7 Hidden Places to Chill When L.A. Summer Gets Too Hot, Busy and Touristy

Balance, babes. That’s the attainable L.A. vibe You’ll get if you visit these gardens, beaches and rooftops. Because in a town where your waiter is an aspiring superstar and that woman driving in the next lane is recording for her influencer content, it seems like everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere. So check out these spots where you can stop and smell the rosé.

Your Ultimate, FOMO-Inspiring L.A. Summer Calendar

beverly wilshire roof garden
Beverly Wilshire

Drink In A Rooftop Garden In Beverly Hills

This summer, the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel is celebrating its 90th birthday with a grass-and-badminton-net-outfitted rooftop garden hidden behind an ordinary-looking guest room door. Besides roses, there’s lots of rosé—the menu offers it still, sparkling, in mixed cocktails and as frosé, along with light snacks. Open daily from 3 to 9 p.m.

9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-275-5200 or

peace labyrinth

Walk A Labyrinth In West Adams

On the grounds of a regal manse once owned by 1930s Hollywood director Busby Berkeley, the labyrinth here is based on the one at theChartres Cathedral in France. The grounds are maintained by a spiritual organization that lets seekers come use the grounds for free.

3500 W. Adams Blvd.; 323-737-4055 or

Japanese Garden In Dtla

This pocket garden dates back to the 1970s redevelopment of the area, but it’s largely unknown except to users of the Japanese Cultural Center it’s attached to. An alley of the busy area opens to this soothing green multilevel expanse of ponds, shade trees and small pagodas. Closed Mondays and open the rest of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., it’s perfect for a rando midday respite when you’re in the area.

244 S. San Pedro St.; 213-628-2725 or

Police Academy Rock Garden In Elysian Park

You’ve seen the signs for the Los Angeles Police Academy, which is tucked into a corner ofElysian Park next to Dodger Stadium. But what you probably didn’t know is that, back in 1937,the academy commissioned a sculptor and landscape designer to turn its green space into a mass of boulders, waterfalls and bamboo groves that looks like something out of Lara Croft land.(Tarzana was filmed here, natch.) Just check in at the academy gate and you’ll have your run of the place for free.

1880 N. Academy Dr.; 323-221-5222 or

Escondido Beach In Malibu

Through an unprepossessing metal gate on PCH, through a sun-dappled pathway and down a long zigzag staircase, there is the jewel that is Escondido Beach. Its crap parking (seriously, we’re talking a handful of spaces along the road) and “no dogs allowed” signage mean there are precious few crowds or pets. (Although, full disclosure, we may be guilty of bringing along a family dog and not being ticketed. Several times.)

27420 Pacific Coast Hwy.

Garden Of Oz In Beachwood Canyon

A local resident bought a plot of land for a flower garden back in 1991—nothing special. But when her contractor pushed bright ceramics into some cement, the space mutated into an outsider art project that evolved into a maze of colorful thrones and Wizard of Oz homage tableaux. Open on Thursday mornings (and to lucky neighborhood children who’ve been given a key.)

3040 N. Ledgewood Dr.

northridge duck pond
Sonia F./Yelp

Duck Pond In Northridge

In the Valley but want to escape the well-manicured suburban vibe? Drive onto the campus of California State University at Northridge and take a stroll around the little pond that’s full of mallards, koi and red-eared slider turtles. You can buy a handful of duck feed from a vending machine and watch the cattails bend in the breeze. Just make sure to visit in the early morning or dusk—there’s no shade, and this is, after all, the Valley.

18111 Nordhoff St.; 818-677-1200 or

dana dickey
Dana Dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...
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