Just a few miles away from the center of downtown Los Angeles, in the City of Pasadena, you marvel at meticulously pruned bonsai, walk under the palm fronds of trees from south America, and admire the blooms of roses from all over the world, all in one place.
The Huntington Library and Gardens covers 120 acres and contains more than 16 curated gardens, each carefully tended to display a gorgeous range of plants from all over the world. The plants range from delicate roses to dense bamboo forests to succulents and cactus. Whatever your tastes, there is sure to be something to delight. My personal favorites are the rose garden, the edible garden, and the Japanese garden.
Admission to the Huntington is $28 and parking is free, although get there early in the day to ensure you get a spot in their parking lot.
Paved paths line most of the park, although guests can follow gravel and dirt paths to get a closer look at the foliage in some of the gardens. Sturdy walking shoes are recommended for touring the grounds. There are benches and seats throughout the park, although shade maybe be limited, so bring a wide brimmed hat or a parasol.
The Rose Garden Tea Room is located in the center of the rose garden. While the roses aren’t in bloom all year, the tea room’s understated décor and beautiful views of the gardens make it well worth a visit at anytime. The tea services is reasonably priced at $40, and has options for vegan and gluten free dinners as well. In addition, there are optional addons for a champagne tea and a caviar course. The food is good, although not the most decadent, but the tea itself is delicious (and available for purchase in the gift shop and tea room).
If you don’t have the time or energy for high tea, there are several other options for food throughout the gardens, including the Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House, located in the Chinese garden. This is hands down the best food at the Huntington and well worth the wait if you’re there on a weekend. There’s plenty of seating with a lovely view of the pond.
In addition to the beautiful gardens, the Huntington has a collection of art and books that are worth a visit, including a Shakespeare first folio, a Gutenberg bible, and historical photos and books related to California history. Plus, the library buildings are air conditioned if you need to escape the sun.
If you’re traveling to the southern California area and looking for a spot to get tea, or just a beautiful spot to enjoy the summer sun, add the Huntington Library and Gardens to your itinerary.