All visitors who aren’t members must buy a general admission ticket.

9am-7pm daily

Plan Your Visit – FAQs

Tickets and admission

Do I need a ticket or can I just stroll in and visit Descanso Gardens?

Non-members (kids included), need to show a ticket to enter the gardens. Easily purchase tickets at the Visitor Center or on our Ticket page. Daytime ticket price: $15 for adults. Check to see if you’re eligible for one of our nifty ticket discounts (see the FAQ on discounts below).

I'm a Descanso member — can I enter without a ticket?

Members enjoy free access to the gardens for regular visits. Just flash your membership card at the bridge. No waiting in line at the Visitor Center! 

(For special signature events like Carved and Enchanted Forest of Light, even devoted members like you must purchase tickets.)

Can I get a discount on tickets?

Military discounts – We participate in the Blue Star Museums program and offer free admission to U.S. military active duty personnel and their families in the spring and summer. The program runs from Armed Forces Day to Labor Day each year. Within that timespan, military ID holders and up to five of their family members can visit Descanso for free.

AAA discounts don’t apply – Auto Club members don’t receive AAA discounts at Descanso.

Senior discounts – Seniors 65+ get a daytime admission ticket discount. Seniors pay $11 (discounted from the $15 cost of adult tickets).

Student discounts – Students (with a student ID) get a daytime admission ticket discount. Students pay $11 (discounted from the $15 cost of adult tickets).

Discounts for kids – Kids 5-12 years old get a daytime admission price of $5.

EBT card – Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cardholders are eligible for up to two (2) adult daytime admissions and four (4) children’s daytime admissions (for children under 18 years of age). No need for advance reservations, just show your EBT card and photo ID at the Visitor Center on the day of your visit.

Free Tuesday tickets – It’s Free Tuesday on the third Tuesday of every month. Mark your calendar and reserve your Free Tuesday tickets early. They often sell out faster than a hummingbird flits!

How to get your Free Tuesday tickets: 
At 10am on the first day of each month, we release a limited number of Free Tuesday tickets for non-member guests. Non-members can reserve these and all other tickets in advance on our website by clicking the TICKETS button. 

*Please note: If the first day of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, we release Free Tuesday tickets on the next business day. 

If you’re a member, you always get free daytime garden entry — it’s like every day is Free Tuesday!

AHS Reciprocal Admissions

Visitors get up to two free admissions with each eligible reciprocal membership.

How does it work?
Members of other American Horticultural Society (AHS) gardens that are 90+ miles away from Descanso get free reciprocal admission when they visit us. The 90-mile rule is typical for most AHS member gardens, Descanso included.

Need examples?
OK, the L.A. Arboretum is less than 16 miles from Descanso, so although members of L.A. Arboretum are kindred spirits, we don’t give them free admission to our gardens. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is more than 90 miles from our location, so we’re as happy as Meadowlarks to give free reciprocal admission to their members.

Advance tickets are not needed, simply present your membership card from the other garden at the Visitor Center. View a list of participating gardens

Can I get a refund on tickets?

Yes, we give refunds for daytime garden admission.
We’ll cheerfully refund or reschedule tickets purchased for daytime garden admission. So if you nabbed advance tickets to visit the gardens and life has other plans for you that day, we’ll refund or reschedule your admission tickets.

Special ticketed events can’t be refunded or rescheduled.
For any of our ticketed evening events, including Carved and Enchanted Forest of Light, refunds or rescheduling can’t be accommodated.

What’s the parking situation at Descanso?

At Descanso, we want even your parking experience to be as stress-free as possible. We have abundant FREE parking in our lot adjacent to the gardens. No reservations needed.


Why should I become a member of Descanso Gardens?

For starters, you’ll get free admission for regular garden visits plus many other exciting perks. Explore the many delightful benefits of membership on our Membership page.

What if I buy a non-member ticket and become a member the same day?

You had such a great time at Descanso you want to join immediately? Well, you just made our day! If you purchase a shiny new membership in person the same day as your visit, you can apply all or some of the bucks you just spent on admission to the cost of your membership.


Does Descanso rent wheelchairs?

Wheelchairs are complimentary — We have a limited number of wheelchairs available at the Visitor Center on a first-come, first-served basis, FREE to use during your entire visit.

Are garden areas accessible for people with mobility issues?

Several wonderful garden areas are located on flat land fairly close to the main entrance.

Gardens that are easy to get to and wander within — Center Circle, the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Promenade, and the Lilac Garden.

What are Descanso’s pathways like to walk on?

Descanso’s main pathways are made of asphalt and are very accessible by wheelchair or with a stroller. Our secondary pathways are made of decomposed granite/dirt and are still somewhat accessible by wheelchair or with some strollers. Our tertiary pathways are composed of mulch and are not wheelchair or stroller-friendly.

Does Descanso have a tram or shuttle?

While we don’t have a tram or shuttle, if you need help getting to the Sturt Haaga Art Gallery or the Boddy House, we’ll happily drive you there and back on our golf cart. Arrange your ride at the Visitor Center and give yourself extra time when using our golf cart service.

Please note: the cart travels only to and from the Gallery/Boddy House and nowhere else in the gardens.

Garden Etiquette, Dos and Don’ts

How can visitors preserve the harmony and beauty of Descanso Gardens?

Picnics, food, and smoking

  • No picnics in the gardens (no outside food, lawn chairs, coolers, or checkered blankets)
  • Please don’t feed the wildlife (creatures in the wild need specific food to thrive)
  • Don’t smoke or vape anywhere at Descanso (not even in parking lots and picnic areas)

Wheeled vehicles

  • Baby strollers and wheelchairs are welcome
  • Wheeled vehicles are not welcome inside the gardens — so no bikes, motorcycles, scooters, skateboards, roller skates, or pogo sticks

Animals and Plants

  • Service animals as defined by the ADA are welcome but don’t bring pets or horses to Descanso Gardens 
  • Firearms and hunting aren’t permitted
  • Don’t feed or disturb the wildlife in any way (wildlife needs specific nutrients, peace, and quiet)
  • Don’t pick flowers, collect leaves or seeds, walk in flower beds, or climb trees
  • Don’t bring outside flowers or plants into the gardens (except with approved event rentals)


  • You need an advance permit for professional photography and posed amateur photography. Random, impromptu photos are OK. 

Here’s what we mean: 

  • You can visit the gardens in your prom dress or graduation cap and gown and take impromptu pics. But you’ll need a permit for posed photography such as class photos and wedding parties.
  • You can take random, spontaneous pics with your phone, but not posed photos with heavy-duty photography, lighting equipment, or lots of people

Please review our Descanso Gardens Photography policy for more details.

Activities and Personal Conduct

  • Children need to be accompanied by an adult
  • Use your “inside voice” (even though, yes, most of Descanso is outside) 
  • Apply your “museum manners” (Descanso is a living museum and our garden exhibits are hands-off)
  • Skip all skipping, running, jumping, and climbing
  • Don’t play with toys, games, frisbees, balls, or hula hoops. No archery or croquet.
  • Personal music devices are OK as long as you use headsets/earbuds
  • No sunbathing (wear shoes and shirts at all times)
  • No washing, wading, swimming, splashing in water features, or toe-dipping
  • Beware of high voltage wires overhead: No model airplanes, drones, kites, or metallic balloons – they’re dangerous

Service Animals and Pet Policy

Can I bring my dog?

We welcome service animals in the gardens, but not pets. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as a dog that has been specially trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.

Can I bring my emotional support animal?

Pets and emotional support animals cannot join you during your Descanso visit. The only visitor animals welcome in the Garden are service animals. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as a dog that has been specially trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.

Amenities: Bathrooms, Food, The Store

What are the food and drink options at Descanso?

Food and drinks are available for sale at two concession locations in the Courtyard: The Market and Jones Coffee at Descanso. (Pssst: We’re opening a wonderful new restaurant in the coming months. Stay tuned!)

Can I bring my own food and drink into the gardens?

Don’t bring outside food and beverages, except for water bottles, into the gardens. We provide picnic tables at the entrance so you can enjoy your own food and drinks outside the gardens. Refreshments are available for purchase in the courtyard near the entrance to Descanso.

Can I picnic in the gardens?

While you cannot picnic INSIDE the gardens, you’re welcome to enjoy food and drinks on the picnic tables near the Descanso entrance.

Photography at Descanso

Can I take family photos in the Gardens?

Yes, you can take a picture of your favorite tree. And you can take a picture of your mom next to her favorite tree. 

However, you’ll need an advance permit (with fee payment) for most other types of photography.

Here’s what we mean: 

  • You can visit the gardens in your prom dress or graduation cap and gown and take impromptu pics. But you’ll need a photo permit for posed photography such as class photos and wedding parties.
  • You can take random, spontaneous pics with your phone, but not posed photos with heavy-duty photography, lighting equipment, or lots of people

Do I need a permit for photography in the garden?

Yes, you’ll need a permit (and to pay a fee) for most other types of photography besides candid snapshots with your phone.

You need a photo permit for:

  • Any posed photography (professional and non-professional)
  • Pro portrait photos
- large groups/family group photos
  • Special events such as engagements, graduations, maternity photos
  • Any photography that includes lighting, props, reflectors

Where can I get the full scoop on all of Descanso’s photography guidelines?

You can review our Photography guidelines for all the details on what’s permitted plus info on reserving a photo permit.

Did you know?

Descanso Gardens members can enter the garden early at 8am daily.

Become a member