This article highlights The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, one of the main cultural institutions in Greater Los Angeles.
Today, I want to focus on a place that wears many hats at the same time.
And when I say many, I mean it.
Here is a sample of what this place is:
- Botanical Gardens (with 16 different gardens)
- Tea Room
- Art Collection
- Research Center
Do you know what place I am referring to?
I’ll give you one hint.
It is located in San Marino, California.
Ok, I know what you are thinking.
Where in the world is San Marino located?
San Marino is a small city located about 30 miles east of Los Angeles (closer to Pasadena).
The major landmark of the city is The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. This is an educational and research institution established by Henry Huntington, the nephew of a railroad tycoon, and his wife, Arabella Huntington.
Henry and Arabella had a passion for collecting art and rare books. When they relocated from San Francisco to San Marino, an opulent mansion was built in a plot of land he bought. They filled the house with all sorts of international (mostly European) furnishings.
At the same time, experts helped them acquire valuable pieces of art. One year after Henry’s death, the final collection put together (valued at $50M) was opened to the public (as he ordered in his will).
Nowadays, The Huntington is a fresh respite of air in the middle of one of the world’s largest metropolis. If you enjoy all things beautiful, take a day to discover what Henry and Arabella Huntington left for generations to come.
Let’s take a closer look at what you can explore in this grand place.
The Huntington Art Gallery
The Huntington Art Gallery is housed in the former residence of Henry and Arabella Huntington (or the opulent mansion I mentioned previously). You can observe the former living quarters such as the living and dining rooms. In addition, you will have access to the Grand Staircase.
The institution’s permanent collection of European art is located inside The Huntington Art Gallery. Visitors are able to observe 18th and 19th-century paintings, sculptures, tapestries, porcelain, and furniture.
The permanent American collection (17th to 20th century) is located at The Virginia Steele Scott Gallery of American Art (opened in the 1980s).
With 42,000 pieces of art, there is a lot to see in the collections area.
The Huntington has 11 million library objects including rare books and manuscripts. These are housed in their own building. Even though most of these pieces are used for research purposes, several unique pieces are on display.
For example, you can take a look at a Gutenberg Bible (the first printed book), several copies of the first edition of Newton’s Principia, and a decorated manuscript of Canterbury Tales.
The Huntington has 120 acres of botanical gardens. In comparison, Disneyland covers 85 acres (the park only).
The most notable gardens are the Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, and Desert Garden. They have been used as symbols of the institution many times. For example, the Desert Garden has been featured in a postal stamp (since it is considered one of the world’s largest collections of cacti and succulents).
Other gardens include the Australian Garden, California Garden, Children’s Garden, Herbs Garden, Jungle Garden, Palm Garden, Ranch Garden, Rose Garden, Shakespeare Garden, and Subtropical Garden. A conservatory, mausoleum, and lily ponds can be enjoyed too.
The Camellia Garden is one of my favorites since it is close to the North Vista, an area with several sculptures and a grand fountain.
In total, the gardens 15,000 plant varieties. Of course, these attract many critters.
The Tea Room, located in the Rose Garden, offers a British tea service. You can choose among the traditional, vegan, gluten-free, and children options. There are plenty of sides and beverages (including alcoholic beverages) that can be added to any order.
Note: You can eat and/or drink at the Tea Room without paying admission to The Huntington. However, you will not be allowed to move to other areas of the institution if you choose this option.
On top of all the attractions we have discussed, The Huntington has ongoing and temporary exhibitions. These are centered on a wide range of topics such as gardening, science, current events, and local endeavors.
The entrance fee oscillates between $13 and $29. Discounts are offered to seniors, members of the military, and students. Children under 4 can enter for free. Notice prices are higher on the weekends.
Parking is included in the entrance fee.
In addition to the Tea Room, you have access to 4 restaurants and cafes.
Free Wi-Fi is offered on-site.
You can download (and follow) the Garden Sculpture Audio Tour and Chinese Garden Audio Tour for free.
Free garden tours are offered Wednesday-Monday, twice per day.
The Eaton Canyon Center and the trailhead to Eaton Canyon Falls are located about 5 miles away.
The Los Angeles County Arboretum is located 5 miles away in the city of Arcadia.
Old Pasadena is located 3 miles away and the Rose Bowl 5 miles away.
More of Los Angeles
One Day in Los Angeles: Itinerary for First-Time Visitors
Two Days in Los Angeles: Downtown-Based Itinerary
Los Angeles Itinerary: 2, 3 or 4 Days in Los Angeles
More of Southern California
Have you visited this area of Los Angeles?
Pin for later!