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Picnic at Huntington Gardens?

m
mocro May 7, 2013 08:34 AM

We're heading there on Sunday and as neither of their dining options are very good. We don't have a ton of time so I thought I'd bring a picnic and eat there ahead of time. I'm sure you can't bring food into the grounds but does anyone remember if there are trees there you could eat under before entering? Thanks!

  1. p
    pley May 7, 2013 09:17 AM

    There's also a cafe in the Chinese Garden, in case you haven't looked into that. They got a new chef and the food is supposed to be pretty good, although I just can't bring myself to pay those prices when the whole world of sgv Chinese restaurants are just a hop away.
    There is some grass on both sides of the entrance, before you go up the stairs of the entrance pavilion. There are also benches around the coffee/snack cart in the entrance pavilion. Those are small parcels of lawn, right where everyone walks by to go in, not sure if that would be comfortable for you.
    I gotta say, I've been a member for 15 years, and have been there often, and I've never witnessed a picnic other than member events. I've never looked into picnicking there, so don't know what the Huntington may have to say about it, maybe nothing.
    The Huntington is in process of building a new visitor and education center, and the current entrance pavilion will be closed around June, so you're going at a good time, before the dust really kicks up in the parking lot and entrance.

    6 Replies
    1. re: pley
      m
      mocro May 7, 2013 01:36 PM

      Thanks for the advice. I don't know what the eating area looks like outside, but I'll check it out. I've been to the Chinese Garden Cafe and actually the food is pretty good (yes a bit $ considering where we live). It's a shame you can't picnic inside as there are so many gorgeous areas for that - perhaps not the cactus garden - but I completely understand they want to keep the area pristine plus keep their restaurants hopping.

      I'd definitely do Lacy Park except we have friends in for the weekend and we're trying to see many sites so I'd rather stay put.

      On another note we met friends at HG last year on Mother's Day as we thought 'nobody would be there' and yikes - it was mobbed. They have a special seated lunch on that day but we didn't have reservations so we opted for the Cafe and the line literally took an hour. So don't put Huntington Gardens for Mother's Day on your best-kept-secret list!

      1. re: mocro
        p
        pley May 7, 2013 04:28 PM

        Also, people are slobs. They can't have enough staff to hunt for all the garbage people would leave behind if they allow picnicking in the gardens. Straws are not allowed inside, they would be hard to spot.

        Their Chinese New Year celebration weekend gets super mobbed too. This last time around, I thought I'd drop in to take a stroll, on what happened to be the Sunday afternoon of their CNY weekend. The parking lot was completely full, and nearby street parking was all taken. I've gone to the CNY weekends in the past, but always earlier in the day, so at least I could get parking.

        Hope you find the eating option that works for you, and have fun!

        1. re: mocro
          Savour May 8, 2013 11:24 AM

          They have members-only evenings in the summer when you can take a picnic onto the grounds. They have music on the big lawn near the house. It's great.

          1. re: Savour
            m
            maxcatsilver May 8, 2013 03:56 PM

            The members-only Summer evenings this year will be on June 23rd, July 20th, August 3rd, and August 18th, from 530pm to 800pm. Members are invited to bring blankets or chairs, friends and wine, and picnic in a designated area. Note: This is for "upper level" members (Contributors and above.)

            1. re: maxcatsilver
              Savour May 8, 2013 04:31 PM

              That's new for this year. It used to be sustaining level members as well. How disappointing.

              1. re: Savour
                p
                pley May 8, 2013 08:03 PM

                There are a couple days in June for the plebeian level. They sent a postcard.

      2. Servorg May 7, 2013 09:05 AM

        From their website:

        " No picnics are allowed on the grounds, but you can eat a picnic lunch or snack at the small eating area near the parking lot."

        1 Reply
        1. re: Servorg
          Servorg May 7, 2013 09:25 AM

          One suggestion. A little over a mile away from the Huntington Gardens is http://www.ci.san-marino.ca.us/lacy.htm Lacy Park. While there is a small charge to get in on Saturday and Sunday for non San Marino residents it would be a really nice place for your picnic.

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