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The San Francisco Botanical Garden

The Biodiversity of the World at Your Fingertips


The San Francisco Botanical Garden
Image Courtesy of the San Francisco Botanical Garden
Not only botanists but anyone who loves lushly landscaped green-spaces with plenty of strategically placed benches will love San Francisco's Botanical Garden. With over 55 acres of meticulously cared for plant species from every corner of the globe, organized by geographical location, the garden is both a fascinating educational journey into the vegetable world and a relaxing verdant oasis in the middle of the west coast's most densely populated metropolis. A variety of public programs, including art classes and gardening workshops happen with frequency as well, although impromptu picnics are even more common.

Visiting the San Francisco Botanical Garden

The San Francisco Botanical Gardens are located in Golden Gate Park, just west of the California Academy of Sciences and the Japanese Tea Gardens, and just east of Stowe Lake.

The Botanical Garden is easily accessible from downtown San Francisco on public transit by taking the N Judah Muni Metro train and getting off at 9th and Irving and walking a block north to the park. The entrance to the Botanical Garden is just inside the park entrance on 9th.

  • Address: 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way, San Francisco
  • Hours: Summer: 9am till 6pm, Spring and Fall: 9am till 5pm, Winter: 9am till 4pm
  • Admission: Adults $7; Youth, Seniors and Students $5, Children $3
  • Contact: (415) 661-1316 www.sfbotanicalgarden.org

Exploring the San Francisco Botanical Garden

With over 8000 plant species from around the world and dozens of twisting footpaths in ever direction, the Botanical Garden may seem overwhelming at first glance. But the plant collections are well organized into specific geographical niches and the paths are lined with informational placards.

A Full Color Map of the Botanical Gardens

Besides the botanical collections there is also a wide great meadow and fountain plaza, perfect for alfresco lunches and a large waterfowl pond, which is home to turtles as well as several species of birds.

Tours of the San Francisco Botanical Garden

There are free guided tours of the San Francisco Botanical Garden every day of the year at 1:30pm from the main entrance gate. During the spring and summer high tourist season there are also free guided tours from the north gate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm.

A free bird walk also takes place on the first Sunday of each month, meeting at 8am at the main entrance to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.

Private and group tours are also available with prior arrangement by calling (415) 661-1316.

Educational Programs at the Botanical Garden

From night-time astronomy programs to flower sketching classes, children's storytime in the garden to treasure hunts for the whole family, there are tons of fun and educational events happening at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Check the current calendar for upcoming events and programs.

The Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture

The largest horticultural library in Northern California, this resource center houses almost 300,000 books and over 350 magazines dedicated to gardening and botany. The library also serves as a gallery and exhibition space, with artwork - usually botanically themed - on display for the public. Thos looking for a particular hard-to-find book can search the library's online catalog before coming in.

The Botanical Garden Bookstore

Books, calendars, posters and other gifts are all for sale at the San Francisco Botanical Garden Bookstore, which is open from 10am to 4pm daily.

Plant Sales at the San Francisco Botanical Garden

A plant nursery is located right next to the San Francisco Botanical Garden Bookstore, where seasonal plants are sold to the public. Many of these plants are propagated from the exhibit gardens themselves, meaning that the selection is truly global.
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