Living in LA is amazing – you never have to eat at the same place twice, have access to the beach, the mountains, the desert and wine country all within a few hours, and can go see all your favorite game shows for free (anyone up for The Price is Right taping??); however, it is a large city with many people and can sometimes feel a bit suffocating.

It was with that mindset that R and I recently set out to discover the Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena, CA. and HOLY COW we were not disappointed. One of my new favorite places!

Huntington Garden 5 Must Sees | SET on Life

Take a little bit of The Secret Garden, mix in the Jungle Book and Mulan, and throw in a Dr. Seuss story and you have the Huntington Gardens. Made up of 16 different sections, the 120-acre estate took us just over 4 hours to cover, and, I admit, we didn’t even stop in to explore the Library (sigh … next visit). There is so much to look at and explore along the wandering paths but if I had to limit it to my must-sees, I’d have to choose the following:

1. Everything about The Desert Garden – never before have I seen flora and fauna like this! The vibrant colors, bizarre plant shapes and gazillions of succulents completely transport you into a telling of The Lorax.

Huntington Gardens Desert Garden | SET on Life

2. The romance and balance of The Chinese Garden – The waterfall, the pond, the beautiful pavilions and a delicious tea house where we munched on spring rolls and dan dan noodles. Perfection.

Huntington Gardens Chinese Garden | SET on Life

3. All the cool activities in The Children’s Garden – No, we did not go with children. Yes, I still wandered around and pretended I was 6 again. The fog grotto was a particularly favorite spot.

Huntington Gardens Succulents | SET on Life

4. The Bonsai collection in The Japanese Garden – what is it about old trees grown in miniature that is so fascinating?
Huntington Gardens Japanese Garden Bonsai_SET on Life

5. Taking deep breaths in a wide open space in Los Angeles – Let’s be serious, just getting to see stretches of green earth sans buildings and cars is a somewhat rare treat in LA. Can’t beat this place for the escapism it provides.
Huntington Gardens Jungle Garden | SET on Life

Needless to say, if you’re in the LA area and want to get off the beaten path – Huntington Library and Gardens is an amazing spot! We will definitely be going back soon as we were too early for the Rose Garden and I need to indulge my inner bookworm by exploring the library.

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