Originally Wilson Lake in 1875, this 30-acre park was created by the city of San Marino in 1925, when it bought the land and drained the lake. It’s one of the prettiest parks in Southern California, landscaped with grand old oaks, sycamores, palm groves (labeled!) and a pristine rose garden and arbor, as well as various memorials: one to WWI vets, one to native son Gen. George S. Patton, one to the Vietnam “conflict” and lots of memorial benches and plaques on walkways and in the rose garden. For the living, there’s a baseball diamond, six tennis courts, two walking/cycling paths and plenty of shaded picnic tables. It’s also a dog-friendly place, with doggy drinking fountains and poo bags. And for those with less-hairy offspring, there are well-maintained play structures overseen by a mix of nannies (sometimes in actual maid’s uniforms, complete with aprons and sensible shoes) and local moms (in five-carat solitaires and impractical shoes). If you don’t live in San Marino, it’ll cost you $3 on weekends. What, you think paradise is free? Oh, and no loitering near the restrooms, and no smoking within 100 feet of the play structures—yeah, like you’d dare.
Entrance on Virginia Rd., north of Monterey Rd., San Marino, www.ci.san-marino.ca.us
Open Mon-Fri. 6:30 a.m.-dusk, Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; nonresidents pay $3 per person to enter on weekends.