The Huntington Library & Gardens is a popular day-trip destination located in San Marino, California. This 207-acre complex houses a library, art collection and spectacular gardens that attract tourists as well as some of the world’s greatest scholars.
Opened in 1928, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Garden were the gift of railroad tycoon Henry and his wife Arabella Huntington.
The Huntington’s created a trust that would allow future generations the opportunity to view their personal collection of manuscripts, books, documents, and art, as well as to conduct research in the Library and enjoy the colorful flowers and unusual plants in their 120-acre Botanical Garden.
Today, the Library and art gallery contain some of the rarest books under one roof and one of the complete collections of 18th-century art, which no other museum in the world does.
Extraordinary gems are housed here. Items such as the Gutenberg Bible, the Ellesmere manuscript of Canterbury Tales, a 60,000-item Jack London archive and works with important figures such as Audubon and Shakespeare.
The Library was also once known for being one of the first institutions to release the complete set of Dead Sea Scroll pictures for researchers to study, as well as housing the Nuremberg Laws that were donated by General Patton himself.
But it’s not just what is inside that attracts guests. Beyond the walls of the Library, there are different theme gardens for visitors to roam, such as Japanese, Chinese, Desert, Tropical, Australian, Rose, Shakespeare, Conservatory, and Jungle Gardens. There’s even a special Children’s Garden for the youngsters.
For many, these Botanical Gardens are the highlight of their Huntington experience and contain some unique and rare plants from around the globe.
Whether you prefer the peace of the Japanese Garden with its ponds and pagodas, or the romance of the Shakespeare Garden, the Botanical Garden is a relaxing place for an afternoon stroll. Most of the pathways that meander through the gardens are wheelchair accessible, and The Huntington publishes a map that includes a guide to walkways that may not.
Visitors may also tour the Huntington’s home, furnished with antiques as it when the couple occupied it.
Inside you will find not only rare and unique works from van Dyck, Canaletto, Turner, and Constable. But also well-known artwork such as Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie. There is also a fine collection of French porcelain as well as several delicate tapestries.
While guests are free to roam the entire complex on their own, the Huntington does offer several different types of tours of the Library and the Botanical Garden. There is also a free daily garden tour, as well as group tours of the Chinese Garden and the entire estate.
For those looking to add a little more to the experience. The Tea and Tour package is a nice choice. This package includes admission to the Huntington and a private tour and tea at the Huntington’s famous Rose Garden Tea Room.
There are two eateries on the grounds. The Rose Tea Room, and the Cafe where you can grab a sandwich, burger, salad or other light snacks and drinks.
An afternoon at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is an ideal way to spend quality family time, and a perfect day to spend with grandparents and other special out-of-town visitors. Be prepared to do a lot of walking, so wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
Where are the Huntington Library & Gardens
The Huntington Library & Gardens are open Mondays and Wednesdays – Fridays from 12:00 noon to 4:30 P.M. On weekends, you can visit from 10:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. The Huntington is closed on Tuesdays. Admission is free to all the 1st Thursday of each month. Visitors to The Huntington on “Free Day” must have a ticket which they can get by calling 800-838-3006. Free tickets run out so call early in the month.
Huntington Library & Gardens 1151 Oxford Road San Marino, CA 91108 Parking is free at The Huntington