Hidden Gems in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles roadsanddestinations.com

I am a big fan of going places, exploring, discovering, taking trips, traveling… You name it. Long commute never stays in my way to a new adventure. I’m ready to go no matter how far away my desired destination is. However, there are days when being stuck in traffic doesn’t look appealing at all (405 freeway can literally drain all energy out of you). Luckily, there are plenty of things to do in the San Fernando Valley. This place is home to some of the busiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles and three of the best parks in the San Fernando Valley within walking distance of each other.


Hidden Gems in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, roadsanddestinations.com

Lake Balboa Park

Lake Balboa Park is one of the most beautiful and popular parks in the San Fernando Valley. The park got its name for a reason. A huge man-made lake better known as Lake Balboa is a main feature of the area. Narrow paved path runs along the shore of the lake giving space for jogging and walking. Fresh air and abundance of picnic tables attract single visitors and families alike. Those who prefer water activities can rent pedal boats and add some exercises to their Lake Balboa Park visit. Moreover, rental bikes and surreys bring extra fun to family gatherings in one of the biggest parks in the San Fernando Valley. Small kids find great pleasure swinging and climbing metal structures at children’s playground.

Woodley Park

Woodley Park as well as Lake Balboa Park are two sections of 2000-acre Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area. It’s by far the second favorite park in the San Fernando Valley. Where else can you find archery with free beginner classes (no equipment needed, you can borrow everything there for free)?  Moreover, Woodley Park is home to an off-leash dog park, the Japanese Garden and place to fly your model airplane. One of the popular parks in the San Fernando Valley, Woodley Park is indeed a great place to spend time with friends and family and do some outdoor exercises.

Hidden Gems in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.roadsanddestinations.com

The Japanese Garden of the San Fernando Valley

Nestled in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, the beautiful Japanese Garden known as Suiho-en, “Garden of Water and Fragrance”, combines traditional Japanese garden principles with the local environment. The Garden consists of three parts: Dry Zen meditation Garden, Water Garden, and Tea Garden. True to the Japanese culture, each element of the garden represents some divine qualities and objects. So, for example, Tortoise Island in the Dry Garden is a symbol of longevity. Weeping Willow Tree represents a kind, loving, bending female. The opposite of the Weeping Willow, Black Pine, is a symbol of a warlike, strong, unbending male.

The Water Garden is absolutely beautiful during summer months when water lilies and lotus flower, the symbols of enlightenment, are in full bloom. You will see many bamboo spouts and water basin in the Tea Garden, which according to the Japanese traditions are meant for guests to purify themselves before entering the Teahouse. And certainly you don’t want to miss Heavenly Floating Bridge. According to Japanese creation myth, it lies between the heaven and the earth.

The main mission of the Japanese Garden in the San Fernando Valley is though to teach the visitors about importance of water reuse and recycling. All water used here comes from reclaimed wastewater. Not bad for such a small, yet stunning gem in this neighborhood of Los Angeles.