San Francisco Botanical Garden

The San Francisco Botanical Garden Is Truly an Oasis in the City

If you’re seeking a quiet, lovely place to indulge an introspective mood or your soul craves a riot of colors and lush greenery or you just love being surrounded by stunningly beautiful and professionally tended gardens, then the San Francisco Botanical Garden is the place for you. Located in Golden Gate Park, the Botanical Garden is actually 23 separate and quite distinct gardens spread out over 55 acres, with more than 8,000 plants from all over the world. Nowhere else in the world can your feet take you from the soaring majesty of a redwood grove to the hushed mists and grays of an Andean cloud forest to one of the world’s finest collection of magnolias over the course of a morning or afternoon.

Bay Area residents love visiting this special place every month of the year and watching the subtle changes from one season to the next. Visitors love the Botanical Garden because there are flowers blooming and a dizzying array of colors, textures and fragrances all year ‘round. Regular visitors are fond of using Alice in Wonderland analogies to describe the SFBG. These analogies are apt, as it is truly a place of wonder, and it is very easy to “go down the rabbit hole” and forget that this place is surrounded by one of the world’s great cities. Not only can you stroll through gardens of plants from all over the world, you can also stroll through time, with prehistoric gardens that feature towering ferns, huge flowering plants and the occasional dinosaur footprint. Some parts of the Garden even encourage visitors to touch and smell flowers, herbs and other greenery, providing even more material for analogy and metaphor.

The SFBG regularly hosts plant sales, weekly yoga sessions, Family Fundays on Sundays, gardening workshops led by professional and amateur horticulturists, moon walks through the Japanese Gardens when the moon reflects light down onto the plants and waterways and many other engaging activities. The SFBG is open at 9 a.m. every day of the year, with varying closing times in the late afternoons, depending on the season. Admission is free for San Francisco city and county residents and a very modest and affordable $7.00 for everyone else. Admission is free for everyone on the second Tuesday of each month, as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Some activities, such as the aforementioned Moon Walk, require an additional fee but include a guide and tea, cookies and other refreshments to chase the chill of San Francisco evenings.

You don’t have to be a gardener or plant lover to enjoy the San Francisco Botanical Garden, but those avocations will certainly enhance your appreciation of this civic gem. One caveat: parking anywhere near the Garden can be a trial on most days, so public transportation is strongly encouraged. So, if you’re looking for an enchanting place to recharge your perspective, leave your phone charging at home, and plug in at the San Francisco Botanical Garden instead. You won’t regret this decision for sure.