Huntington gardens or art are reasons to visit Pasadena area

When visiting LA don’t put off a visit to the Pasadena area just because the Rose Bowl parade and game are over.

Stop and smell the roses at The Huntington, a botanic garden south of Pasadena

Stop and smell the roses at The Huntington, a botanic garden south of Pasadena

The botanic gardens, art collections and library of The Huntington in San Marino, Cal. just south of Pasadena are worth a visit year round.

This is the place to literally stop to smell the roses. But save time to also wander through a conservatory covered tropical forest and several more gardens.

You can spend the entire day just doing the gardens. There are more than a dozen gardens scattered across 207 acres.

Take a break along a picture-perfect pond while snacking on a freshly baked almond cookie and enjoying the peaceful views of Liu Fan Yuan, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance.

It's easy to forget time and troubles when relaxing bin the Garden of Flowing Fragrance

It's easy to forget time and troubles when relaxing bin the Garden of Flowing Fragrance

Meander down desert garden walks among cacti and colorful succulents.

Another path leads to lily ponds where you will want to  snap shots of lotus flowers.

A waterfall lies back up the hill in a jungle garden.

Getting hungry? Then lunch on really good fresh sandwiches and salads while relaxing on a tree-covered terrace before you are off to explore the art galleries.

The Huntington Art Gallery is in Henry Edwards Huntington’s 1911 Beaux-Arts mansion. It also became the home of art collector Arabella Duval Huntington, a relative by marriage whom he wed in 1913.

Wander between cacti and succulents paths through a desert garden before winding around to the lily ponds

Wander between cacti and succulents paths through a desert garden before winding around to the lily ponds

Aside from seeing works in the mansion by Gainsborough including his Blue Boy, there is a grand dining room and a fine John Constable work.

In the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, look for Mary Cassatt’s Breakfast in Bed and Edward Hopper’s The Long Leg.

There are exceptional sculptures in the galleries (they connect), such as a Frederick Remington, and full-sized sculptures out on the lawns.

A third building, the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery, has temporary exhibitions.

But don’t forget the Library. Its exhibition hall has Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Audubon’s Birds of America in the double-elephant folio edition and a Gutenberg Bible.

Mary Cassat's Breakfast in Bed, 1897 is among several fine works in Galleries of American Art

Mary Cassat's Breakfast in Bed, 1897 is among several fine works in Galleries of American Art

Details: Go early, particularly on a weekend or holiday before ticket lines get long.  Hours: Noon to 4 :30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Open 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday holidays. Closed Tuesdays and major holidays. Check website for summer hour changes.

The Huntington is a private, nonprofit, collections-based research and educational institution that Henry E. Huntington founded in 1919. Weekday admission is $15 general, $12 ages 65 and older, $10 ages 12-18 or full-time students with ID, $6 ages 5-11. Free under age 5. Weekends and Monday holidays are $20, $15, $10 and $6 for same categories. For more information call 626-405-2100 and visit The Huntington. The Huntington is as 1151, Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108

All photos by Jodie Jacobs

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