Huntington Gardens and Library

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Los Angeles, CA
Huntington Gardens and Library
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The Huntington Gardens were formerly the grounds of railroad tycoon Henry Huntington's opulent estate. As you drive through the wealthy Pasadena neighborhoods around the gardens, you feel like you've been transported to an earlier era of graceful lampposts and every luxury money could buy.

Unfortunately, you almost have to be a tycoon yourself in order to afford admission to the gardens these days, which is a real shame. 
The gardens are an absolute paradise and so large that you can't see all the gardens in one day! The Japanese garden 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 about scents 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. The rose garden, if you arrive at the right time of year, is like a wonderland of color! Below and above you in the archways, are roses of all types. You will be mesmerized!
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 tart at Aux Delices Bakery. Cheesecake Factory is always an easy place to eat with kids (see address below).

Continue to directions...

Statue near the rose garden, with mountains in the background.

Huntington's glamorous estate at day's end.

Fountain at the North Vista lawn in winter.

Door kids love to open and close at the Children's Garden.

Sun prism tunnel, and a girl appropriately dressed!

Sun prism tunnel and crooked staircase at the Children's Garden.

House made of vines at the Children's Garden.

Glorious indoor rainforest at the Conservatory.

Plants and light and warm misty air at the Conservatory's rainforest.

Awesome exhibit where you can squeeze bottle and sniff rainforest spices.

A girl enjoys waterplay in the Children's Garden.

Orchids inside the rainforest area of the Conservatory.

Picnic in the Japanese Garden.

Bridge in the Japanese Garden.

Father and son look at the koi in the Japanese Garden's pond.

Pebbles and serene water in the Japanese Garden.

A frame filled with green!

The many layers of the Japanese Garden.

Bamboo forest- a blissful place in the Japanese Garden.

Canopy of gnarled branches near the Japanese Garden, wintertime.

Japanese Garden in summertime.

Terrace of the Jade Mirror, in the Chinese Garden.

The amazing 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!

Pavilion on the water.

Terrace of the Jade Mirror.

Pavilion, strange rock, and blossoms.

Bridge and blossoms.

A teen sits peacefully in the gardens.

Lemon tree in the Botanical Center courtyard.

Statue among lilies.

Daisies galore on a warm April afternoon!

The Shakespeare garden and its delicate flowers.

Flowers catch the light in the Shakespeare Garden.

Gorgeous April day at the Huntington Gardens.

A woman poses for a photo on the rose garden.

A rose by any other name...

Dark pink roses on an arch.

Arches in the rose garden.

Roses in abundance on an April day!

Couples taking photos of each other in the rose garden- happy weekend scene.

Twisty tree near the rose garden.

I love the lemons hanging from trees against the blue sky!

Saturday park-goers picnic on the sloped lawn by the rose garden.

Purple flowers near the Shakespeare Garden.

Bell-like flowers in the spring.

End of day perfection at Huntington Gardens.

A bucolic scene at the rose garden.

Gnarled tree canopy by 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.

Holey rock, brought from China, called Patching Up the Sky.

Chinese walkway.

View from Terrace That Invites The Mountains.

Flowering tree in the Chinese garden.

Flowers and statues.

Lawn with statues on the perimeter.

Wisteria by the Japanese garden.

Japanese garden.

Strange twisted tree in the Japanese garden.

Blossoming trees.

Bottle trees in the Australia section.

Wisteria hanging from a twisty trellis.

Cherry blossom tree.

Turquoise door in the children's garden beckons you to enter.

Kids playing on a busy weekend day.

Watching lilies dance by on a gentle current of water.


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 Wed-Mon 10-5. Closed Tuesdays. Closed on July 4, Thanksgiving (fourth Thurs in Nov), Dec 24, and Dec 25. 
Cost is $25 adults ($29 on weekends), $21 seniors ($24 on weekends), $21 students ($24 on weekends), $13 children aged 4-11, under 4 is free. The first Thursday of every month admission is free as long as you order advanced tickets. Parking is always free.
Aux Delices Bakery, 16 W. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, call (626) 796-1630.
Cheesecake Factory, 2 W. Colorado Blvd, Call (626) 584-6000.


Click on map for interactive view


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Thu, 26 Nov 2009

Nice! I have to go to this with my kids!

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Thu, 26 Nov 2009

Visited with my grown daughter last year, a memorable day, recommend it!

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Sat, 10 Apr 2010

Its even more beautiful in real life.

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Mon, 07 Dec 2009

I got some great pics of the gardens- thanks for the info!

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Fri, 29 Jan 2010

It's awesome :)

Last Updated: Thu, 26 Apr 2018 00:05:31 GMT

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