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 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
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
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