Los Angeles is a land of transplants, many from places that have normal seasons — like spring and fall and winter. We do have seasons here, albeit with gentler transitions. There is a place where you can inhale the fresh air of spring, just like back home: the Lilac Garden at Descanso Gardens. From mid-March to late April (depending on nature's whims and the effects of climate change), the 250 varieties of lilacs burst into aromatic bloom, thanks to the cool nights and warm days along the foothills. Walk among them. Sniff their fragrance, redolent of gentler times. Debate whether the white or purple flowers have the nicer scent. Whichever you choose, that's what spring smells like. 1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada Flintridge. (818) 949-4200, descansogardens.org.

—Lisa Horowitz

LA Weekly