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Culture, Lifestyle

Public Gardens in Los Angeles That Aren’t Closed

June 10, 2020 by Christina Champlin
The Huntington Cherry Blossom Trees. Photo by: Brian Champlin

As the city slowly opens back up, Angelenos are excited to leave the confines of their homes for more than just a grocery run. We’ve compiled a list of outdoor L.A. sanctuaries where you can stretch your legs and get some fresh air. If you want to smell the flowers as you stroll mindfully to the sounds of songbirds and humming insects, these are the gardens to explore.

Arlington Garden (Pasadena)

This three-acre water-wise public garden highlights the flora that grows in SoCal’s climate. It’s divided into seven areas, including citrus groves, Mediterranean plants, desert cacti, and more. The garden is free and open daily from 8 a.m. to sundown, except on Tuesdays when closed for maintenance. Pets are welcome. Due to COVID-19, guests must wear a mask and are not allowed to use the furniture. Social distancing is enforced. Bringing your own hand sanitizer is also highly encouraged. More information.

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Descanso Gardens (La Cañada Flintridge)

Descanso Gardens spans 150 acres and houses the largest camellia collection in North America, a five-acre rose garden, a Japanese garden, and a whole lot more. Some physical distancing modifications have been put into place and all guests must wear a facial covering. Tickets are released on Tuesday mornings starting at 10 a.m. and must be purchased online in advance. They’re $9 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children 5 to 12, and free for kids 4 and younger. More information.

L.A. County Arboretum (Arcadia)

This 127-acre botanical garden is home to plants from all over the world, a peaceful lake, and famous roaming peacocks. Tickets are timed and can only be purchased in advance online. Visitors will need a face covering to enter and must practice physical distancing. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $11 for seniors (62+) and students, $5 for children 5–12, and are free for children under 5. More information.

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Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden

This water-wise public garden and certified nature habitat is located in Polliwog Park. The area practices Earth-friendly gardening and is known to attract many birds and butterflies. More information.

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Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden (Pasadena)

The two-acre Japanese Garden has plans to reopen on Sundays starting June 28. Designed for peaceful strolling, the grounds feature a 15-foot waterfall, a pond, and a teahouse. Guests must register ahead of time online to gain access to the garden. Admission is $7.50 for adults and free for kids 12 and under. Members are granted free admission. A few areas will be closed to the public, including the teahouse, at this time. More information.

California Botanic Garden (Claremont)

The 86-acre garden is devoted to the conservation, research, horticulture, and celebration of California native plants. Timed ticket reservations must be made online. Guests are required to wear a mask, avoid contact with others, and leave when their time slot is over. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for seniors (65+) and students, $4 for children 3–12, and free for those under 3. More information.

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The Huntington Chinese Garden. Photo by: Christina Champlin

The Huntington (San Marino)

The Huntington set its public reopening date for July 1, while members can access the grounds on June 17 with advance tickets. For now, the 130-acre garden is the only area open, and admission will not grant access to the museum spaces or library. There are several areas that you must explore, including the Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, and Desert Garden. Due to COVID-19, guests must wear a face mask and adhere to social distancing rules.

The Huntington will open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., including Tuesdays, a day when the gardens have typically closed. The addition of Tuesdays, plus special evening hours throughout the summer, will allow more guests to visit despite the gardens’ reduced capacity. Tickets are released three days in advance and cost $25 (weekday) to $29 (weekend) for adults, $21 (weekday) to $24 (weekend) for seniors and students, $13 for children 4–11, and free for kids under 4. There will also be two free days in July as well. All reservations must be made online. More information.

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South Coast Botanic Garden (Palos Verdes Peninsula)

The 87-acre botanic garden is home to over 2,500 different species of plants from around the world. To see them for yourself, make an advance reservation online. Visitors will need a face covering to enter and must practice physical distancing. Ticketed Special Dog Walking hours occur on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month this summer with a $4 dog admission. Tickets to the garden are $15 for ages 13 and up, $11 for seniors (62+), $5 for children 5–12, and free for children under 5. More information.

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