Breathe deep in San Marino

Smell the flowers while you bask in the botanical oasis of a San Gabriel Valley town

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Start your day with breakfast alfresco at Julienne.

photo by Thomas J. Story

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Long favored by film crews from The West Wing to The Wedding Planner, San Marino provides a nice backdrop for you to star in your own garden escape.

Zero in on one of the city's many gardens, some of them with rare botanicals.

Then walk its Mission Street shopping district.


San Marino is about 12 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.


The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens In the newly opened Garden of Flowing Fragrance, California's only classical Chinese garden, hand-carved bridges, moon gates, and floral-patterned mosaic walkways surround a koi-filled lake. Get serene at the tiled-roof teahouse, Hall of the Jade Camellia, and sip Chinese teas such as rich green bi luo chun. Closed Tue; $15 Mon and Wed-Fri, $20 Sat-Sun and Memorial Day; 1151 Oxford Rd.; 626/405-2100.

The Old Mill Nearly two centuries old, El Molino Viejo's thick adobe walls once enclosed the stone wheels that ground flour for padres at nearby San Gabriel Mission. Explore the mill's small museum and art gallery, with paintings for sale by California Art Club members. The surrounding gardens stay true to their California roots. 1-4 Tue-Sun; free; 1120 Old Mill Rd.; 626/449-5458.


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