As summer quickly approaches, plans may include going to the beach, visiting the latest Instagram-worthy museum or waiting in line at Universal Studios Hollywood or Disneyland.

While these are all fun ideas that are perfect for the summer, don’t forget to steal some time for yourself. Whether you want a quick pick-me-up after work or are looking to dedicate a day to recuperating, here is a list of local hideaways to visit to relax your mind and let the stress melt away.


1750 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena

Located by the San Gabriel Mountains on Altadena Drive heading north, Eaton Canyon is a great place to go for a relaxing day with or without children. Visitors can walk through the different nature trails, enjoy a picnic in one of the designated areas and cool down inside the Nature Center. 



135 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena

Even if you’re not religious, this is a great little urban hideaway located on the Fuller Theological Seminary campus where you can sit, listen to trickling water, relax and reflect. It’s a shady spot that will grant you a nice reprieve from the sun as well.   


275 Arlington Drive, Pasadena

This botanical garden is free to the public and pet-friendly. The moveable furniture allows visitors to grab a seat and place it under the shade of the Mediterranean plants that thrive in the California weather. If you’re heading west on Colorado Boulevard, take a left on Fair Oaks Avenue to Arlington Drive, then turn right. If you’re heading east, take a right on Orange Grove Boulevard and turn left on Arlington Drive.


The Arroyo Seco offers a wide variety of activities for those who want a more laid-back outing, from bird watching to fly-fishing. Since this place is over 24 miles long with different activities available throughout the area, directions will vary.   


1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena 

Going to a college to escape for a bit may not be a first choice, but if you’re already in the area which is right off the Foothill (210) Freeway on East California Boulevard, Caltech is a quiet campus. Stroll the campus on a self-guided tour of this historic institution..


100 N. Garfield Ave., Pasadena

This may seem like another strange choice, but the courtyard is very serene, with its fountain and architecture. The structure, which was completed in 1927, was designed by John Bakewell and Arthur Brown who were influenced by the early Renaissance style of 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio.  Again, if you’re in the area, take a breather here.


232 S. Michigan Ave., Pasadena

This is a small space located in a residential area close to both Caltech and Pasadena City College within walking distance for students, faculty and staff who want to leave campus for a bit between classes. It’s also a nice place to walk the dog or take out the little ones.


1485 Virginia Road, San Marino

Lacy Park can get busy during the weekends, but it’s not so bad during the week and it’s free (non-residents have to pay an entrance fee during the weekend). It’s another park in a residential area, this time in San Marino and close to the Huntington Library. It’s good for walking and bicycling as well as picnicking. There is also a small flower garden. 


Head all the way up Lake Avenue until it ends, park and head over to what used to be the Cobb Estates. There you can pick up Sam Merrill Trail, a major hiking trail in the Las Flores Canyon of the San Gabriel Mountain Range north of Altadena.   


Millard Canyon Falls Trail is a 2.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Altadena that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail. Bear right on Lincoln and head north for 1.9 miles. Turn right on Loma Alta Drive and follow it 0.6 miles to Chaney Trail (easy to miss). Turn left and follow to the Millard Canyon Campground.


Griffith Park

2800 Canyon Drive, Los Angeles

The Giving Tree looks like any other tree, but what sets it apart are all the wishes and letters people have left inside the trunk. Getting there is going to require a hike, but it’s short and doable. The trail to it is pretty scenic as well. To get therel, take Canyon Drive until you pass the Griffith Park gates and can’t go any farther. From the asphalt parking lot, go forward. This trail takes you both to the tree and the Hollywood sign. You will know you’re on the right path when you see the spray-painted dragon. Once you see the radio towers, the tree should be close by but don’t expect a crowd.


Griffith Park

4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles

This little oasis can be found in Griffith Park. Hikers can use this as a rest area, but it can also be a quick destination for a tranquil escape from the city. To get to it, take the fire road up from Mineral Wells Road and Griffith Park Drive. The garden itself has a mixture of native and exotic plants, and there is plenty of seating, shade and views to make this trip worth it. n