Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens

Things to do , Event spaces San Marino
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(6 user reviews)
17 Love It
Save it
 (Photograph: Aaron Logan)
Photograph: Aaron Logan
Huntington Library
 (Photograph: Rennett Stowe)
Photograph: Rennett Stowe
Huntington Library
 (Photograph: Raoul van Wijk)
Photograph: Raoul van Wijk
Huntington Library
 (Photograph: Raoul van Wijk)
Photograph: Raoul van Wijk
Huntington Library
 (Photograph: Raoul van Wijk)
Photograph: Raoul van Wijk
Huntington Library
 (Photograph: Courtesy the Huntington Library)
Photograph: Courtesy the Huntington Library
Huntington Library

The bequest of entrepreneur Henry E Huntington is now one of the most enjoyable attractions in the Los Angeles region. It's also not a destination that you should attempt to explore in full during a single day: between the art, the library holdings and the spreadeagled outdoor spaces, there's plenty to see, and most of it is best enjoyed at lingering leisure rather than as part of a mad day-long dash.

Once you've paid your admission, you'll be close to the main library, which holds more than six million items and is open only to researchers (apply for credentials in advance of your visit). However, some of its most notable holdings, among them a Gutenberg Bible and the earliest known edition of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, are always on display in the adjoining exhibition hall, alongside regular themed temporary shows.

The art collection is almost as notable as the library's collection. Built in 1910, the main house is home to a very impressive collection of British art, which includes Gainsborough's The Blue Boy alongside works by Blake, Reynolds and Turner. And over in the newer Scott and Erburu Galleries, you'll find a selection of American paintings.

However, despite all these cultural glories, the Huntington's highlights are outdoors in its vast jigsaw of botanical gardens, arguably the most glorious in the entire Los Angeles region. The 207 acres of gardens, 120 acres of which are open to the public, are divided into a variety of themes: the Desert Garden, now a century old, is packed with cacti and other succulents; the Shakespeare Garden evokes a kind of Englishness rarely seen in England these days; the Children's Garden is a delightful mix of educational features and entertaining diversions; and the Japanese garden is quietly, unassumingly magical. Most recent is the Chinese-themed Garden of Flowing Fragrance, a delicate environment built in part by Chinese artisans. Like much of this fabulous place, it's best approached in slow motion.

Venue name: Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
Address: 1151 Oxford Rd
Los Angeles

Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Fri 10:30am-4:30pm; Sat-Sun 10:30am-4:30pm. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Huntington observes summer hours and is open from 10:30am-4:30pm daily, except Tuesdays.
Price: $20-$23; seniors $15-$18; students $12-$13; children ages 5-11 $8; free under-5s. Free to all 1st Thu of month (advance tickets required: call 800-838-3006). Parking free.
Do you own this business?

Pick a date

  • Painting Until Monday January 2 2017
    Read more
  • Saturday October 22 2016
    Read more

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

The Huntington Library and Gardens have been one of my favorite sanctuaries in town for several decades. The gardens are ever changing. Some of my favorites include the Chinese, Japanese, Shakespear, Rose, Desert and Childrens gardens. On top of the sprawling gardens, there is the library, art galleries with changing exhbitions, cafes, plant sales and other exciting events.

One of the my favorite exhibitions was the Corpse Flower blooming, also known as "Stinky 5: Return of the Corpse Flower". This giant flower grows several inches per night and when it blooms, it's bloom releases a rotten stench. Back in 2014, this Amorphophallus titanum stood in a pot at the entrance to the Huntington's conservatory. I cleared my schedule and showed up 2-3 times during the weekend along with hundreds of others. 

We all anticipated the bloom, but eventually it happened while the gardens were closed to the public. Regardless, the anticipation and journey was definitely fun even though only the staff got to experience the bloom, in this case.

I've been a member of the Huntington for years, and whenever I go, there is always some new adventure to experience.

Brittany M

The grounds of the Huntington are sprawling and exceptionally lovely at any time of year. Not to be overlooked is the art collection housed within the building, which includes classic works and traveling exhibitions. Even the building itself is beautiful and so romantic. This is a perfect spot to spend a day feeling refreshed by beautiful things natural and human. 

Melody L

An annual membership is well worth it too, 120 for 2 entries per day. Something for everyone:Library, Museum and Botanical GardenS, gorgeous you will forget all your worries. I'M having a good day? ToTHEE H, having a bad day? To Thee H, low on funds-something to do, free parking? TO THE H! A mile from Gold Line, easy walk too. FAVORITE is the Chinese gardens and the Green and Green exhibit, and OH The masterpiece paintings or free lectures. I get the most awesome walks in and so beautiful I forget I'm exercising 3 hours later. An annual tradition with my niece is formal tea in the Rose Garden Tea Room-Enchanting!. 11 years ago I never knew this existed - Grateful we found each other!

Kate W

The price of admission may be a bit steep, but Huntington Library is home to some of the most beautiful botanical gardens I've ever seen. You could spend an entire day here and still not see everything—I always make time for the cactus garden, the Japanese garden and the rose garden (call me cliche, they're just so lovely). I tend to overlook the indoor exhibits, but they once had a really incredible spread of Charles Bukowski letters, and I'm not a religious lady, but the Gutenberg Bible they have on display is absolutely stunning.