UCLA's Mathias Botanical Garden located in the south east corner of campus is just the place to take me away from the hustle of L.A. life for a while. Special thanks to Renee for suggesting this place to me (Renee, I'm gonna visit the second place you recommended soon!).
When you enter the Mathias garden, you immediately see a sign that says "nest" with an arrow pointing the way... What is that? I googled it on the phone because we wandered all over the place and there was no nest to be found. It turns out the "nest" is an outdoor amphitheater type classroom located within the garden. Aha.
It only took 20 minutes or so to wander around the garden. There were hardly any people there and the place was really clean. Entry is free, and instead of paying $8 to park at the UCLA lot, you can park across the street at the Ralphs lot. It's free for 2 hours with validation.
The entry gate at the corner of Le Conte and Hilgard