Gone Green! Here’s Where to Find Real Gardens in LA’s Urban Jungles

Your Guide to Beautiful Secret Gardens around Los Angeles

Written By: Bobby Anand Gone Green! Here’s Where to Find Real Gardens in LA’s Urban Jungles Gardens in LA

Whether you’re looking for the perfect (inexpensive) date idea in LA or just want a little break from traffic noises and congestion, this guide to beautiful secret gardens around Los Angeles will work perfectly. Have a picnic, venture to new nature spots aside from Griffith Park or just take a stroll in these gorgeous green landscapes. Even better, all of these recommendations are all less than a mile away from public transportation.

Storrier Stearns Japanese Gardens (Metro Gold Line Fillmore Station)

Our first recommendation is a relative newcomer to the secret garden scene. The grounds have a teahouse, bridges, a hill with a waterfall and ponds and are surrounded by sycamores and oak trees.The high-end materials used to build the garden included imported Japanese stone ornaments, and special trees and plants you would normally find in the woods of Japan. Even the teahouse was made in Japan, then disassembled, brought to Pasadena and reassembled.


James Irvine Japanese Garden (Metro Gold Line Little Tokyo/Arts District Station)

The reason this tranquil garden is one of Little Tokyo’s best-kept secrets is because it isn’t directly accessible from the hustle and bustle of San Pedro St. and the Japanese Village Plaza Shopping Center. To reach the space, enter the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, check in at the information window on the left, take the elevator down to level B and zigzag to your right through an unembellished hallway. According to the community center, the garden features a 170-foot cascading stream, a wide variety of plants, flowers and trees, handcrafted cedar bridges, a selection of stone lanterns and a hand washing fountain.  


Kyoto Gardens at the Doubletree Hotel (Metro Gold Line Little Tokyo/Arts District Station)

While at the James Irvine Japanese Garden, walk up a block 2nd Street and head to the southern set of elevators at the Doubletree Hotel. Once at the top, stroll out to the Majestic Kyoto Gardens and be surrounded by a stunning vista of modern architectural wonders.  The Kyoto Gardens are an idyllic half-acre of manicured greenery, cascading waterfalls, and tranquil pond meant to replicate the ancient Japanese Garden in Tokyo. You might even recognize this garden from movies like The Runaways, Rampart and Her!


The Japanese Garden at Woodley Park (Metro Orange Line Woodley Station)

This Japanese garden is near the Woodley Station of the Orange Line right next to the 405.  The 6.5-acre Japanese Garden in Van Nuys was first opened to the public in 1984 and has since served as an ideal place of rest and meditation. The paths are lined with sinuously formed box hedge and tall bamboo. The beautiful lotus and waterlily pond is a lovely stop on your way to the teahouse for contemplative views back across the waters and wildlife.


Audubon Center at Debs Park (Metro Orange Line Southwest Museum Station)

Our final recommendation is listed for our ornithological loving readers because the gardens at Deb Park has recorded over 140 different species of birds on the premises! Located within the fourth largest park in Los Angeles, more than half of Debs Park is covered in walnut-oak woodland, grassland, and coastal sage scrub.  Make sure to keep May 7th on your calendars for the Audubon Center’s Bird LA Day with events at the Audubon Center along with more than 30 other venues around the area!

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