These Are The Best Rooftop Gardens In The US

Lush garden | © eeems/Flickr
Lush garden | © eeems/Flickr
Photo of AJ Earley
9 February 2017

America is well-known for its glorious wilderness, its beautiful, thriving cities, and its eclectic culture. One thing this country may not be so well-known for is rooftop gardens. If you enjoy lush, natural surroundings and breathtaking views all at once, you don’t necessarily have to climb a mountain. There are a few places right in the heart of America’s big cities where you can get your fix – here’s our selection of the best.

Gallow Green, McKittrick Hotel, Chelsea, New York

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Patisserie, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
Gallow Green
Gallow Green | Courtesy of the McKittrick Hotel
Gallow Green is a rooftop restaurant and lounge above the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea. It is famous for its boozy brunches, and is rumored to have some very unique cocktails. Gallow Green also made the list of most incredible rooftop gardens in New York. The garden itself grows all around patrons: sprouting from pots large and small, and climbing arbors and ballasts to embrace diners. You can’t help but feel as though you’ve stumbled into a bit of an enchanted forest when you first step foot on this roof. The amazing views and stellar food will make it difficult to leave, and you are warned to plan ahead if you’d like to enjoy the live music and boozy brunch. Reservations can be made at the number below.

Fourth and Madison Building, Seattle, Washington

Map View
4th and Madison Public Space
4th and Madison Public Space | © SounderBruce/Flickr
The garden atop the Fourth and Madison Building is one of Seattle’s best kept secrets. Even the majority of locals are unaware of this hidden rooftop gem, which wraps around three sides of the building. The rooftop plaza is open to the public the same hours the building is open, and is an ideal retreat as there is even WiFi. The building itself is 40 stories high, but no need to avoid this space if you’re afraid of heights. Just take the elevator to the seventh floor and you’ll enter a rooftop oasis that isn’t too terribly far from the ground. There are plenty of paths to meander and places to sit, and you’ll get to enjoy different types of foliage at different times of year. This space is definitely worth your time if you’re in the Seattle area.

Kaiser Roof Garden, Oakland, California

The Kaiser Center in Oakland has a three-acre roof garden that was actually the world’s largest roof garden when it opened in 1960. The garden is actually considered a public park, even though it is privately owned and maintained. There are 42 different types of trees, camellias, roses, and several other varieties of shrubs and bushes strewn about, along with a lovely pond and fountain. You can reach the garden by pressing the ‘RG’ button on the elevator from the building’s parking garage. During the summer and early fall, there are free concerts held on the roof every Friday afternoon. The Kaiser Roof Garden is undoubtedly one of Oakland’s proudest treasures.

Kaiser Center, 300 Lakeside Dr #206, Oakland, CA, USA, +1 510 271 6100

The Crocker Galleria, San Francisco, California

The Crocker Galleria in San Francisco has two rooftop gardens that are both open the same hours the building is open for business. The first one can be accessed from the lobby of the Well’s Fargo Building, and the second is a flight of stairs up from the galleria itself. The intricately trimmed shrubbery, beautiful flowers, and peaceful, green scenery are all complimented by beautiful sculptures. It’s a great space to enjoy a late lunch or morning meander. These two wonders even made the list of the five best secret rooftop gardens in San Francisco. If you’re in San Francisco, you won’t be sorry that you visited the Crocker Galleria Terraces.

Crocker Galleria, 50 Post St, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 393 1500

The World Wildlife Fund Corporate Rooftop Garden, Washington DC

It’s not surprising that a nonprofit like The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is making green strides, and one of them is a green rooftop at their headquarters in Washington, DC. A few interesting facts: 83% of the roof is covered in plants (there are 53,568 in total,) there are eleven types of sedum plants whose water-storing capabilities alleviate the need for irrigation, and the garden has a life expectancy twice as long as the average commercial roof garden. Way to be green, WWF. The garden itself is reminiscent of a high desert area, though it is still beautiful. There are several varieties of flowering plants alongside more leafy greens and succulents. There are winding pathways along the roof so anyone can enjoy the peace and quiet.

WWF Headquarters, 1250 24th St NW, Washington, DC, USA, +1 202 293 4800

Bonus: Rockefeller Rooftop Gardens, New York, New York

The stunning gardens atop the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan are an added bonus to this list. This is partially because they are rarely open to the public (though you can book them for private events… lavish wedding, anyone?), though it’s mostly because this is where Spider-Man saved Mary Jane in the 2002 film. If you ever get a chance to infiltrate this well-guarded rooftop refuge, definitely don’t pass it up.

Rockefeller Center, 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 332 6868

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"