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Best Places To See Spring Flowers In San Francisco

Dahlia Garden, Conservatory of Flowers (credit: Randy Yagi)

Spring has finally arrived and radiantly colored flowers are "busting out all over" the Bay Area. While the East Bay has its own share of fascinating spots to see spring flowers, San Francisco also has plenty of places to enjoy the season. In the City by the Bay, there's no more obvious choice than Golden Gate Park, a wondrous urban park filled with breathtaking natural beauty and so large it surpasses the size of New York's Central Park by a resounding 20 percent. The following are five of the best places to see spring flowers in San Francisco, including one outside of the city's most prominent park.

Conservatory of Flowers (credit: Randy Yagi)

Conservatory Of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
100 John F. Kennedy Dr.
San Francisco, CA  94118
(415) 831-2090

Out of all the outstanding places to see flowers in San Francisco anytime of the year, the Conservatory of Flowers is simply the best. One of the city's most treasured landmarks, the Conservatory of Flowers is the oldest surviving structure in Golden Gate Park and is also the oldest public wood and glass conservatory in the entire Western Hemisphere. Springtime is a particularly good time to visit the Conservatory, with its nicely manicured flowerbeds greeting visitors outside the main entrance. Of special interest to first time visitors to the outdoor gardens are the famous flower clock and the delightful dahlia gardens. Both outside and within the Conservatory, flowers are cavalcade of colors, especially until late April or early May. In all, the Conservatory of Flowers maintains more than 1,700 species of plants from more than 50 countries from all over the world.

Japanese Tea Garden (credit: Randy Yagi)

Japanese Tea Garden
Golden Gate Park
75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.
San Francisco, CA  94102
(415) 752-1171

The single best time to visit the Japanese Tea Garden is in the springtime, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom through mid-April. It's also the time when the azaleas, magnolias and other flowers add brilliant colors to the traditional garden of Japanese maple trees, Monterey pine and cypresses, bonsai trees and other alluring evergreen trees. Established in the 1870s, the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco is the oldest public Japanese garden in the country and resides across five acres near the Spreckels Temple of Music. Visitors might also be interested in seeing the cherry blossoms in Japantown a few miles away, especially during the popular Cherry Blossom Festival, one of the largest of its kind in the country.

San Francisco Wildflowers (credit: Randy Yagi)

Presidio Of San Francisco
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
San Francisco, CA  94129
(415) 561-4323

The Presidio of San Francisco is arguably the finest spot to see the city's colorful wildflowers. Described as the remnants of a far more extensive coastal ecosystem, the wildflowers have grown in this area for tens of thousands of years, long before first Europeans arrived and well before the historic Presidio opened in 1776. In all, there are approximately 50 different species of wildflowers here, in a wide range of colors. The wildflower blooming season is expected to last through mid-May.

Rhododendron Dell
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA
John F. Kennedy Dr.
(415) 831-2700

Another lesser-known spot to see spring flowers in Golden Gate Park is no less important than its more prominent neighbors. Officially known as the John McLaren Memorial Rhododendron Dell, the tranquil, 20-acre space features more than 850 different species of the picturesque flowers. Rhododendron Dell also features a statue of John McClaren, the first superintendent of Golden Gate Park. Rhododendron Dell is located near the de Young Museum and the Music Concourse, bordering the intersection of John F. Kennedy Drive and Concourse Drive.

Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden (credit: Randy Yagi)

Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden
Golden Gate Park
1690 John F. Kennedy Dr.
San Francisco, CA  94121
(415) 813-1445

Many living in San Francisco are familiar with the two iconic Dutch windmills along the western border of Golden Gate Park. But not everyone knows about the tulip gardens that were created around the same time. Named after the longest reigning Dutch monarch, the tulip garden next to the older North Windmill, is best viewed during its blooming season through mid-April, when rows of dazzlingly colored tulips and other flora grace the quiet public gardens.

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on


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