At the end of our epic coastal walk, after visiting Baker Beach, we find the bus at the entrance to Golden Gate Bridge and head back to San Francisco Botanical Garden, one of the most elaborate and diverse gardens in the world.
San Francisco Botanical Garden is located in Golden Gate Park, near the corner of Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way. There are two entrances. the Main Gate near Ninth Avenue, just inside the Park, and the North Gate on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, just steps from the Japanese Tea Garden, de Young Museum, and California Academy of Sciences.
San Francisco Botanical Gardens
The grounds are separated into climate regions, there is a Chilean cloud forest, Japanese redwood forest, desert plants, succulents, a fragrance garden and loads more. Serene and peaceful, there are plenty of places to immerse yourself in a fantastic array of plants, soak up the diversity of nature. A perfect place to drift off and clear your mind of the hustle and bustle of the city.
To get the best out of your visit I would recommend taking a picnic and allowing plenty of time to look around the various different areas.
The San Francisco Botanical Garden has so many different sections with plants from all over the world. There are so many side paths and “secret” places that we ran out of time and had to skip some sections.
It’s free to get in between 7.30am and 9am. Use the Main Gate for early entry. It is also free to enter all day on the second Tuesday of each month. At other times, the regular $9 entrance fee is totally worth it.
We arrived late in the day and only had a couple of hours before the park closed, which is only just enough time to explore 55 acres of lush gardens. Consequently, if we were to go again, it would be in the morning.
February is a great time to visit the garden for the annual blooming of magnolias. With over 100 magnolia trees the scenes are breathtaking. Many rare and historic trees reaching up to 80ft are in full flower, with dazzling white, pink and magenta flowers filling the gardens with dramatic colour and sweet fragrance.
‘San Francisco Botanical Garden is home to the most significant magnolia collection for conservation purposes outside China, where the majority of species originated. Its current collection includes 51 species and 33 cultivars including many prized examples from Asia.’
We were given a free Magnolia Highlights Map at the visitor kiosk to help us find and identify the highlights of the collection.