The Huntington Library & Botanical Garden

120 acres hidden in the hills of Los Angeles

Traditional tea room located in Japanese garden, the Huntington. Photo, delani taft/ lariat

Looking for something to do this weekend? How about Huntington! No, not the one you’re used to.. Huntington Library & Garden in San Marino! While its a little out of the way, it is definitely worth the drive. At first the surrounding area/ neighborhood reminded me of downtown orange. It was very quaint and historic looking. All the buildings and homes had a ton of character. The houses immediately outside the Huntington were huge and majestic, reminding me of the homes in old Beverly Hills.

Henry Edwards Huntington purchased the San Marino Ranch, now the Huntington, in 1903 and started collecting a range of books, art, and botanicals. “August 1919, Huntington signed a trust documentation that transformed their private estate into a public institution, making their collections available to ‘promote the public welfare’ ” according to the website. The Huntington has been open to the public since 1928.

The grounds are open 10am to 5pm every day of the week expect Tuesdays, the only day the area is closed. They stop selling tickets at 4pm, and it is recommended you have “at least four hours to stroll the gardens to see everything and a personal suggestion is to make a bee line to the Japanese garden”, according to the ticket saleswoman, Victoria H. The Huntington is closed all major holidays and open rain or shine during normal business hours. Ticket prices range from $13 for kids, $21 for military and student, and $25 for adults. Prices are $3-$4 more on weekends and parking is always free. The grounds are home to exhibitions, a library hall, art galleries, and a range of gardens. The gardens take up 120 acres of property and feature 16 different “themed” garden areas. There are large collections of Bonsai trees donated from owners over the years, rose varieties, medicinal herbs, and orchids. “I’ve been to the city rose garden in Portland and I really enjoyed that one. As soon as I saw this rose garden here, I was amazed. This one is so much bigger and better, theres so many different types of roses here, colors I didn’t even know roses came in” said visitor Ian Gonzales.  There is also a huge greenhouse on the property, housing more delicate and warmer-climate plants. There are a couple tea rooms to choose from while you’re visiting to grab a cup and some pastries. One is located in the Japanese garden and one in the rose garden. There are also countless marble statues throughout the gardens and walkways depicting greek women, dogs, and cherubs.

Overall, the grounds have something for everyone and is some place that should be visited by anyone who has an interest in plants, art or libraries. While you’re there, stop in the rose garden, check out some oil paintings and take a break in the tea room inside the Japanese garden and enjoy your day experiencing what nature has to offer.