From well-trimmed bushes at botanical gardens to untamed wildflowers off the beaten hiker’s path, there’s a place for everyone to enjoy the splendor of nature in full bloom. Check out this list of the Bay Area’s best places to stop and smell the flowers this spring.
Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve
Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve
Just a hop, skip, and drive away from San Francisco, the Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve makes an easy day trip and an excuse to head south on the peninsula. Boasting ‘lush wildflower carpets’, the park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon getting lost in the many trails that weave through its grasslands. They also kicked off their annual wildflower walk program, which occurs every weekend through June. It’s a great way to get in a three-mile hike whilst getting educated on the flowers around you.
Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve, 10 Old Stage Coach Road, Redwood City, CA, USA, (650) 368-6283
Berkeley Municipal Rose Garden
Everything’s coming up roses at the Berkeley Rose Garden. Boasting an amphitheater of roses, this landmark is the only place in the Bay Area where you can be serenaded by these long stemmed beauties. Enjoy a picnic in your own secret garden with picturesque rose bushes at every turn, their sweet fragrance hanging in the air like nature’s finest perfume. Roses may be red, but this garden also has pink, yellow, white and every hue in between — take your pick.
Berkeley Municipal Rose Garden, 1200 Euclid Avenue, Berkeley, CA, USA, (510) 981-6660
Sunol Regional Wilderness
With over 6,000 acres of endless landscape and even free-roaming cattle, the Sunol Regional Wilderness is about as wild you can get without driving down to Yosemite. Spend a day hiking and swimming, and then sleep under the stars at the end of the night. Of course, this park also has a festival dedicated to its spring wild flowers. On April 9, embrace your inner wild flower-child with a day of hikes, crafts and nature activities.
Sunol Regional Wilderness, 1895 Geary Road, Sunol, CA, USA, (510) 544-3249
Macy’s Flower Show
Even roses grow in the concrete jungle, and then some. For those less inclined to the outdoors, Macy’s at Union Square has your answer. Take a break from shopping and indulge in some flower therapy at their legendary annual flower show, happening now until April 3rd. The flagship store is transformed into a stunning presentation that truly represents America the Beautiful. With geographical themed installations such as the Pacific Northwest Wonderland and Enchanting Southeast, no corner of our country’s flora is left out.
Macy’s Union Square, 170 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, (415) 397-3333
Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden
With a towering Dutch windmill and the chilling sea breeze from Ocean Beach just yards away, you won’t believe it until you see with your own two eyes the sight of a colorful garden of tulips. Grown in clusters of red, pink, orange and yellow, the blooming tulips at Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden are a popular attraction at Golden Gate Park. The simple cheery tulip has come to symbolize love, making it a flower often favored over roses. But hurry, tulip mania won’t last long, and many of the bulbs will wither by May.
Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden, 1690 John F Kennedy Drive, San Francisco, CA, USA, (415) 813-1445
San Francisco Botanical Garden
From the Tulip Garden, take a stroll through Golden Gate Park and head deeper east. When you pass by Stow Lake, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is just right over yonder. Their Walk on the WILD Flower Side — a monthly educational guided tour of the seasonal flowers in the garden — kicks off in April, with ‘Spring’s Best.’
San Francisco Botanical Garden, 1199 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA, USA, (415) 661-1316
Chimney Rock Trail
Even if you’re not into historical lighthouses, there’s still a reason to head to Point Reyes National Seashore. Opposite the lighthouse to the east is the Chimney Rock Trail. Although barren during winter, the trail comes alive with lush green hills and nature lovers alike. Hike amongst endless fields of flowers, home to many California natives such as California buttercups and California poppies. As if the sweeping grasslands aren’t beautiful enough, the panoramic views of ocean waves crashing against the bluffs will take your breath away.
Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Information Center, 27000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, CA, USA, (415) 669-1534
Conservatory of Flowers
Although rare and exotic flowers bloom here all year round, a visit to the exquisite Conservatory of Flowers is still a must. Along with its regular floral displays, the conservatory often hosts special exhibits as well. Magnificent highland tropical flowers and splendid aquatic plants come alive under the glass domes. Even if you’re not a horticulture geek, the exceptionally beautiful Victorian architecture is enough to lure you in for a delightful afternoon.
Conservatory of Flowers, 100 John F Kennedy Drive, San Francisco, CA, USA, (415) 831-2090
Mitchell Canyon Nature Trail
With names like Grand Hound’s Tongue, Bear Brush, and Mosquito-bills, it sounds like the beginnings of an evil witch’s concoction. Actually, these are just some of the wildflowers blooming at Mount Diablo State Park. Home to the famous mountain bearing the same name, you needn’t worry about summiting all 3,839 feet of it just to enjoy nature’s blooms. The easy four-mile hike on Mitchell Canyon Nature Trail only has a 500-foot elevation gain, so you’ll be able to smell the wildflowers without the shortness of breath.
Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center, Mount Diablo State Park, 96 Mitchell Canyon Road, Clayton, CA, USA, (925) 837-2525
Whether or not Lombard Street is the ‘crookedest street in the world’, it still remains to be one of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco. In the springtime, the flowerbeds are awash with colorful blooms, giving it that postcard perfect look. Driving down this street is an experience in itself, but to fully stop and smell the flowers, one must explore it by foot. Snap a selfie on Leavenworth Street looking up at Lombard before attempting to climb the 250 steps. Remember to pause and enjoy the neatly manicured gardens up close.
Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA, USA