Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
The former estate of railroad tycoon Henry Huntington is one of southern California’s most magnificent. Spread over 150 impeccably manicured acres just outside Pasadena, the grand compound has been converted into four art galleries and a renowned library (which contains, among other treasures, a Gutenberg Bible from the 1450’s and an illuminated manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales). Much of the art collection, including Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Sir Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie, is housed in Huntington’s splendid Beaux-Arts mansion. The most popular sights, however, are found outdoors in a series of botanical gardens showcasing more than 14,000 species. Among the disparate habitats presented are a Desert Garden, Jungle Garden, Shakespeare Garden evoking the English garden style, and serene Japanese Garden with koi-filled pond and Zen court.
Tip: Reserve ahead for the charming Tea Room, surrounded by a sprawling rose garden—it’s an essential part of any visit to the Huntington.