The Huntington Library Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
View beautiful art and historic manuscripts, and walk through more than a dozen lush gardens sprawled across 120 acres.
Henry Huntington certainly had delusions of grandeur: He built his own petit Versailles in San Marino. Occupying 120 acres of perfectly manicured rolling hills are a series of botanical gardens featuring over 15,000 species of flora, such as the Desert Garden, Shakespeare Garden (the flavor of the English countryside) and tranquil Japanese Garden with koi-filled stream. In the midst of a three-acre rose garden is the charming Tea Room, which should be included in any Huntington experience. His estate and grounds are now an important scholarly center whose collections are both exhibited for public enjoyment and maintained for research purposes. The Huntington’s collection of 18th- and 19th-century oil paintings (including Gainsborough's "Blue Boy"), furniture and decorative pieces (including a wealth of Greene & Greene designs), rare books and manuscripts (including such treasures as letters from George Washington and Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales") are shown in thoughtfully curated exhibitions. No need to book, just grab a schedule and turn up at the designated hour.