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At the north end of Exposition Park, which isn't really a park at all, sits this sunken garden. Exposition Park Rose Garden features more than 20,000 rose bushes, made up of more than 190 different varieties of roses. During blooming season from March to November, the smell here can be incredibly strong. This spot is popular for picnics and weddings, the latter of which is available by reservation.
Providing a space for nature and functional art in the middle of downtown, Grand Hope Park was completed in 1993 following plans designed by Lawrence Halprin. Set on two and a half acres, the park features the work of prominent local artists in addition to trees, trellises, a fountain and a clock tower. It is the central feature of the South Park development, a planned neighborhood with both residential and commercial spaces.
This park in the Leimert Park neighborhood is considered the hub of African-American art scene. It has several shops and theaters in the vicinity which makes it a place full of theater artists, musicians, poets, writers and tourists. The World Stage is also located in the same neighborhood.
A busy public space dating back to 1886, Pershing Square is right in the middle of downtown. Once filled with lampposts, palm trees and a central fountain, this five-acre area was reinvented by architect Ricardo Legorreta in 1984 to acclimate it to its transformed surroundings. The park has since been stripped of its grass and trees, and is now dominated by a 120-foot high purple campanile (tower), a Legorreta favorite. The park is also full of Californian symbols, the most prominent of which is a fake fault line that runs from one corner of the park to the other.
The area that MacArthur Park now covers was once a swampland. But in the 19th century Mayor William H. Workman brought in topsoil and trees and created a lake in a low ravine by filling it with water. It was one of the first public gardens in Los Angeles and is named after General Douglas MacArthur. There are more than 80 species of plants. Paddleboats are available for rental on the lake and there is a snack bar and playground. Many locals come here to picnic and play. Although this is not the safest area in town, if you are here during the day there should be no problems. Besides it is very convenient to reach this park as there are several bus stations scattered around it.
The James Irvine Japanese Garden, also known as Seiryu-en or Garden of The Clear Stream is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. It is a mix of Eastern and Western landscaping styles and is located in a sub-ground level of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. The garden was made possible by volunteer Japanese-American gardeners, landscape contractors and nurserymen. In 1981, it won the National Landscape Award presented by First Lady Nancy Reagan at the White House. The park is closed to the public when rented for special occasions. Stop by for a relaxing stroll and enjoy the beautiful landscaping and plants.