Coming from the academic world, The Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena was a familiar name. I didn’t visit or conduct any of my research there, but plenty of other historians in my world made trips to southern California to visit the library for their work. Last month, my mentor and friend from undergrad at Berkeley told me she was researching and writing this year at the library and asked if I wanted to come visit. I said yes, of course – you know me – and brought along my friend, Karen.
The Huntington Library
I expected to walk around the garden area and spend most of our time looking at the exhibits. Boy, was I wrong! The Huntington Library Gardens are spectacular and for someone who’s constantly looking for natural beauty in her surroundings, I’m not sure how I haven’t visited until now. I was in shock!
I’m going to be totally honest, we didn’t even make it to the exhibits on this visit (there has to be another one soon). When you visit the Huntington Library Gardens, plan on a lot of time to walk around and take in the beauty. I think you’ll have to pick taking in the serenity and taking all the photos you want on any given day – it’s just not possible to do it all!
Huntington Library Garden Hours + Visiting Tips
The Huntington Library + Gardens hours are 10am-5pm every day of the week except Tuesday, so you can visit whenever you like. Because Pasadena tends to be warm, getting there when it opens is best.
The property is nestled in the Pasadena/San Marino area – a lovely neighborhood full of swoon-worthy homes. (yes, I was thinking about Father of the Bride and blow drying the roses the whole time!). There’s a parking lot on site that’s no extra charge (a wonderful treat for us Angelenos). Once inside the property, there are benches throughout to rest and the pathways are all wonderfully maintained. It’s also all handicapped accessible, which is wonderful!
I’d recommend wearing a good pair of walking shoes if you really want to see the gardens as they’re a bit spread apart. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want water, a snack, and sunscreen for wandering around. They do offer food and drink on site (more below), however, so not to worry about fainting in the Rose Garden!
Check out other fun things to do in Los Angeles!
Huntington Library Gardens
After checking into the library, my friend directed us to the Chinese Gardens, saying it was the most picturesque and beautiful. She was absolutely right. Everything from the arched bridge over the coy pond to the pagoda where you can sit and take in all the flora surrounding you, it’s not to miss! And see what I mean about the benches? It really is a place to relax and take in the scenery! No need to rush around.
The Chinese Gardens are just the tip of the gardens, however. Next door are the Japanese Gardens. You can take the stairs or ramp up to the Rose and Herb Gardens. Beyond the Japanese Gardens are the Australian and Subtropical Gardens which lead to the lily ponds and eventually into the Desert, Jungle, and Palm Gardens. Yeah. It’s that extensive!!
Huntington Gardens Tea
The Huntington Library has recently revamped their food offerings. Cafe 1919 is an upscale cafeteria that offers everything from salads and sandwiches to daily burger and pizza specials. They even have a Border Grill – an homage to the downtown LA favorite. You can sit indoors or outside under the shade, taking in more of the scenery.
And rumor has it they have a Tea Room that I’m now dying to check out. Boasting local, organic, and sustainably-sourced ingredients, their tea trays look divine. High tea in the Huntington Library Gardens? Talk about a dream come true. Sounds like a great activity the next time my mom is in town or for a date with my sister!! I now have more reasons than I can count to visit again!