Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles' Huntington Gardens is a Magical Getaway

Michael Loren

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I've lived here for almost ten years, but I had never heard of Huntington Gardens until recently when a friend invited me to join her (masked and socially distant) for a stroll in the San Marino botanical oasis. I was not remotely expecting what I encountered when I got there.

First of all, Huntington Botanical Gardens is officially in San Marino, but it isn't too far from the center of Los Angeles - it took me a short 30 minutes to get there. When I arrived, I realized that I had expected a small garden through which I would stroll with my buddy. Instead, I encountered a massive veritable city of nature.

Huntington Gardens is divided into different types of gardens and most people can't get through all of them in one visit. It's like the Disneyland of flowers and trees. We walked through the rose garden, the herb garden, the Japanese garden, the desert garden, and everything in between. We passed statues of Shakespeare, smelled the hundreds of types of roses, and marveled at the Bonsai trees.

The exotic trees, plants, flowers, and statues laid out in meticulously cultivated patters conducive to leisurely strolls and lounging on the grass under the shade of some majestic tree for a short conversation with friends. I realized that it was the perfect place to get away from my chaotic home, chill, breathe in some new scenery, and enjoy the spring sunshine.

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While I'm assuming most people would be most impressed by the extensive collection of roses, my favorite parts were the bamboo forest and the herb garden. The bamboo forest was deliciously creepy. The tall trees obscured the light as I walked on a small path in a claustrophobic jungle. I felt like I had been transported instantly. It was, to be frank, so freaking cool.

My other favorite part of Huntington Gardens was the herb garden. I lovedd pulling down my mask briefly to inhale the likes of lemongrass, rosemary, spearmint, thyme, sage, and other exotic herbs whose names I have forgotten. It was fun exploring and wandering around while thinking which of these interesting things I could incorporate into my next dish or into my garden at home.

Huntington Gardens also has some of Los Angeles' most interesting art galleries, but due to Covid, the museums and art galleries were closed. They also have a few restaurants and, apparently, a fantastic tea service in the rose garden. I made a note to myself to go back at a later date to sample some oolong or fancily prepared green tea.

Covid or not, the gardens were peaceful, beautifully maintained, and an absolutely welcome breath of (literal) fresh air after spending almost a year in my home. As my friend and I headed toward the exit, we spotted an open cafe. "Want to grab a glass?" she asked. Of course I did.

We purchased two overpriced glasses of rosé and found a secluded table that was a safe distance from the path. The sun was shining and we were happily spent after a full day of beautiful sights, smells, and the peaceful laughter of families enjoying the new spring.

For less than $30 and four hours, I had experienced a magical getaway from my everyday life. I traveled from Japan to Arizona to China to the UK through the lens of their native foliage and I felt renewed, refreshed, and inspired.

If you need a little getaway from the monotiny of life and you are in the Los Angeles area, Huntington Botanical Gardens is absolutely one of the best places to find peace, beauty, and even a refreshing glass of rosé. I highly recommend it.

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Professional writer and journalist with concentration in data analysis. I specialize in interpreting data to give you unbiased, understandable information related to the state of California.

Los Angeles, CA
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