The Hollywood Walk of Fame, Disneyland and Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade pale when compared to the color and smell of Los Angeles’ flowers. Solo travelers on the hunt for gorgeous flower pics will do well to visit some insider hotspots in and around the City of Angels during a day trip.
Los Angeles Flower District: An early-morning adventure
The flower mart is a Mecca for wholesalers, shippers, floral designers and horticulturists. Part and parcel of the Los Angeles Fashion District, the visitor to the 700-block of Wall Street is treated to in-season flora at every turn. Tropical foliage is available year round. Potted calceolaria, daffodils, hyacinths and hydrangeas are only stocked in spring and winter. Come equipped with plenty of film, a flash and the desire to smell the heady bouquets. Be sure to arrive early, before a lot of the merchandise is sold off!
Tiara Café: An early lunch experience
After spending a few hours among the flowers, head over to the Tiara Café; as you exit the Flower District, walk to 8th Street. Take a right and then make a left on Spring Street. Another left takes you to 9th Street. Discover an excellent vegetarian menu or opt for the specials, such as monkfish, smoked pork chops or grilled chicken. Head back to the flower mart, get into the car and drive to the arboretum. The drive takes about 30 minutes.
Los Angeles County Arboretum: An afternoon delight
Inside the Rancho Santa Anita are 127 acres devoted to informal perennial gardens, a delightful 1885 Queen Anne cottage, the Mayberg waterfalls, a volunteer-tended herb- and vegetable garden as well as displays indigenous to Africa, Asia and Australia.
Eat an early dinner at the Peacock Café, which is located on the Arboretum grounds. The main fare consists of burritos, hot sandwiches and fresh-baked cookies. A wide array of hot and cold drinks rounds out the meal. Please note that cash is king at the restaurant and closing time is 4:30 p.m. Prepare for a longer scenic drive that takes you partially along the coast for a breathtaking view.
Leo Carrillo State Park: An evening of ocean air and back-country walks
A picturesque 1.5 miles of swimming beach feature a number of tide pools and open coastal caves that beg to be explored. Enjoy the shade underneath the campground’s majestic sycamores. If a full day of walking has not tired out the feet, there is a back-country hiking trail and various easy nature walks that let the day-tripper take in examples of coastal flora.
Insider Tip: The traveler, who is not averse to starting off this Friday early, will be rewarded with a full day of Los Angeles sightseeing that steers clear of tourist traps and crowded venues. Better yet, the low admission fees — $2 for the Flower District and $8 for the arboretum — make this a very inexpensive excursion indeed.
Los Angeles Flower District
766 Wall Street in Los Angeles, 90014
Open Mon., Wed. and Fri. from 8 a.m. to noon; Tues., Thurs. and Sat. from 6 a.m. to noon
127 East 9th Street in Los Angeles, 90015
Open Mon. through Fri., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Los Angeles County Arboretum
301 North Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia, CA 91007
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on holidays)
Leo Carrillo State Park
35000 West Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, CA 90265
Open daily from 8:01 a.m. to 9:59 p.m.