10 Top Places to See Plants in San Francisco

Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends


Green around the Golden Gate Bridge
Source: Glen Scarborough

Scattered throughout San Francisco you find many public gardens, parks, and even roof gardens. Some are justly famous, such as the Botanical Garden and Japanese Tea Garden. Some gardens aren’t known much to visitors but are popular with locals, such as The Presidio, and then there are the others hidden away to be discovered by serendipity or word of mouth.

Here are ten of our favorite gardens, they will refreshingly slow you down and reinvigorate you.

1. Golden Gate Park

Source: Sarah_Ackerman

One of the largest city parks in the United States of America, is also one of the most diverse, and all of it brought forth from what was once scrub and dunes. The park features first-rate cultural attractions such as the ‘de Young Museum’, that offers art from around the world and the ‘California Academy of Sciences’, known as one of the largest, ingenious, and eco-friendly museum about the history of nature in the world.


  • Name: Golden Gate Park
  • Address: 501 Stanyan Street, San Francisco
  • Price: No entrance fee for the park, the attractions in the park charge however a fee
  • Opening hours: Open 24 hours
  • Website: https://goldengatepark.com

2. Conservatory of Flowers

Source: William Warby

The Conservatory of Flowers lies in the heart of the Golden Gate Park. With the help of close to 2,000 plant species, this Victorian-style conservatory will call attention to horticultural communities, botany students and plant enthusiasts for its nature’s beauty. Stepping inside this beautiful greenhouse is like being in a rain forest; its humid warmth, vivid colors, and gorgeous presentation of the flowers will draw you closer to this breathtaking attraction.


  • Name: Conservatory of Flowers
  • Address: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
  • Price: $8 adults, $6 Youth ages 12-17, Seniors age 65+, $2 Children ages 5-11, under 4 Free
  • Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm
  • Website: http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org

3. The Japanese Tea Garden

The Japanese Garden in the Golden Gate Park

The Japanese Tea House and Garden is an oasis located in the Golden Gate Park. It awakens your senses when you enter the colorful temple gate. Walking over winding paths and bridges built over stepping stones, along koi ponds and lively pagodas. Admire the peaceful Zen garden and acres of beautiful plantings, that have been created in history with generous devotion and creativity.


  • Name: The Japanese Tea Garden
  • Address: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
  • Price: Mon, Wed, Fri: Free if entered by 10am. $8 adults, $6 Youth ages 12-17, Seniors age 65+, $2 Children ages 5-11, under 4 Free
  • Opening hours: Open daily from 9am-6pm (in winter 9am-4.45pm)
  • Website: www.japaneseteagardensf.com

4. San Francisco Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden
Source: Nimmi Solomon

With more than 8,000 different varieties of flora from all over the world, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is a delight of diversity when it comes to plant life. As part of the Golden Gate Park, these 55 acres of land are laying out a foundation for a symphony of plants, beautiful flowers, and trees. When visiting this magical display of greenery, you will pleasantly encounter a wealth of activities and attractions that extend beyond just a walk in between impressive waves of green.


  • Name: San Francisco Botanical Garden
  • Address: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
  • Price: $8 adults, $6 Youth ages 12-17, Seniors age 65+, $2 Children ages 5-11, under 4 Free. Free days: daily 7.30-9am and every second Tuesday of the month
  • Opening hours: Open daily, from 7:30am. The Garden closes one hour after last entry.
  • Website: www.sfbotanicalgarden.org

5. Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden

Orange tulips in the Queen Wilhelmina Garden
Source: Ray Bouknight

In the remote northwestern corner of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, close to the ocean, lies the lovely Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden on the grounds of a Dutch windmill. It features thousands of tulips mixed with Iceland poppies, which are in full boom in the months of March and April. The garden is named after the mother of the former queen of the Netherlands,  because she gave this Dutch windmill as a gift to San Francisco in 1902.


  • Name: Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden
  • Address: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
  • Price: No entrance fee 
  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am to noon, (Thu 12:30–2:30pm CLOSED)
  • Website: goldengatepark.com/queen-wilhelmina-tulip-garden.html

6. Presidio National Park

View on San Francisco Bay
Source: Amanda

The Presidio was a military base on the northern point of the San Francisco peninsula. Today, The Presidio is a new recreational area offering authentic experiences of nature, history and community. It is home to a spectacular landscapes, and views that you would expect in a great national park, but it offers much more. On any given day at The Presidio, people can learn about historic and architectural treasures, play in the forests and beaches and explore adventurous trails. 


  • Name: Presidio National Park
  • Address: 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco
  • Price: No entrance fee 
  • Opening hours: Monday-Sunday, 9am-5pm
  • Website: www.presidio.gov

7. Tenderloin National Forest

Arts and greens in Tenderloin district
Source: TNForest

Bundled up between some residential buildings in the Tenderloin district, you find a surprising green area called ‘Tenderloin National Forest’. This small urban area is not a real national forest but a former dumping ground. The 25-by-136-foot forest consists of a collection of cherry trees, vivid Japanese maples and tall redwood trees. Edible plants and herbs grow in raised boxes, and aloe, cactus, are scattered throughout. Mural paintings rise up every wall of the forest, and a small mud and-straw building exhibits a continuing photo series presenting portraits of neighbors and spectators. 


  • Name: Tenderloin National Forest
  • Address: 509 Ellis Street, San Francisco
  • Price: No entrance fee 
  • Opening hours: Wednesday-Saturday from 11am-3pm
  • Website: www.luggagestoregallery.org/tnf/

8. Empire Park 

Art in Empire Park, San Francisco
Source: Chris

The Empire Park feels like a charming front-yard to a private urban residence.This cute urban garden is mostly a courtyard with brick planter beds, benches along both sides and a fountain sculpture at the end of the central axis. The huge tree ferns and potato vines that are climbing up the surrounding buildings, make this hidden gem a great place for a quiet escape from the busy city life.


  • Name: Empire Park
  • Address: 632 Commercial Street, San Francisco
  • Price: No entrance fee 
  • Opening hours: Open 24 hours

9. Transamerica Redwood Park

Unique park at Transamerica Pyramid Center
Source: Adriel Hampton

The Redwood Park, designed by Tom Galli, is a unique feature of the Transamerica Pyramid Center. The park is an impressing cluster of redwood trees hidden between the skyscrapers in the Financial District of San Francisco. The magnificent redwoods are transplanted from the mountains of Santa Cruz, this is also explaining the name of this hideaway. The oasis of evergreens, flowers and fountains – one of which is celebrating a famous story by Twain, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” – is a perfect place for a peaceful moment of rest or a picnic.


  • Name: Transamerica Redwood Park
  • Address: 600 Montgomery Street, San Francisco
  • Price: No entrance fee 
  • Opening hours: Monday-Friday from 7am-5.30pm
  • Website: www.pyramidcenter.com/point-of-interest/redwood-park/

10. Historic Gardens of Alcatraz

The Gardens of Alcatraz
Source: Jennifer Balaco

“With fertile soil and attentively picked plants, a garden can flourish anywhere, even on ‘the Rock’”. Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay has a delightful surprise for visitors who come to see the abandoned prison cells. They will also get to experience the ‘Rock’s’ gardens—flourishing plants, pools, birds, and wonderful views on the bay. Thanks to the cooperation of several local conservancies, the historic Gardens of Alcatraz have been restored and are now blooming with perfumed roses, fig trees, and colorful wild flowers.


  • Name: Historic Gardens of Alcatraz
  • Address: Pier 41, San Francisco
  • Price: There is no entrance fee, however there is a charge for the ferry to the island
  • Opening hours: The gardens are open for viewing all year round
  • Website: www.alcatrazgardens.org


These green spaces in San Francisco should be taken advantage of, no matter the time of the year. So, put on your walking shoes, and most importantly, grab your camera, as you are guaranteed to see some beautiful sights.

Have a good trip and travel!

Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends

North America, San Francisco County, State of California, U.S.A.