Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, California is an incredible place to visit. If you are looking to spend a day in the great outdoors this is one of the best spots to check out in Southern California. You can walk around, take pictures, or sit on a bench and read a book. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children 5-12. However, there is a Descanso Gardens free day on the third Tuesday of every month. Parking is always free.

In order to visit on the free day you must sign up for a ticket on their website. Ignore the time it says on the ticket. I was able to use my 9am ticket at 3pm. You’ll find the ticket link at the bottom of this post.

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descanso gardens

I found out about the gardens from a list of free things to do in the Los Angeles area. Honestly, I hate that it took me so long to visit. This place impressed me so much that I wish I would have known about long ago so that I could have brought out of town visitors here. I am thankful that now I know about it and can share it with you too.

At the entrance, you can purchase tickets to ride the railroad that goes throughout various areas of the gardens. The cost is $3 per person or $25 for a booklet of 10 tickets. The train only runs on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for limited hours. Please note that the train does not run on free days.

descanso gardens free day

What surprised me the most about Descanso Gardens is how large it is. There is a rose garden, a Japanese garden, a camellia garden, an oak forest, and so much more. In addition to all of the beautiful scenery, there are two other points of interest, the Boddy House, and the Sturt Haaga Gallery. Both of these buildings are included with your admission. This is a great way to see some art and learn more about the gardens.

I visited in the spring but I would love to come back in November or December for the Enchanted: Forest of Light. It is a nighttime event that lights up a one-mile area of the gardens. I have heard a lot of good things about it so I can’t wait to check it out for myself.

Every year Descanso Gardens “Enchanted: Forest of Light” takes place and this is an event that I am anxious to check out. When the holiday season approaches, it brings a special treat. It’s a whole new experience to see this SoCal treasure illuminated in glorious light. As the sun sets, the gardens transform into an enchanted forest and your ticket is an invitation to venture in and discover the magical world that waits under the glowing foliage. During this colorful and interactive experience, you can stroll through a mile of Descanso Gardens’ most popular areas while marveling at the gorgeous lighted displays.

descanso gardens la

There is so much beauty here that it is a perfect place to take pictures. This would be such a fun place to take family or engagement photos. Almost everywhere you look here you will find a picturesque spot. Descanso Gardens has been used as a filming location for a few movies like Legally Blonde and Four Christmases. If you’re hungry while you are here you can eat at Maple Restaurant or Café Descanso.

You can find the Descanso Gardens free day tickets here.

Interested in other gardens you can visit for free? You can check out the Huntington Library and the LA Arboretum.

About The Author

Michelle Ares is the founder and creative director of LA Dreaming. I have a passion for Southern California and love sharing my adventures and experiences with you. I love to travel, find new places to check out, and watch movies. You can follow me on Instagram @la.dreaming

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