I love this urban jungle we call home as much as anyone else, but sometimes I just get these incredible urges to get out and see nature. Not like, actual nature, as in like, camping or no cell service, but definitely where I can be in the outdoors and see plants and feel the breeze and not feel like I have to answer my phone.
One of the best places to do this is the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden, located far away in Arcadia. If you’re up to the drive, it’s totally worth a visit – and you can easily spend several hours there too.
Visiting is easy – the Arboretum is located right off the 210, there’s a free parking lot (!!!) and admission is so cheap ($6 with student ID, $9 for adults, even cheaper for kids).
The LA Arboretum is home to hundreds of different plant species from around the world, including the desert, the tropics, Asia and Africa. Stoll around the grounds and you’ll find gigantic trees, beautiful flowers, funky cacti, elegant plants, weird seeds and so much more.
There’s even plenty of water. The giant Arboretum lake is a sight to see, as is the Tulle Pond, which is home to tropical birds and very territorial geese – seriously, don’t get too close. The water highlight is definitely the (man-made) waterfall, though. This is where you’ll see most of the photo opps on Instagram, including my own Facebook profile picture. It’s so picturesque – 2 waterfalls cascading down rocks and surrounded by vines. There are stairs on either side of the waterfall, so you can walk up to the top and look down on the waterfall too. There’s nothing quite like the sound of cascading water (plus, it smells like Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride, so add in all those great feelings too).
My favorite part of the Arboretum is by far the peacocks. The Pasadena and Arcadia area is delightfully home to tons of majestic, loud peacocks. Residents of Pasadena and Arcadia will probably not use the same positive words to describe these belligerent, aggressive birds, but they sure are nice to visit when they’re not in your backyard! On this visit to the Arboretum, Ramsay managed to not get attacked by a peacock, which is a big improvement over our last eventful visit.
The Arboretum is great for botanists, those interested in nature photography and bird-watchers. But most importantly, it really is a place for everyone to go. It is just so serene. The park is so large that in most areas you can’t even hear the freeway traffic, so it really feels like you are out in the wilderness. There are plenty of places to sit, from benches by the lake, to picnics in the grass, large rocks and wicker chairs on the old “Queen Anne’s Cottage” porch. The historical essence is preserved through this cottage and through the Coach Barn that remains intact on the property. You can zone out, take a nap, go for a run, take some photos, pet a turtle, whatever you’d like. And then when you hop back on the freeway and return to reality, you’ll feel so much less inclined toward road rage (at least for a minute or two).
Disclosure: This post is not associated with the Los Angeles County Arboretum in any way. I received no compensation for this post.