Located in the Berkeley Hills, the UC Botanical Garden overlooks the San Francisco Bay and contains more than 12,000 species of plants ranging from exotic flowers to towering redwoods. With its winding walking paths, varied plant collections, and scenic views, the garden is an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Berkeley and San Francisco.
Stroll through the 34-acre (18-hectare) garden and admire plants from Asia, Australia, Mexico, Africa, and other locations across the world. Plants here are organized by region, and the California native plants section is a visitor favorite due to its massive redwood trees. Other highlights include the conservatory, which houses tropical plants, and a Chinese herb garden full of interesting medicinal species.
A Go San Francisco Card includes free entrance to the University of California (UC) Botanical Garden along with other attractions such as the California Academy of Sciences and Exploratorium. The garden offers free (with paid admission) docent-led tours Thursday through Sunday and on the first Wednesday of the month.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley is a must-see for nature lovers.
- Visitor facilities include restrooms, a gift shop, and a plant deck.
- Parking is available across the street from the main entrance. The parking lot contains two handicap-accessible spots.
- Much of the garden is accessible to wheelchairs, though some paths may be difficult to navigate.
- With the exception of trained service dogs, pets are not allowed in the garden.
How to Get There
The UC Botanical Garden is located on 200 Centennial Drive, roughly 15 minutes from downtown Berkeley and 45 minutes from San Francisco by road. On weekdays, the university offers a shuttle to the garden from the UC Berkeley campus.
When to Get There
You can visit the botanical garden year-round, with the exception of major holidays and the first Tuesday of each month. Admission is free on the first Wednesday of each month. Summer is a good time to visit, when university students are gone for the summer and the weather is typically warm and sunny.
Must-See Attractions at the UC Botanical Garden
As you explore the garden’s many sections, make sure to visit the orchid, fern, and carnivorous plant house; the Garden of Old Roses; and the sections dedicated to South America, the American Desert, the Mediterranean, and other interesting regions.