Précised in its name, The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is an exhaustive collection of rare books and manuscripts, British, French and American Art and specialised gardens set on 48 hectares. Established by avid collector and businessman Henry E. Huntington in 1919, the institution is a must-see for art aficionados.
The Library houses over six million written, illustrated and photographic works across the fields of American and British history, literature, art and the history of science, medicine and technology. The collection dates from the Middle Ages to the present and with notable works on permanent display including a copy of the 'Gutenberg Bible' and 'Audubon's Birds of America'.
The Huntington Art Gallery houses 18th and 19th century British paintings, sculpture and decorative arts, alongside Renaissance paintings and sculpture and 18th century French tapestries, porcelain and furniture; and American art from the 1690s to the 1950s is on display within the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art.
While there's plenty to ponder indoors, set aside time to peruse the amazing gardens. Over 14,000 different plant varieties are showcased in more than 12 main garden areas from a Jungle Garden - complete with waterfall, to tranquil lily ponds.
The exquisite rose collection numbers over 4,000 plants, while the Desert Garden is a curious collage of over 5,000 succulents and cacti. Particularly exquisite is the Chinese Garden with pavilions, windows, bridges and covered walkways among the water, rock and plant elements.
Top off a day of refinement with a traditional English tea and an array of delicate finger food at the Rose Garden Tea Room. To visit, take the Metro Goldline train from Union Station to Allen Avenue Station. From here, transfer to the Pasadena ARTS 10 bus, alight at Del Mar Boulevard and Allen Avenue, and walk 19 minutes down South Allen Avenue to The Huntington.
On weekdays, adult entry is US$20, children aged 12 to 18 enter for US$12, kids aged five to 11 enter for US$8 and under-fives are free. On weekends, admission is US$23 for adults, US$13 for kids aged 12 to 18, and US$8 for those aged five to 11.