Small enough for a quick stroll but large enough to lose oneself in, this gem is bordered by decomposed granite walkways that get slick when it rains—or so the nervous guards say when they force the grounds into lockdown during a drizzle. (California is not at its best when it rains.) Fragrant patches of lavender, a eucalyptus grove and 180 species of plants composed by landscape designer Nancy Goslee Power mingle with abundant sculpture, a lily pond and a surprise waterfall that almost makes you forget the freeway on-ramp right next door. Lunch at the teak-chic Garden Terrace makes this the perfect antidote to the surrounding asphalt jungle.
411 W. Colorado Blvd., Old Pasadena
Open Wed.-Mon. noon- 6 p.m. (Fri. to 9 p.m.)
Adults $10, senios $5, students and kids under 18 free; free to all the first Fri. evening of the month