We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Neighborhood treasure” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
+1 818-949-4200
Improve this listing
Type: Gardens, Outdoors
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Located 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, Descanso Gardens is a botanical garden and place of year-round natural beauty, with internationally renowned botanical collections and spectacular seasonal horticultural displays. Accredited by the American Association of Museums as a museum of living collections, Descanso Gardens welcomes 250,000 visitors annually. The principal collections include California native plants and oak woodlands; one of the largest concentration of camellia plants in the Western Hemisphere; a rose garden with specimens from all corners of the globe; and significant presentations of lilacs, maple trees, cherry trees and iris. It has been designated an International Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society.
Los Angeles
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Neighborhood treasure”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

Great to walk, quiet, or busy, beautiful in all seasons, volunteers' care lets you know it is important to lots of people. Special events keep something new to look forwards to. Nice for photos or just to sit and reflect.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

109 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, CA
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Beautiful little gem of a garden!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

This enchanting little garden is a perfect place to unwind & enjoy nature, get married, or have photographs taken. The rose gardens are spectacular, the Japanese garden is peaceful, and the Camellia forest is wondrous. There is a train for kids too. I was surprised to find that many people were unaware of this garden, or that the cafe here is part of the Patina Group. This garden was so beautiful that I decided to become a member (which has a reciprocal program with other gardens nationwide for free admission) and have enjoyed the gardens even more frequently ever since!

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“A beautiful place to spend the day”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

I love these gardens! There are what seems to be miles of walking paths through various shaded and sunny areas. There are benches scattered around for sitting, some fountains, etc. The museum/house is nothing special, but it's also not the focus of the attraction. I have been there during all 4 seasons and there is always something beautiful to see.

I love taking a snack and a book and sitting for a few hours just enjoying the peaceful outdoor atmosphere. As a tourist attraction, this is a one-time wonder. As a peaceful place to get away: I would get a season pass if I lived there and would probably go at least once a week. As it is, when I visit family in California I always spend at least one afternoon here.

If I could change one thing, I would expand the gift shop and have a larger range of items and less scented ones (I am asthmatic and the overwhelming number of fake floral scents prevents me from spending more than a few minutes inside). Also, I would love to see a premiere food vendor there - it would be heavenly to get a fresh baguette sandwich, or salad or something similar. I wouldn't like to see it turned into cheap food vending areas....but a tiny gourmet selection would make the day even more enjoyable.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laguna Hills, California
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Too bad. Hope they do something about it. Disappointing.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

I'm very sad to write this review. But I hope it gets someone's attention and does something about it. I visited Descanso last month, when the garden is suppose to be in bloom, lush and green, for our anniversary. We drove an hour and half to get there, booked a room for the night so we don't feel rushed. I was looking forward to this yearly trip to Descanso, sadly only to be disappointed. The gardens were not looked after very well at all. The Rose Garden looked awful with weeds everywhere, some taller than the rose plant next to it. The large green spaces were gone and replaced by brown mulch. The only section that looked decent was the entrance. It was like they lost the caretaker, or something. What happened? In all these 10 years or so I've been going there, I have never seen Descanso in a bad way till now. It was so disappointing. I hope they do something about it, and return it to its former glory. I will surely not go there anytime soon.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palo Alto, California
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Pleasant gardens with an enjoyable Hollywood Regency style house”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

This was just the spot for cousins to reconnect away from the hustle-bustle of Los Angeles--lunching outdoors, strolling the gardens, touring the 1937 home of E. Manchester Boddy, the founder of the Los Angeles Daily News.
The gardens offer paths for strolling with plenty of shady options on a hot afternoon. We also enjoyed exploring the house, which has that 1930s Hollywood vibe, also knowing that it was a spot for legendary parties on a hilltop overlooking an exquisite garden. The excellent docent told us Boddy's story, a real rags to riches much like the Great Gatsby, except it ended happily. You cold read Boddy's clippings and get a feel for his generous spirit.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Descanso Gardens also viewed


Been to Descanso Gardens? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Descanso Gardens, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.