Descanso has been described as “a garden of gardens.” Each garden has its own special charm. You can wander through the marvelous thickets of the camellia collection, decompress in the serenity of the Japanese Garden, enjoy the “eye candy” of the Promenade or take a stroll through the Rose Garden. The Descanso Gardens are a great and unique getaway for all to enjoy.
Descanso Gardens visitors come in all ages. Avid gardeners stop to take note of plants, while “regulars” do their morning walk beneath the leafy oak canopy. Children scamper the paths and play while parents try to keep up. And lovers, young and old, are easy to spot, holding hands, sitting close on the many benches that dot the landscape. You can pick a garden, and create your own getaway.
The winding paths and shady nooks of Descanso Gardens invite you to wander, to linger, and to explore. Tram tours and the Enchanted Railroad offer a way to learn about the Gardens and see the highlights within a limited time frame. And visits to the Boddy House and Sturt Haaga Gallery offer a look at Descanso’s origins and its future.
Descanso Gardens is a unique Southern California landscape distinguished by its specialized botanic collections, historical significance, and rare natural beauty. The gardens mission is to offer you an experience close to nature; and cultivate understanding of the natural world and people’s place in it through inspiration, education and example.
A timeline of Descanso’s history may begin with Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo‘s Pacific expedition in 1542, but Native Americans have lived on the land around Descanso for far more than 500 years. First settling in Southern California some 10,000 years ago, the Tongva people occupied nearly all of present-day Los Angeles County, the northern parts of Orange County, and the nearby islands of Santa Catalina and San Clemente. In contrast to the Spanish name used today, which means “dry riverbed” (so-called because the Spanish arrived during a late summer drought), the Tongva name for the canyon, Hahamonga, means “the land of flowing waters, fruitful valley.”
The Descanso Gardens Gift Shop and Patio is a cozy, cedar-beamed complex near the entrance to the Gardens. The Gift Shop carries items of interest for all visitors: home gardening enthusiasts, landscape and interior designers, horticulturists and plant lovers everywhere. Merchandise in the Shop includes home and garden furnishings, such as garden benches, bird baths, statuary, lanterns and cherubs. The art lover will find beautifully framed prints, original watercolors, rugs and wall hangings.
No botanical garden gift shop would be complete without a vast array of garden and nature books for both adults and children. Other merchandise includes an exceptional selection of cards and other gift items such as lovely glassware, ceramics and collectibles. Outdoor wear includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, gloves and hats. You can also buy seeds to plant your own garden.
There’s always something happening at Descanso Gardens. Garden festivals celebrate the seasons, the cultures and the collections that define Descanso. See plants in a fresh new way by taking a gardening class or a guided walk through the landscape. Learn a new skill like painting or gourmet cooking. Decompress at a fitness class. And instill the love of nature in your child. Descanso Gardens also offers programs for young people from toddlers to teens.
WHAT: Descanso Gardens
WHEN: Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm (last entry is 4:30 pm) except for Christmas
WHERE: 1418 Descanso Drive | La Cañada Flintridge 91011
CONTACT INFO: (818) 949-4200
- Free parking
- General admission $8. Senior/Students $6. Children (5 to 12 years) $3. Guild members and children under 5 free
- Tram is $4. Depending on demand, tram tours are at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm Tuesday through Friday; 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm Saturday and Sunday. Check with the Visitor Center to see if tram tours are available the day of your visit. The tram does not operate on Mondays
- Enchanted Railroad is $3 per rider, $25 for a book of 10 tickets; the Enchanted Railroad is open 10 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are sold at the Visitor Center. All schedules are subject to weather and availability; call ahead to see if the train is running at (818) 949-4290
- The gift Shop is open every day except Christmas. Hours are 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday, and 10 am to 4:45 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. For information call (818) 949-4292
- The Descanso Café is open daily from 9 am to 4:30 pm. For information call (818) 790-3663
- No animals, except service dogs, are allowed in the Gardens
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