Advertisement
Share
Plants

The 15 best places in L.A. to find shade on hot summer days

The oak grove at Corriganville Park in Simi Valley.
Trees may not be able to solve all of our problems, but they come close. This is the oak grove at Corriganville Park in Simi Valley.
(Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

Trees can solve so many problems.

On the hottest of summer days, their evergreen canopies cool our homes and streets and shelter us from ultraviolet rays.

Anyone who has gotten lost in the intricate details of an ancient African Cape chestnut tree in Elysian Park or the thick bark of a coast live oak in La Cañada Flintridge knows they are magical too.

As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, and we are constrained in our travels, L.A.’s urban forest — and the allure of the outdoors — feels more important than ever.

Advertisement

Trees may not be able to solve all our problems, but they can offer a reprieve from the isolation and anxiety that come with COVID-19.

Here are a few of our favorite places to find shade in L.A. this summer. Have a favorite of your own? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list. Because of the novel coronavirus, some parks and arboretums have limited hours and require timed ticketing. So call or consult websites before heading out.

Located off the 110 Freeway in Montecito Heights, Debs Park is one of the most underrated green spaces in the city.
(Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times)

1. Audubon Center at Debs Park
The urban nature center in Montecito Heights has a beautiful tree canopy consisting of mostly Southern California black walnut, toyon and coast live oak, making it a beautiful place to walk and bird watch. It’s closed until June 30, so watch the website for updates. 4700 N. Griffin Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 221-2255, debspark.audubon.org

2. California Botanic Garden
Take a walk under the shade of a massive majestic oak in the Alluvial Gardens at the largest botanic garden devoted to California native plants (formerly the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden). Admission is $10, $6 seniors and students with ID, $4 children ages 3-12. Timed tickets are currently required for nonmembers. 1500 N. College Ave, Claremont, (909) 625-8767, calbg.org

Visitors enjoy the shade on a hot day in Elysian Park in Los Angeles.
Visitors enjoy the shade on a hot day in Elysian Park in Los Angeles.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

3. Chavez Ravine Arboretum
Grand in scale, with approximately 140 types of trees from all over the world, the oldest arboretum in Los Angeles offers plenty of room to escape the heat while allowing for social distancing. Free. Chavez Ravine Road, Los Angeles, (213) 485-3287, laparks.org

Advertisement

It’s easy to start birding in your backyard. All you need are binoculars and a bit of curiosity

4. Claremont Village
Claremont is home to 23,000 trees including American elms along Indian Hill Avenue and in Memorial Park and the College Avenue eucalyptus trees. Camphor trees provide further shade in the city’s popular Claremont Village. thevillageclaremont.com

The oak grove at Corriganville Park in Simi Valley.
The oak grove at Corriganville Park in Simi Valley.
(Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

5. Corriganville Park
The former Simi Valley movie ranch features four trails shaded by coast live oak and sycamore trees. 7001 Smith Road, Simi Valley, (805) 584-4400, rsrpd.org

Advertisement

6. Crescenta Valley Community Regional Park
Half of the park, which features three miles of trails shaded by sycamores and coast live oaks, loops around to the base of the Verdugos, where you can find coyote and bobcat scat from the night before. 3901 Dunsmore Ave., La Crescenta, (818) 249-5940, parks.lacounty.gov

Art, kids and wildlife bring harmony to a Long Beach garden. Plus 10 tips on what to do in the garden while quarantined.

One of three paths that guide visitors through the new oak woodland at Descanso Gardens.
(Tom Politeo / For The Times)

7. Descanso Gardens
There’s a spectacular oak woodlands canopy here that provides a cool reprieve even on a triple-digit day. The canopy is thick enough that you can sit on a bench and enjoy the shade all day. Admission is $15 for adults, $11 for seniors and students with ID, $5 for children 5 to 12. Advance tickets are currently required for nonmembers. 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge,descansogardens.org

Advertisement

8. El Dorado Nature Center
The 105-acre park is densely wooded and includes stocked fishing lakes, a stream and walking trails. Parking is limited and costs $5 and up, cash only. Pedestrians and cyclists enter free. 7550 E. Spring St., Long Beach, (562) 570-1745, longbeach.gov

Poonsi Kraikittikun takes a stroll under the cool canopy of trees at Fern Dell.
Poonsi Kraikittikun takes a stroll under the cool canopy of trees at Fern Dell.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

9. Fern Dell
This 20-acre tree-shaded trail inside Griffith Park follows a trickling stream dotted with native coast live oak, Western sycamore, a huge Roxburgh fig tree and California coastal redwoods. Free. 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Feliz, laparks.org

10. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens
The Huntington is re-routing foot traffic to allow for social distancing, but one of its shadiest spots — the three Montezuma cypress trees in the rose garden — is on the route. The Huntington reopens July 1, (open now for members). All visitors must reserve tickets online. Admission costs $25 midweek, $29 on weekends. 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino,huntington.org

Advertisement
An artificial creek provides beauty and music.
Runners take the path between the community center and the Bowl Loop.
(David McNew / For The Times)

11. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Enjoy the shadow of a eucalyptus, sumac and oak trees inside the 308-acre recreation area, just off La Cienega Boulevard in Baldwin Hills. 4100 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, parks.ca.gov

 The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens
A peacock hangs out near a closed wooden bench at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens.
(Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)

12. Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden
The tropical rain forest is a shady paradise filled with tall cypress trees, cycads, a grove of bamboo and tropical trees from around the world. Nonmembers are required to buy advance tickets online. Admission is $9 for adults, $4 for children 5 to 12. 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia,arboretum.org

Advertisement

Many of us grieving about the state of the world — illness, injustice, inequities — are turning to our victory gardens, or the potted tomatoes and basil on our balconies or patios, for the tiny moments of respite they provide.

13. Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area
Ride your bike around the lake and through the park and you’ll find hundreds of new coast live oaks planted along the trail. While there are beautiful mature trees in this open space, it’s also exciting to imagine how cool and shady this park will be in five years. Vehicle entry fee: $10. 15501 Arrow Highway, Irwindale, (626) 334-1065, parks.lacounty.gov

14. Point Fermin Park
Curl up under a giant Moreton Bay fig tree and enjoy the ocean views and coastal breeze. 807 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro, (310) 548-7705, laparks.org

The historic Bixby ranch house sits on the 7.5-acre Rancho Los Alamitos in Long Beach.
(Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

Advertisement

15. Rancho Los Alamitos
Tucked away in a gated community, this historic landmark includes 4 acres of gardens, a ranch house and a restored barnyard surrounded by Canary Island palms and two enormous Moreton Bay fig trees. Free tickets are currently required. 400 E. Bixby Hill Road, Long Beach, (562) 431-3541, rancholosalamitos.com


Advertisement