Even the happiest of urbanists need to escape the big city to walk among natural beauty once in a while. A visit to a park or garden is a great way to get outside and indulge in your senses. There are many beautiful spots around AMLI’s Southern California apartments, including gardens, lavish parks, outdoor sculptures and natural areas that run on the ocean’s edge.

We’ve highlighted seven of Southern California’s most unique gardens and parks so you can plan your next escape into nature.

Bixby Park

130 Cherry Ave., Long Beach

This 16.7-acre park located in Long Beach has a deep-rooted history. Bixby Park started with tree planting back in the 1880’s and went on to house a goldfish pond, an aviary and even monkeys. Today, only the trees remain, but much of the history is still there to explore. You’ll find walking paths, music stages, a skate park, picnic areas, barbecue pits, volleyball courts and a fitness loop.

Blue Ribbon Garden

111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

At almost one acre, this fully landscaped rooftop garden is huge. One of the highlights of Blue Ribbon Garden is the rose-shaped fountain that’s coated with a thousand pieces of porcelain and tiles.

The Japanese Garden

6100 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys

In the middle of the San Fernando Valley lies this six-and-a-half-acre garden, which features three gardens in one. As you enter the Japanese garden, there is a Zen meditation area with a three-buddha stone arrangement and a large walking path. There are waterfalls, lakes, streams, greenery and stone lanterns which were hand carved by Japanese artists. Once inside, enjoy authentic tea at the garden’s teahouse.

Heisler Park

375 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach

This park in Laguna Beach has beautiful walkways lined with sculptures and benches. Heisler Park runs approximately a half-mile along the coast and rests atop ocean bluffs. The 18.5-acre park includes paths, lawns, gardens and picnic areas. There are a number of different ocean views, public art installations, a lawn bowling area and gazebos. Another reason this park is so unique is the tide pools that are located off-shore from the park, which are home to extensive marine life.


Arlington Garden

275 Arlington Drive, Pasadena

This 3-acre Mediterranean-style garden is lush with plants and wildlife. It’s the perfect retreat for those looking to get away from the city and be in nature. The garden is dog-friendly and is also home to a variety of birds and butterflies.

Brand Park

1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale

At the base of the Verdugo Mountains, this 31-acre park has many unique features that make it a great place to explore. There are hiking trails, art galleries, a teahouse, gardens and a museum. The museum is an old doctor’s house, which is a home built in 1888 and is now maintained by the Glendale Historical Society.

Oso Viejo Community Park

24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo

This large park is full of surprises. The Oso Creek Trail runs through the park where you’ll walk past a butterfly garden, mosaic artwork, fountains, a maze and a fairy trail complete with tiny houses, tables and more! This is truly a lovely and unique park.

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Southern California's most unique gardens and parks

About Lauren Fischer


Lauren is a freelance web designer and writer out of Asheville, NC. Lauren has worked with a variety of businesses from manufacturing, healthcare, non-profits, and eCommerce shops to enhance their online presence. When she's not working, she's hiking with her dogs, cooking something tasty, or planning her next adventure.