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Huntington Library, Art Museum & Botanical Gardens

  • Things to do
  • San Marino
  • price 2 of 4
  • Recommended
  1. Huntington Library
    Photograph: Courtesy Beth Coller/The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical GardensThe Stargazing Tower.
  2. Huntington Library
    Photograph: Michael JulianoChinese Garden.
  3. Huntington Library
    Photograph: Michael JulianoDesert Garden.
  4. Huntington Library
    Photograph: Michael JulianoJapanese Garden.
  5. Huntington Library
    Photograph: Michael JulianoChinese Garden.
  6. Huntington Library
    Photograph: Michael Juliano
  7. Huntington Library
    Photograph: Michael JulianoRose Garden.
  8. Huntington Library
    Photograph: Michael JulianoChinese Garden.
  9. Huntington Library
    Photograph: Michael JulianoChinese Garden.
  10. Huntington Library
    Photograph: Michael JulianoJapanese Garden.
  11. Huntington Library
    Photograph: Michael JulianoJapanese Garden.

Time Out says

Reservations required on weekends and Monday holidays. Tickets are released every other Tuesday at noon.

The bequest of entrepreneur Henry E. Huntington is now one of the most exquisite attractions in the Los Angeles region. It’s also not a destination easily explored 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—much of it 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.

RECOMMENDED: The most beautiful botanical gardens in L.A.


1151 Oxford Rd
San Marino
Weekday: $25; seniors and students $21; children 4–11 $13, under-4s free. Weekend: $29; seniors and students $24; children 4–11 $13, under-4s free. Free to all 1st Thu of month (advance tickets required). Parking free.
Opening hours:
Mon, Wed–Sun 10am–5pm; closed Tue
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What’s on

Summer Evening Strolls at the Huntington

As sunset creeps later and later into the evening, the Huntington is taking advantage of the extra daylight with this coveted after-hours series. Formerly open on select dates and just for members, Summer Evening Strolls is now open to the public, too, and will extend the San Marino garden’s hours until 8pm on Saturday and Sunday evenings in the summer, with a few holiday weekend Fridays thrown in, too.

Mid-Autumn Moon Celebration

Explore the Huntington’s Chinese Garden by moonlight during this after-hours stroll, where all of the pavilions and pathways will be lit up. While you’re there, you can listen to live music or pick up something for dinner at the Jade Court Cafe or the Terrace of Shared Delights. We went to last year’s event and found it to be an absolute delight—if not a little crowded. A few tips: If the permanent dining areas are too crowded, check out a pop-up one near the roomy event space above the west side of the garden. Also, the line for the lantern launch—where you can write remembrances and well wishes onto a paper lantern that’ll float across the central pond—seemed to spike toward the middle of the event, so consider hitting it up on either end of the evening. Some of the pathways in the Chinese Garden are a bit narrow, and particularly crowded during the event, but overall we found plenty of places to take a tranquil stroll.

Family Fridays: Movie Nights at The Huntington

  • Family and kids

Pack a picnic and roll out a blanket for this family-friendly screening series at the Huntington. The San Marino botanical garden will show a different movie on select Fridays, with live music and themed concessions for purchase for each (they just ask that you leave the booze at home). So far, the lineup includes Raya and the Last Dragon (Sept 16) and Encanto (Oct 7). You’ll find each screening on the East Lawn, in front of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art . The gates open at 6pm and the rest of the grounds will be closed, so you’ll have to buy a regular ticket if you want to explore the gardens earlier in the day.

Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts

See how works of 18th-century French decorative arts informed the residents of Beauty and the Beast’s castle and Sleeping Beauty’s enchanting forest at this assembly of Disney-inspiring works. “Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts” will put about 50 works of European art and design on display at the Huntington from December 10, 2022 through March 27, 2023. Those centuries-old pieces will sit alongside more contemporary, heavily French-inspired production artworks from both Disney movies and theme parks. The exhibition debuted in New York at the Met—you can see Time Out New York’s in-depth look at the exhibit here—and is currently on tour in London; its arrival in SoCal just so happens to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the locally-based Walt Disney Company. Highlights include porcelain figures, Rococo candlesticks and castle-like vases displayed alongside the prop book from Sleeping Beauty, Mary Blair’s artwork for Cinderella and Herbert Ryman’s bird’s-eye illustration of Disneyland.

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