/ The Los Angeles Guide
Los Angeles — By Joannaline C. Young on January 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm
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A Wonderland of Peace at the Huntington

The Huntington Entrance

Ever wish you could escape out of your busy reality and into a wonderland you often only see in films?  Well imagine yourself amidst acres of roses having a quaint lunch with tea.  Or being able to enjoy the setting of a Chinese garden, then walking just a few steps away into an Australian habitat.  This is why my favorite place to go to for a quick getaway is The Huntington.  This peaceful creation of nature and man is set like a low key Disneyland for all ages.  There are endless amounts of activities and places to see that every time you go, you will see something new.  The beauty of the Huntington Botanical Gardens has attracted many as the site for their weddings and other special events.  In fact, amateur and professional artists go to the gardens for photography, painting, and filming.


Japanese Garden entrance

The New Chinese Garden

My favorite attractions at The Huntington are the gardens. My first choice would be the Japanese garden because of the calmness that will overwhelm you. Before you enter, there are rock/sand gardens with simple designs to express the flowing of a river. Then you will go down a flight of wooden stairs and be amazed at the garden below.  First you will notice a large curved bridge above a koi pond at the center of the garden.  Then there is a little house on the top of a hill whose rooms are open for viewing.  Here, you can see how the Japanese lived in the 19th century with the table settings and decorations.

Another favorite area of The Huntington is the rose garden.  The rose garden has many different types of flowers, combining into one sweet aroma when you get there. This is a perfect spot for wedding photos because of the white canopies and garden benches.

The Huntington has also recently added the Chinese garden where there is also a small building where you can eat. A little café-like house sells dumplings and other small items that you can enjoy out on the patio by the large pond.  To attend, you must book reservations online or call at least 2 weeks in advance. Here you can enjoy a delicious buffet lunch. Treats include finger sandwiches, imported cheeses, fruits, salads, and “specialty petite desserts”. This is another perfect spot to relax with your family or friends.

Other gardens are the Australian, camellia, children’s, desert, herb, jungle, palm, Shakespeare, and subtropical.  There are also lily ponds and an indoor Conservatory, the latter featuring tropical plants such as colorful orchids.

The Rose Garden


Henry Edwards Huntington began The Huntington Collections in 1919. Henry E. Huntington expanded the area’s electric railway lines-which still can be seen today in front of the Santa Anita Mall. This caused the region’s population to triple between 1900 and 1910. His wealth in the railroad, utilities, and real estate industries enabled him to pursue his interests in books, art, and the gardens. “These three distinct facets of the Huntington are linked by a devotion to research, education, and beauty”. After retiring from the railroad business, he dedicated his time to his rare library and beautiful gardens that included taking care of collections and landscaping. In 1919, Henry E. Huntington married an art collector which later influenced the resulting exhibitions.  He then decided to transfer his property to a nonprofit so that the public can view the collections for all of us to enjoy.


Step inside the library whose books are only used by qualified scholars. However, the public can view rare Anglo-American books and manuscripts such as the famous Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare, and American West finds. Some of these 6 million items are stored in a medieval looking vault no one would dare enter.

Statues near the Huntington Library


The Huntington Art gallery is housed in the beautiful Beaux Arts mansion designed by the famous architect Myron Hunt. As mentioned earlier, the art collection was expanded and designed by Henry’s wife. If you want a taste of historical art, look at some of the current exhibitions. “Color Explosions” is a collection of work of 19th Century American Lithography from the Jay T. Last Collection. You can also view some of the history of Los Angeles in “Central Avenue and Beyond”, The Harlem Renaissance in Los Angeles which is open until February 8, 2010. Lastly, if you wish to see a little comedic art, go see “Drawn to Satire”, John Sloan’s Illustrations for the Novels of Charles Paul de Kock which open until March 29, 2010.


If there are just too many places for you to explore (and there probably is), you can purchase different tours like the Estate, Chinese Garden, Tea & Tour, amongst others. While you are at the entrance purchasing your tour, you can also stop by the “Huntington Bookstore & More”. If you don’t have time to go to the bookstore because there is just too many things to see, you can view their items online and order by email, phone, fax or mail. They offer everything from books, stationary, jewelry, clothing, and household items.

The hours of operation for The Huntington Collections is: Weekdays 12noon to 4:30pm, weekends 10:30am to 4:30pm (Closed every Tuesday).  Membership come at different price levels which help keep the library going: Sustaining, Contributor, Affiliate, Supporting, Patron, Benefactor, Society of Fellows. Members enjoy exclusive events and early admission. You can also give a membership as a gift!


One of the best parts about The Huntington is that not only does it celebrate history but also how San Marino has changed into what we see today.  Now many members of the San Marino community are Chinese and other Asian nationalities.  Also, the surrounding cities are known as The New Chinatown like Arcadia, San Gabriel, Monterey Park, and Alhambra. To celebrate this new generation and those who appreciate culture, The Huntington has decided to hold a Chinese New Year Family Festival on February 20, 2010 that everyone can enjoy. All over the Huntington property there will be several Chinese performances and “highlights” including a flower market, miniature trees and rockery displays. Don’t be fooled by the presence of a scavenger hunt and shadow puppets. Adults can enjoy the fine art of brush painting and music. A string and bamboo orchestra will be present as well as the Chinese Kwun Opera Society and UCLA Chinese Music Ensemble. Cultural performances include mask-changing, tai chi, and Chinese knotting. The Chinese New Year Family Festival complements well with the overall peaceful landscape of The Huntington.

The Huntington will always be a special place to me.  Even though it is educational, most of all it just a great place to sit and relax. As soon as you leave, you will feel refreshed and ready to tackle whatever the day has in store.

Location: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108

All Photos courtesy of Luna, Ink.

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