Why plan only one excursion when you can have three in the same gorgeous locale? After you walk through the Huntington’s legendary gardens, which are populated with everything from massive succulents to lovingly pruned roses, explore the galleries. A current exhibition includes thirty rarely seen masterworks from The Huntington’s vast collection of American drawings and watercolors. After you’ve had your fill of art, nosh on scones, finger sandwiches, and miniature desserts in the Rose Garden Tea Room and Café. 1151 Oxford Rd., 626-405-2100.
A good picnic must have certain basics:
a wicker basket, cute edibles in mason
jars, and booze disguised as an innocuous libation. A superior picnic demands more. Forget showing up at 7 a.m. to stake a claim. There should be lots of tables, for those not inclined to sprawl on the grass, as well as shade, to help keep those deviled eggs from spoiling. Lacy Park in San Marino has all this in spades, plus a white-trellised rose patch worthy of Better Homes and Gardens. Although the complicated fee schedule for booking a spot may be off-putting, it guarantees plenty of unoccupied lawn for setting up your croquet course. 1485 Virginia Rd.
Los Angeles Conservancy
Since 1978, the L.A. Conservancy has been preserving the city’s history one Walker & Eisen building at a time. The nonprofit offers a slew of excursions, but its Historic Downtown Walking Tour (Saturdays at 10 a.m.) will have you looking at the city’s core in a new way. From Pershing Square, guides with encyclopedic knowledge head off with groups on two-and-a-half-hour outings to see beaux arts and deco edifices—as well as a couple of murals—normally glimpsed through a windshield. You even get to wander inside such architectural gems as the Pacific Mutual, Southern California Edison, and Bradbury buildings. Reservations recommended.
Will Rogers State Historic Park
In 1944, the estate of actor and funnyman Will Rogers became a state park after the death of his wife, but it’s still a working ranch known for its equestrian activities. Every weekend from April to October, the Will Rogers Polo Club hosts matches where riders whack at balls while riding well-trained equines. Year-round, the 186-acre park in the Santa Monica Mountains offers an easy 3-mile hiking loop as well as tours of the Rogers homestead, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bring a picnic, barbecue on the park’s grills, or just relax and enjoy the California sunshine. 1501 Will Rogers Park Rd., 310-454-8212.