Below are some suggestions for things to do and see in the greater Los Angeles area, as recommended by local CNPS chapters! Click on the map to see attractions by location, or scroll down to see points of interest by the type of activity.
Museums & Gardens
Autry Museum of the American West (Los Angeles, in Griffith Park): The new California Continued exhibitions include a California native ethnobotanical garden as well as displays on California native landscapes and fire effects.
Nature Gardens & Exposition Park at Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Los Angeles): Beautiful habitat gardens designed to attract wildlife; within walking distance are the Natural History Museum, California Science Center, Space Shuttle Endeavour, LA Memorial Coliseum, University of Southern California, and an LA Metro Rail stop.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Los Angeles): Museum is surrounded by nature gardens with mostly CA native plants attracting much wildlife; exhibits include dinosaurs as wells as natural and cultural history.
California Science Center (Los Angeles): Near the Natural History Museum; discovery Shuttle on display.
Mildred Mathias Botanical Garden (Los Angeles, on UCLA Campus): A broad-based plant collection, not far from LAX.
Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden (Manhattan Beach): Some California Natives, relatively close to conference site.
Theodore Payne Foundation (Sun Valley): California native plant nursery with extensive demonstration gardens including chaparral habitat.
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (Claremont): The premiere California native plant garden and research center, featuring hundreds of plant species grouped by habitat.
The Huntington (San Marino): Library, art museum and botanical garden; new entrance gardens feature many California native plants in a drought tolerant environment.
Descanso Gardens (Flintridge): Extensive garden most of which is interspersed in an oak woodland; large California native gardens and a newly restored oak woodland habitat.
South Coast Botanic Garden (Palos Verdes Peninsula): 87-acre garden with some natives.
Parks, Preserves, Outdoor Activities
Ballona Wetlands (Los Angeles): Native wetland vegetation, birding, and walking trails; closest natural area to the LAX Marriott.
Griffith Park (Los Angeles): 4,310 acres of open space in the furthest east section of the Santa Monica Mountains; numerous hiking trails, tons of wildlife (home of P-22 mountain lion).
Hike from Griffith Park Observatory to the Hollywood Sign (Los Angeles): Native vegetation, classic landmarks, and spectacular views.
South Los Angeles Wetlands Park (Los Angeles): Nine-acre public nature park with a sustainable storm water treatment wetland constructed in the middle; this award-winning ecological engineered park contains many native plants and is in the middle of South Los Angles urban sprawl.
Audubon Center at Debs Park (Los Angeles): An extensive walnut oak woodland noted for good birding; near downtown LA along the Arroyo Seco Parkway, the world’s first freeway.
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (Culver City): Restored former oil drilling site with hiking trails and native plants and habitats, excellent birding site.
Temescal Canyon Park (Pacific Palisades): Hiking trails in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Will Rogers State Historic Park (Pacific Palisades): Point of historical interest as well as hiking trails in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Solstice Canyon (Malibu): Excellent hiking along a year-round stream up to a waterfall.
Malibu Bluffs Park/Open Space (Malibu): Coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific, environmentally sensitive habitat area including many native plants and a grassland, excellent birding and beach access.
Malibu Lagoon State Beach (Malibu): Restored wetland and lagoon leading to a famous surfing beach, excellent winter birding site.
Topanga State Park (Topanga): Numerous hiking trails and a gateway to hiking/botanizing in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Malibu Creek State Park (Calabasas): Excellent hiking into the Santa Monica Mountains; stream, birding, MASH filming site.
Eaton Canyon Nature Center (Pasadena): Gateway to hikes in a popular natural area in the San Gabriel Mountains; stream and numerous native plants and habitats.
Madrona Marsh (Torrance): Great bird watching, native plant demonstration garden, and easy walking trails at this 12-acre wetland in the heart of Torrance.
Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (Palos Verdes Peninsula): Over 1,400 acres of preserve with miles of hiking trails and two nature centers.
Point Vicente Interpretive Center (Rancho Palos Verdes): Beautiful coastal sage habitat, great whale watching, and the CNPS South Coast Chapter’s native plant demonstration garden.
Deane Dana Friendship Park and Nature Center (San Pedro): Nature center and large park with some native habitat and ocean and harbor views.
Colorado Lagoon (Long Beach): Restored wetlands.
Jack Dunster Marine Biological Reserve (Long Beach): Nice native plant garden.
El Dorado Nature Center (Long Beach).
Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve (Newport Beach): Estuary and coastal bluffs surrounding Newport Bay; visit the Muth Interpretive Center, bike/walk the Mountains to Sea Trail and Bikeway, or continue on to Balboa Island for chocolate dipped bananas and a “ferry” ride to the Balboa Peninsula, Fun Zone, and Pier.
Other Points of Interest
Downtown Manhattan Beach & Pier (Manhattan Beach): Take the Ocean Express Beach Trolley directly from the Marriott to Manhattan Beach where you will find plenty of fun places to eat and things to do; check with the front desk for details.
Los Angeles River (various sites): 51 miles of concrete with the exception of soft bottom sites in the Sepulveda Basin in the San Fernando Valley and at the Glendale Narrows near Griffith Park; greenway parks along the river especially in the San Fernando Valley and in Glendale area.
The Getty (Los Angeles and Pacific Palisades): Two campuses, one off the 405 freeway in Sepulveda Pass and the other in Malibu off of the PCH; Malibu site requires pre-booked tickets, main site is free except for parking fee; both are noted for their iconic collections, lovely gardens, and beautiful locations in the Santa Monica Mountains with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
Terranea Resort (Rancho Palos Verdes): Oceanfront hotel with public access to trails and coastline; many California Natives used in landscaping.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (San Pedro): Native plant garden, salt marsh, and tide pools, plus excellent aquarium.