The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens or known to most as The Huntington Library was found in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington, a railroad tycoon who began collecting books early in the 20th century, and the library is rich in rare British and American literary and historical collections, including early editions of William Shakespeare’s plays as well as letters by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
With more than 500 000 visitors each year, the Huntington Library is one of the places to visit in Los Angeles. I recently spent the afternoon exploring this magnificent library and these were the main highlights for me:
1. The Huntington Arts Gallery
The Huntington Art Collections focus on two distinct areas—European art from the 15th to the early 20th century, and American art from the late 17th to the mid-20th century. The holdings reside in two buildings on the Huntington estate, The Huntington Art Gallery, and the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art. Most famous art work includes Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy, Joshua Reynolds’ Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse, and John Constable’s View on the Stour near Dedham.
2. Rose Garden and Tea Room
To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. – Audrey Hepburn
With over 1000 varieties of plants, The Rose Garden is one of the most popular areas to visit. Overlooking the garden is the tea room which offers a tasty selection of warm and cold sandwiches, salads, small plates, and desserts.
3. The Japanese Garden
It sits in a canyon flanked by camellias, pines, Japanese maples, and cherry trees. A traditionally furnished Japanese House overlooks a pond spanned by a moon bridge and from the house, a zigzag bridge leads past a waterfall into the Zen Garden, the Bonsai Court and up to a ceremonial teahouse.
Admission is free on the first Thursday of every month. You have to reserve a ticket HERE
4. The Desert Garden
Established in 1907, this is one of the oldest areas at the Huntington. It features more than 2,000 species of succulents and desert plants. Seasonal blooms range from bold red aloes in winter to neon-hued puyas in spring and cactus flowers in summer.
5. The Chinese Garden
Liu Fang Yuan, or The Garden of Flowing Fragrance is this garden’s actual name. It was inspired by the traditional scholar gardens in Suzhou, China. A complex of pavilions surrounds a 1.5-acre lake, set against a wooded backdrop of mature oaks and pines and ornamented with many plants native to China. Chinese cuisine and teas can be enjoyed in its teahouse.
Where: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Monday. Closed Tuesday.
Admission: Adults $25, Senior (65+) $21 and Children (4-11) $13