Oftentimes when I tell people that I am going to the Huntington Library, they have no idea what I am talking about and think that I am going to an actual library. While yes, The Huntington Library does have a “library”, it is not of the conventional sense, but rather a museum.
Gardens, Gardens, and More Gardens
What it is most known for, however, are the many splendid gardens, and for being a home of some famous artwork, including the “Blue Boy” and “Pinkie”. The gardens are known world wide and are visited by botanists from everywhere to study and behold the near perfection that these gardens hold. There are approximately 120 acres to the site, home to many different themed gardens, galleries, and exhibits. It is situated in the city of San Marino, one of the fanciest suburbs of Los Angeles, as one will notice driving through the neighborhoods to get to this destination. There is an entrance fee, but it is also a tax deductible contribution. If you are a local and going there with your family, you might want to consider getting a membership, as it pays for itself within approximately 2 visits, depending on the size of your family. You will find that after just one visit, you will be haunted by this place in your dreams and will be eager to return. When I lived outside of California for awhile, this is one of the places that I just couldn’t wait to visit again.
The Huntington Library is a great place to take children, as it is an educational experience, and can also play into their imaginations as they follow the many trails and discover new things. There is a children’s garden that is geared towards the wonderment of little curiosities. I literally have to carry my daughter out of this particular garden, as she could play there all day! The grounds are undergoing some construction at the moment, but it does not take away from the experience once inside. If you find yourself getting hungry, there are several options to choose from, all of which are excellent choices, and in fact, so good that you might want to head to the Huntington just to eat lunch with the garden ambience! In the Chinese garden, there is a small café specializing in fare of the region as well as tea. The seating area is overlooking the water ponds and the elaborate architecture of this tranquil garden. Bring your loved ones and enjoy a drink, as you may not want to leave! The other 2 are in the Rose garden. There is a tea room for a more formal experience, reservations are recommended. The other option is a smaller, more quaint garden café, with outside seating only, no reservations required. The resident chef has been there for approximately 8 years, and knows his craft well. The regulars know him by name, and he always serves with a smile. And yes, the food is delicious!
Give yourself plenty of time to work your way through the Huntington Library, as there is a lot of ground to cover before closing time at 5pm. There are many gardens, consisting of the Australian garden, Japanese garden, Chinese garden, Children’s garden, Desert, Herb, Jungle, Palm, and Rose gardens, Shakespeare, and Subtropical. That is not even including the multiple art museum buildings and conservatory. I will review more in detail in later posts about these magical places. To plan your visit, check the hours, and remember that they are closed on Tuesdays. This gem hidden in the southern California suburbs is a treasure that many natives do not even know about. In my opinion, it is one of the most breathtaking places to visit, and one of my personal favorites.