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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 at the Huntington.
  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

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” has put about 50 works of European art and design on display at the Huntington through March 27, 2023. Those centuries-old pieces—porcelain figures and Rococo candlesticks, among them—sit alongside more contemporary, heavily French-inspired production artworks from both Disney movies and theme parks. The exhibition starts its focus on Walt Disney himself: his first trip to France following World War I, a later visit to Paris in 1935 and a collection of European miniatures—and how all of these informed his work on animated shorts and features, as well as the generations of animators that followed after his death. The curatorial staff has been able to select French objects that they know for sure influenced each production, whereas other pieces may have served as an inspiration. Beauty and the Beast has the biggest focus of the exhibit by far, with deep dives into the furniture inspirations behind the transformed castle staff, an animation cell from the stained glass-inspired intro and a platform of plates and a candelabra that recalls the “Be Our Guest” sequence. But you’ll also find the manuscript-like pages from the prop book in the intro of Sleeping Beauty, Mary Blair’s colorful artwork for Cinderella and castle-like va

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