one of the most important living botanical collections in the U.S. The garden is home to roughly 5,000 species of tropical and subtropical plants from all over the world.

777 South Tiverton Ave., Los Angeles, 90095

Central Garden at Getty Center

Photo courtesy Al_HikesAZ, Flickr
At the heart of the acclaimed Getty Center is the 134,000 square-foot Central Garden, created by renowned artist Robert Irwin. The design features a natural ravine and tree-lined walkway that leads visitors through a sublime experience of sights, sounds and scents. The walkway traverses a stream that winds through a variety of plants and gradually descends to a plaza with bougainvillea arbors. Continuing through the plaza, the stream cascades over a stone waterfall into the signature floating maze of azaleas surrounded by specialty gardens.

1200 Getty Center Dr.,  Los Angeles, 90049

Will Rogers State Historic Park

Photo courtesy Lunasmom, Flickr

Will Rogers State Historic Park was the private ranch of the world famous movie star, radio personality, columnist, philosopher and American cowboy, Will Rogers. His 186-acre ranch in Pacific Palisades was the place where Rogers could relax with family and friends, pursuing his favorite pastimes of riding horseback, roping steers or playing polo. The iconic Western Ranch House at Will Rogers State Historic Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and, aside from his 31-room home, the park includes a historic stable, a polo field, riding arena, roping area, numerous corrals, horse pastures, golf course and trails. The park’s famous Inspiration Point Trail provides visitors with fantastic 360-degree vistas, and affords hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians access to the Backbone Trail.

1501 Will Rogers Park Rd., Pacific Palisades, 90272

Angel’s Gate Recreation Center

Photo courtesy of Michael Chen, Flickr

The 64-acre Angel's Gate Recreation Center offers breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline and Santa Catalina Island from its grassy cliffs, as well as basketball courts and a children’s play area. Don’t miss the famous Korean Bell of Friendship, a gift to the people of Los Angeles by the people of the Republic of Korea in 1976 to honor veterans of the Korean War.

3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro, 90731

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Occupying the heart of the historic Rancho Santa Anita, the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden is a unique 127-acre garden and historical site jointly operated by the Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. Home to plant collections from all over the world, including many rare and endangered species, the Arboretum also houses outdoor historical landmarks representative of the major phases of California history. Plants are grouped by geography, with gardens for South American, Mediterranean, South African, Australian and Asiatic-North American plants.

301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, 91007

Garden of Water and Fragrance

Photo courtesy of The Japanese Garden
Suiho En (“Garden of Water and Fragrance”) is a six-and-one-half-acre authentic Japanese garden fashioned after “stroll gardens” constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries for Japanese Feudal lords. This San Fernando Valley gem was created by Dr. Koichi Kawana to provide beauty, relaxation, inspiration and a better understanding of Japanese culture using reclaimed water. Dr. Kawana designed more than one dozen major Japanese gardens in the United States, including the botanical gardens at LACMA.

6100 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys, 91406

Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center

Photo courtesy of Danielle D., Flickr

Famous for its lush citrus groves and beautiful rose garden, the 24-acre Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center is the site of the historic Orcutt residence, which was completed in the 1920s. The gardens include heritage oaks trees, wandering garden paths, formal flower beds and a variety of interesting specimens of trees, exotic shrubs and flowering plants. There are several significant oak trees on the property; one of the largest is more that 33 feet in circumference and is estimated to be more than 700 years old. Nature trails amble through the sprawling orchards, and picnic tables are available for public use.

23600 Roscoe Blvd., West Hills, 91304