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Don’t miss the latest travel and wine itineraries >

Don’t miss the latest travel and wine itineraries

15 most gorgeous Gardens to visit in SF Bay Area

Roses and rose arch at San Jose Municipal Rose Garden

Summer is here and if you can tell from my previous posts, it is also my favorite time in California. I love exploring every corner of the San Francisco Bay Area and discovering wild flowers, flower fields and flowers in every color. One of my favorite things to do in summer is to visit all the insanely gorgeous gardens in and around the SF Bay Area. There are plenty of unique and beautiful gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area that are well kept including rose gardens, botanical gardens, Japanese and English gardens and even cactus gardens. And the best part is that many of these gardens are free to visit! The entrance fee mentioned for other gardens below is for adults. Children and seniors can typically enter at discounted prices.

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15 Most gorgeous gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area

Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park

Red pagoda at Golden Gate Park Japanese Yes Garden

Golden Gate Park Japanese Tea Garden

If you visit Golden Gate Park, this garden is a must visit. It is so peaceful and like other Japanese gardens, has a koi pond, a pagoda and a tea shop. You can also spot cherry blossoms if you visit in the spring. This is definitely one of the most beautiful gardens in San Francisco and not to be missed!

Entrance fee: $25 (Link to the website)

Filoli Gardens, Woodside

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Filoli gardens building and architecture

Filoli gardens, Woodside

Filoli gardens in Woodside is a beautiful property that is very well maintained and a fun place to visit any time of the year. In the summer and spring, many flowers ranging from wisterias, lavender and roses bloom and in the winter, it is beautifully decorated for Christmas. Timed tickets are needed to visit the gardens. 

Entrance fee: $34 (Link to the website)

San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, San Jose

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Woman walking beside yellow roses in rose garden

San Jose Municipal Rose Garden

If you visit San Jose, this beautiful rose garden in Downtown (just a stone’s throw away from San Jose Airport) is a must visit. Roses in all colors and forms bloom around late spring and summer and it is an absolutely beautiful sight to see. The garden is also a fun place to picnic, do photoshoots and weddings! It is one of my must visit places in San Jose.

Entrance fee: FREE to visit (Link to the website)

San Francisco Botanical Gardens

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San Francisco Botanical Gardens is a great place to visit if you like to learn about various species of plants and flowers. Did you know they have over 9000 different kinds of plants? One can easily spend a day here.

Entrance fee: $9 (Link to the website)

Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden

Tulips at San Francisco Tulip garden

San Francisco Tulip garden

This is the only tulip garden that I could find in the Bay Area. You have to time your visit if you’d like to see the tulips as they only bloom for a few weeks. The tulip garden is also accompanied by a beautiful Dutch windmill and is a fun place for a photoshoot.

Entrance fee: FREE (Link to the website)

Allied Arts Guild, Menlo Park

Women standing in front of floral arch

Allied Arts guild, Menlo Park

Allied Arts Guild is a hidden gem and not something you would typically see in a list of gardens in the Bay Area. It is not just a place that sells artworks and crafts but also has a beautiful garden. It is a unique garden oasis in Menlo park with great photo opportunities. Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me.

Entrance fee: FREE to visit the garden (Link to the website)

Elizabeth Gamble Garden, Palo Alto

woman standing in front of wisteria flowers

Elizabeth Gamble Garden, Palo Alto

I visited this garden years ago when we had first moved to the Bay Area and still love visiting it to this day. This is also one of the few gardens where wisterias bloom in the Bay Area. 

Entrance fee: FREE to visit (Link to the website)

Arizona Cactus Garden, Stanford

Arizona Cactus Garden Palo Alto

Arizona Cactus Garden Palo Alto

If you are looking for a unique desert garden and don’t care for rose or Japanese gardens, you have to check out the cactus garden at Stanford. This is probably the only cactus garden in the Bay Area and is absolutely free to stroll around. I love cacti and had so much fun strolling here. Be careful and not touch the prickly cacti.

Entrance fee: FREE (Link to the website)

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

Red flowers in SF Conservatory of Flowers

SF Conservatory of Flowers

The conservatory of flowers is a greenhouse and botanical garden in the Golden Gate Park. It is also one of the oldest buildings in the Golden Gate Park. It is one of the few places where you can see tropical and aquatic plants. The outdoor area itself is worth a visit even if you decide not to go inside.

Entrance fee: $13 (Feb – Oct), $10 (Nov-Jan) (Link to the website)

Japanese Friendship Garden, San Jose

koi pond

Japanese friendship garden, San Jose

This is one of my recent finds and I was surprised by how long it took me to visit. It is based on the Korakuen garden in Okayama and is so pretty with bridges and a koi pond. It is also a peaceful place to relax and reflect.

Entrance fee: FREE (Link to the website)

Hakone Gardens, Saratoga

If you can’t go to San Francisco to see the Japanese garden, you can visit the Hakone Gardens. It is a classic Japanese garden with bamboo trees, a koi pond and a temple. This is my favorite Japanese garden in the South Bay Area.

Entrance fee: $10 (Link to the website)

Berkeley Rose Garden, Berkeley

1500 rose bushes in over 3 acres of gardens overlooking the San Francisco Bay – what more do you want? Berkeley Rose Garden (in their own words) is considered one of the finest rose gardens in Northern California and is indeed a must visit while in town!

Entrance fee: FREE (Link to the website)

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, Berkeley

The botanical garden at UC Berkeley is another beautiful garden to visit in East Bay. It is a huge garden sprawling over 34 acres with over 12000 kinds of plants. Cacti, lilies, sunflowers, orchids and ferns are a few of the many varieties you will find in the Botanical Garden.

Entrance fee: $5 (Link to the website)

UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Santa Cruz

If you are looking for a garden to visit in the South Bay, US Santa Cruz Arboretum is a nice one. It has several mini gardens like California garden, eucalyptus grove and a cactus and succulent garden. 

Entrance fee: $10 (Link to the website)

The Gardens at Heather Farm, San Jose

If you are looking for a fun garden for kids to visit in the Bay Area, this is it. Along with a beautiful rose garden, this 6 acre property also has a children’s garden and waterfalls garden. It is a fun place to visit for kids and adults!

Entrance fee: FREE (Link to the website)

Hope this list is enough motivation for you to visit a garden this year! Let me know if I missed any in the comments below.

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Most beautiful gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area

Beautiful gardens in SF Bay Area

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Hi there!

I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.

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