(Library, Gardens & Art Collection in San Marino)
About the Huntington
Address: 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108
Hours: Mon. 10a-5p, Tues. Closed, Weds. – Sunday 10a-5p
Admission: Adult: $25 (weekdays) $29 (weekends) / Seniors (65+), Students, Active Military $21 (weekdays) $24 (weekends) / Youth (4-11) $13 / Child (under 4) free. Weekend pricing applies on major holidays.
Free Admission Dates/Times: Admission is free to all visitors the first Thursday of every month with advance tickets from 10a-5p.
Where Can I Park at the Huntington?
Parking is free right on their site at 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108. They mark each parking area with a botanical name so you won’t lose your car.
Remember to check out our main L.A. Museum Guide page.
What’s in the regular collection at the Huntington?
The Huntington features three major elements: a series of gardens, libraries and an art collection.
The 16 gardens represent a variety of cultures and climates and include a Rose Garden, Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, Australian garden, a Desert Garden, an Herb Garden, and Camellia Garden among the most popular with visitors to the Huntington.
The ones mentioned above are among my favorites, the ones I return to on a perennial basis. The Rose Garden is spectacular in the Spring and early summer as hundreds of different varieties of roses bloom in a multitude of colors in neatly manicured rows. Every color and type is represented from miniature roses to large blossom with every color of the rainbow from brilliant orange, yellow, white, candied striped, pale pinks and ruby reds. The Rose Garden Tea Room is nestled among the blooms and is quite a treat after a nice hike through the gardens. Reservations are recommended, especially during the weekends.
If you are interested in herbs, especially for culinary uses, the Herb Garden next to the tea house is a place to revel in the smell of many culinary enhancers: some you may be familiar with and others will be new but there for you to discover.
The Chinese Garden is one of the newest at the Huntington and the most elaborate and expensive to build which is offset by generous contributions from the Chinese community and other philanthropists. Traditional Chinese garden design features many symmetrical buildings which are pleasing to the eyes and these buildings are surrounded by lakes and ponds.
Don’t miss the Japanese house replica in the Japanese garden and the bonsai collection and Zen garden to the side of the Japanese house.
The Desert Garden is always one of the first mentioned when I ask friends and acquaintances to name their favorite garden. It features an exotic, almost alien, collection of cactus in every shape and form. It’s especially a strange wonder for those not all that familiar with desert landscapes.
As I mentioned earlier, the Huntington is not just gardens, beautiful though they may be. It also includes a world class art and book collection. The library contains many timeless treasures such as the Gutenberg Bible (one of the first publications ever printed), a first edition of Newton’s Principia (one of only 8 copies in existence), a 1623 folio of Shakespeare’s work, and hand written drafts of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden which espouses love of nature, simplicity and ethics.
When you ask anyone familiar with the art collection at the Huntington what you should see, the answer is almost invariably: Pinkie and The Blue Boy. The Blue Boy (1770) by Thomas Gainsborough is the highlight of the art collection. Sarah Barrett Moulton: Pinkie (1794) by Thomas Lawrence is displayed across from The Blue Boy. Viewing both of these pieces are like taking a time machine back to the American Revolution, giving you a feel of the time and energy that birthed America. Also, be sure to check out The Long Leg (1930) by Edward Hopper, a work of art that captures the head-clearing certainty and happiness of the sea.
What are the upcoming special exhibitions for the Huntington?