As we transition into spring and summer, the pandemic continues but spaces across the city are gradually reopening. Whether you are taking the kids or need a romantic rendezvous with your partner, here are a few sites to visit for reading or to enjoy an inspiring afternoon. Log onto their websites or call ahead to make sure they are open.
Though there are dozens of public gardens across Southern California, many have cover charges or require reservations. Arlington Garden in Pasadena is a climate-appropriate, habitat garden open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and there’s no entrance fee. Promoting responsible land use and sustainability, the 3-acre garden is a beautiful little refuge I discovered after driving by it dozens of times. I decided to stop and check it out a few months ago in the middle of the pandemic, and what I found made my day. Situated on Caltrans-owned land that was once being saved for the extension of the 710 freeway, Arlington Garden is a sanctuary for Pasadena’s native fauna, filled with bees, birds and butterflies and also open for dog walking. In addition to several small trails through the garden, there are dozens of places to sit either by yourself or with your partner or kids. I have come alone with a book and a journal and also taken the family for a refreshing afternoon stroll. Operated by a nonprofit and open since 2005, Arlington even has a sweet spot: marmalade for sale.
Hidden away in West Adams, this meditation garden calls itself, “A Spiritual Oasis in the City.” The space is indeed a labyrinth modeled after the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. Operated by the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness, the garden is loaded with hidden nooks, fountains and corners to sit and contemplate. This lush campus has been closed during the pandemic. When it reopens, rejoice. Entry is free, but reservations are required. Check the website or call ahead to get the latest on reopening.
Located on Florence Avenue in the Crenshaw District, the recently opened Sims Library of Poetry is an outgrowth of the Community Literature Initiative (CLI) founded by English professor and poet Hiram Sims in 2013. Housing more than 5,000 poetry books spread across 18 bookshelves, this poetry oasis has a computer lab, some gallery space and even a private room for scribes who need a silent place to work. Once the pandemic ends, live events and workshops will be held weekly. For now, visits are by appointment only and classes are held over Zoom. There are no other libraries in Southern California devoted solely to poetry and only a few similar spaces exist across America. A low concrete fence in front of the library reads: “Poetry Lives Here.”
For some book inspiration click HERE