The Huntington in Pasadena, CA is comprised of the Huntington Library, Museum and Botanical Gardens. I have always referred to the area as the Huntington Library but when I checked their website they have it listed as “The Huntington” (I am guessing they did some rebranding so people don’t think that it is just a boring ol’ library). The library and museums aren’t currently opened, but what is left (the gardens) more than warrant a visit. The Botanical Gardens cover 120 acres of immaculately manicured land, with tens of thousands of plants from all over the world. It is spectacular. The rose garden alone is 3 acres and contains one thousand varieties of roses.
Henry Huntington (a railroad tycoon from the late 1800s) moved to what is now the Huntington, in 1903, with his wife, Arabella (who happened to be his uncle’s widow). Over the years that they lived in Pasadena they collected so many books, plants and art that they signed a trust that transferred their estate into a public institution, for everyone to enjoy. After their death, the Huntington opened to the public, in 1928.
Today I took my niece, and her friend, to celebrate her Sweet 16. It is a tough year for big birthdays, but The Huntington makes special occasions even more special. The tickets go on sale every two weeks on Tuesday, at noon. I was on the website on Tuesday, at noon, and there was already a line of more than 1,600 people in front of me. At first I thought there was no way I would get tickets (call me cynical), but after a ten minute wait I was able to buy tickets for the time and date I wanted.
Four Points Bulletin- Get there when they first open. They let people in based on their ticket times, so it gets more crowded as the day goes on.
We ate at the Dome, which is close to the entrance of The Huntington. You are allowed to bring your own food (although picnicking is prohibited, you can sit at a table and eat). Since it was a special occasion we pre-ordered food at 1919 Cafe (you have to order at least 48 hours ahead). I let the girls pick whatever they wanted and they chose to split the tea for two, which came with a variety of different sandwiches and yummy desserts. And since I knew they would be eating for a while, I decided on the cheese plate. Everything was super. It isn’t quite the same as the tea room but it was a nice alternative to nothing!