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Huntington Gardens and Library

Los Angeles, CA
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Huntington Gardens and Library, Los Angeles California

Description

The Huntington Gardens were formerly the grounds of railroad tycoon Henry Huntington's opulent estate. As you drive through the wealthy Pasadena neighborhoods to get to the gardens, you feel like you've been transported to an earlier era of graceful lampposts and every luxury money could buy.
The gardens are an absolute paradise and so large that you can't see all the gardens in one day! The Japanese garden (shown above) is gorgeous, with its terraced layers of shimmering green. Walk down into it and explore its bridges, pagodas, lanterns, and stone ornaments. Walk through the bamboo forest- what joy as you look overhead! There's a Desert Garden with colorful beds of cacti and succulents, and a Shakespeare Garden with plants mentioned in his plays, such as poppies, pansies, violets, pinks, carnations, rosemary, daffodils, irises, roses, columbines, and marigolds with accompanying placards that quote relevant verses. The Jungle Garden is a blast for kids as they can hide in the bamboo groves and marvel at the giant leaved plants, waterfall, and forest canopy.
There's also a Children's Garden, all the way down by the Conservatory. At the Children's Garden, young kids can indulge in waterplay, running under curved fountains and exploring all kinds of surprises, such as moving sculptures, magnetic sand, little blobs of water that leap out of their pots, stepping stones, a fog grotto, and a tunnel where prisms turn sun rays into colored arcs and halos. It's best to come in warm weather when you can enjoy these features. Next to the Children's Garden is the Conservatory where there is an amazing indoor rainforest! It's warm and humid inside, and there are plants with huge leaves reaching up to the light. The exhibits on scent let you smell coffee, chocolate, cinnamon and other rainforest spices.
It's blissfully romantic at the Huntingtons Gardens in summertime- we came here on our honeymoon! There are rolling hills and lawns beside the rose garden where you can find a tree all your own and sit in its shade. Buy some strawberries and dipping chocolate from the Rose Garden tea room and bring them out on the lawn for a picnic!
My favorite garden is the Chinese garden. Here you are immersed in magic! As you stand on the bridge and look out at the green green water and the funny-shaped trees and the blossoms, it's as if you're on a movie set, one of those lavish productions set in China. Each beautiful area has an evocative name, such as Terrace of the Jade Mirror. The pavilions are multi-layered and wonderful. The reason the garden looks so authentic is that it is- all the rocks and plants were transported from China.
Once you've had enough of the outdoors, head inside to the Huntington Library, which is a manuscript museum, where you can see rare books and documents. It's fantastic to see the writings and journals of famous authors, in their own handwriting. There's also a Gutenberg Bible, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and letters written by Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. I loved seeing Whitman's works. Don't miss out on this museum!
There are also various art exhibits in pretty buildings throughout the grounds.
In summer it can be very hot here so dress lightly.
Nearby in Pasadena, check out the Simon Norton Art Museum, a huge museum filled with wonderful art from Europe and all over the world. Also, walk around Old Town Pasadena (where Fair Oaks Ave and Colorado Blvd meet) with its sidewalk cafes and trendy clothing stores like H & M. Grab a frozen yogurt with your kids at Pinkberry or a tart at Aux Delices Bakery. Cheesecake Factory is always an easy place to eat with kids (see address below).

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Photo Gallery

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Statue near the rose garden, with mountains in the background.
Statue near the rose garden, with mountains in the background.
Huntington's glamorous estate at day's end.
Huntington's glamorous estate at day's end.
Fountain at the North Vista lawn in winter.
Fountain at the North Vista lawn in winter.
Door kids love to open and close at the Children's Garden.
Door kids love to open and close at the Children's Garden.
Sun prism tunnel, and a girl appropriately dressed!
Sun prism tunnel, and a girl appropriately dressed!
Sun prism tunnel and crooked staircase at the Children's Garden.
Sun prism tunnel and crooked staircase at the Children's Garden.
House made of vines at the Children's Garden.
House made of vines at the Children's Garden.
Glorious indoor rainforest at the Conservatory.
Glorious indoor rainforest at the Conservatory.
Plants and light and warm misty air at the Conservatory's rainforest.
Plants and light and warm misty air at the Conservatory's rainforest.
Awesome exhibit where you can squeeze bottle and sniff rainforest spices.
Awesome exhibit where you can squeeze bottle and sniff rainforest spices.
A girl enjoys waterplay in the Children's Garden.
A girl enjoys waterplay in the Children's Garden.
Orchids inside the rainforest area of the Conservatory.
Orchids inside the rainforest area of the Conservatory.
Picnic in the Japanese Garden.
Picnic in the Japanese Garden.
Bridge in the Japanese Garden.
Bridge in the Japanese Garden.
Father and son look at the koi in the Japanese Garden's pond.
Father and son look at the koi in the Japanese Garden's pond.
Pebbles and serene water in the Japanese Garden.
Pebbles and serene water in the Japanese Garden.
A frame filled with green!
A frame filled with green!
The many layers of the Japanese Garden.
The many layers of the Japanese Garden.
Bamboo forest- a blissful place in the Japanese Garden.
Bamboo forest- a blissful place in the Japanese Garden.
Canopy of gnarled branches near the Japanese Garden, wintertime.
Canopy of gnarled branches near the Japanese Garden, wintertime.
Japanese Garden in summertime.
Japanese Garden in summertime.
Terrace of the Jade Mirror, in the Chinese Garden.
Terrace of the Jade Mirror, in the Chinese Garden.
The amazing Chinese Garden.
The amazing Chinese Garden.
Pea green waters at the Chinese Garden.
Pea green waters at the Chinese Garden.
Bridge and pavilion at the Chinese Garden- you feel you've been transported to China, minus the long flight!
Bridge and pavilion at the Chinese Garden- you feel you've been transported to China, minus the long flight!
Pavilion on the water.
Pavilion on the water.
Terrace of the Jade Mirror.
Terrace of the Jade Mirror.
Pavilion, strange rock, and blossoms.
Pavilion, strange rock, and blossoms.
Bridge and blossoms.
Bridge and blossoms.
A teen sits peacefully in the gardens.
A teen sits peacefully in the gardens.
Lemon tree in the Botanical Center courtyard.
Lemon tree in the Botanical Center courtyard.
Statue among lilies.
Statue among lilies.
Daisies galore on a warm April afternoon!
Daisies galore on a warm April afternoon!
The Shakespeare garden and its delicate flowers.
The Shakespeare garden and its delicate flowers.
Flowers catch the light in the Shakespeare Garden.
Flowers catch the light in the Shakespeare Garden.
Gorgeous April day at the Huntington Gardens.
Gorgeous April day at the Huntington Gardens.
A woman poses for a photo on the rose garden.
A woman poses for a photo on the rose garden.
A rose by any other name...
A rose by any other name...
Dark pink roses on an arch.
Dark pink roses on an arch.
Arches in the rose garden.
Arches in the rose garden.
Roses in abundance on an April day!
Roses in abundance on an April day!
Couples taking photos of each other in the rose garden- happy weekend scene.
Couples taking photos of each other in the rose garden- happy weekend scene.
Twisty tree near the rose garden.
Twisty tree near the rose garden.
I love the lemons hanging from trees against the blue sky!
I love the lemons hanging from trees against the blue sky!
Saturday park-goers picnic on the sloped lawn by the rose garden.
Saturday park-goers picnic on the sloped lawn by the rose garden.
Purple flowers near the Shakespeare Garden.
Purple flowers near the Shakespeare Garden.
Bell-like flowers in the spring.
Bell-like flowers in the spring.
End of day perfection at Huntington Gardens.
End of day perfection at Huntington Gardens.
A bucolic scene at the rose garden.
A bucolic scene at the rose garden.
Gnarled tree canopy by the Japanese Garden.
Gnarled tree canopy by the Japanese Garden.
Light shining through the leaves, looking down at the Japanese garden.
Light shining through the leaves, looking down at the Japanese garden.
Looking through the rock at the waterfall in the Chinese garden.
Looking through the rock at the waterfall in the Chinese garden.
Holey rock, brought from China, called Patching Up the Sky.
Holey rock, brought from China, called Patching Up the Sky.
Chinese walkway.
Chinese walkway.
View from Terrace That Invites The Mountains.
View from Terrace That Invites The Mountains.
Flowering tree in the Chinese garden.
Flowering tree in the Chinese garden.
 

Directions

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, call (626) 405-2100 or see their website.
From the 210 Freeway westbound, exit at Allen Ave. Turn left, and continue south for 2 miles to the Huntington gate. From the 210 Freeway eastbound, exit at Hill Ave and continue straight alongside the freeway on Corson St for 3 blocks. Turn right at Allen Ave, and proceed south for about 2 miles to the Huntington entrance gate. For directions from other freeways, click here.
Open Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri, noon-4:30pm, and Sat-Sun 10:30am-4:30pm. Closed Tuesdays. Closed on Jan 1, July 4, Thanksgiving (fourth Thurs in Nov), Dec 24, and Dec 25.  Open on Easter Sunday. Summer hours are 10:30-4:30 every day but closed on Tuesdays.
Cost is $20 adults ($23 on weekends), $15 seniors ($18 on weekends), $12 students ($13 on weekends), $8 children aged 5-11, under 5 is free. The first Thursday of every month admission is free as long as you order advanced tickets. Hours that day are 10:30-4:30 and regular non-reserved paid admission is not allowed. Parking is always free.
Pinkberry, 19 South Fair Oaks Avenue, call (626) 744-0505‎.
Aux Delices Bakery, 16 W. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, call (626) 796-1630.
Cheesecake Factory, 2 W. Colorado Blvd, Call (626) 584-6000.

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Visitor Ratings

Overall Visitor Rating:


maggie
04/09/2010 20:41
Its even more beautiful in real life.

Camille
01/29/2010 13:41
I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!! 0_o
It's awesome :)

Heather
12/06/2009 19:35
I got some great pics of the gardens- thanks for the info!

Virginia
11/26/2009 09:56
Visited with my grown daughter last year, a memorable day, recommend it!

Leanne
11/25/2009 20:42
Nice! I have to go to this with my kids!

Last Updated Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:48:22 GMT