What to See and Do


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Boddy House | Sturt Haaga Gallery | Enchanted Railroad | Gift Shop | Descanso Café


Boddy House

Please note that the Boddy House is closed until further notice.

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Perched high above the Descanso Gardens landscape on the crest of a hill, the historic Boddy House offers a glimpse of a glamorous bygone era. Built as the home of Descanso founder E. Manchester Boddy in the late 1930s, the Boddy House today is a must for every first-time visitor.

In 2007, Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts chose the Boddy House to be transformed into its 43rd annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design. The following year, Descanso Gardens received a grant from The Ahmanson Foundation of Los Angeles to return the house to the visiting public as a house museum, an interpretive center showcasing highlights from the history of the property, and an elegant and attractive location for entertaining. In 2019, the Boddy House was once again reimagined by Showcase House designers.

Hours: 10am to 4pm daily. A docent is available to answer visitor questions. To find out if the Boddy House is open prior to your visit, please phone the Visitor Center at (818) 949-4290.

Admission: Free with admission to Descanso Gardens.

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Sturt Haaga Gallery

Photo: Takashige Ikawa, Frederick Fisher & Partners Architects
Photo: Takashige Ikawa, Frederick Fisher & Partners Architects

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Please note that the Sturt Haaga Gallery is closed until further notice.
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No visit to Descanso Gardens is complete without a visit to the Sturt Haaga Gallery.

Rotating exhibits throughout the year seek to illuminate the intersection between contemporary arts and the sciences represented by the garden — botany, horticulture, biology, ecology, conservation, and the study of gardens as cultural artifacts.

Gallery hours: 10am to 4pm daily. To ensure the gallery will be open during your visit, please phone the Visitor Center at (818) 949-4290.

Admission: Free with admission to Descanso Gardens.

 

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Enchanted Railroad

Train 1

Please note that the Enchanted Railroad is closed until further notice. 

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Take a light-hearted look at Descanso Gardens from a 1/8th-scale replica of a diesel train. The Enchanted Railroad is a Descanso icon, delighting young and old who climb aboard. The railroad travels a section of the Gardens near the Promenade.

Hours and Schedule

Price: Tickets are sold at the Visitor Center and are $3 per rider or $25 for a book of 10 tickets.
Requirements: Riders must be at least 30 inches tall and able to sit on their own.

Schedule: All schedules are subject to weather and availability. Please call ahead to see if the train is running at (818) 949-4200.

  • Monday: No train
  • Tuesday: 10am to noon
  • Wednesday: No train
  • Thursday: No train
  • Friday: 10am to noon
  • Saturday & Sunday: 10am to 4pm

Note: On the third Tuesday of each month, the Enchanted Railroad runs from 10am to 1pm.


Gift Shop

Gift Shop 1

The Gift Shop’s plant patio is currently operating from 10am–5pm daily..

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The Descanso Gardens Gift Shop and Plant Patio is a cozy, cedar-beamed complex near the entrance to Gardens. The Gift Shop carries items of interest for all visitors: home gardening enthusiasts, landscape and interior designers, horticulturists and plant lovers everywhere.

Merchandise in the Shop includes home and garden furnishings, such as garden benches, bird baths, statuary, lanterns and cherubs. The art lover will find beautifully framed prints, original watercolors, rugs and wall hangings.

No botanical garden gift shop would be complete without a vast array of garden and nature books for both adults and children. Other merchandise includes an exceptional selection of cards and other gift items such as lovely glassware, ceramics and collectibles. Outdoor wear includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, gloves and hats.

The Gift Shop is open every day except Christmas. For information, phone (818) 949-4292.


Descanso Cafe Patina
Photo © Patina Group

The Kitchen at Descanso

The Kitchen at Descanso is currently operating a kiosk in the courtyard from 9am–5pm daily.

Click here to see the current menu.

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The Kitchen at Descanso provides a fresh, seasonal dining option during your visit. Located near the Gardens entrance, The Kitchen showcases the season’s best fruit, vegetables and herbs from local farms and gardens. For more information, please call (818) 790-3663.

For information about The Kitchen at Descanso or catering, visit the Dining at Descanso page.