Beauty in Bloom

With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, spring is the perfect time to explore the natural beauty in our backyard. San Diego is home to a varied collection of botanical gardens, bringing together native plant life with blooms from around the world. From orchids and butterflies to cacti and succulents, our local botanical gardens have a special something to share with everyone in the family.

Formerly known as the Quail Botanical Gardens, the San Diego Botanic Garden has been a colorful fixture in Encinitas for over 50 years. The sprawling garden features trees, flowers, and other plants from all over the world. Visitors can journey from the dragon tree grove of the Canary Islands to the cork oak trees and irises of the Mediterranean – or learn more about local history along the Native Plants and Native People Trail. Kids will enjoy the Hamilton Children’s Garden with a mountain stream, elephant foot tree forest, and tree house to explore. Nearby is the Bird and Butterfly garden, filled with flowers planted especially to attract our feathered and fluttering friends.


Visit the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens to experience a unique blend of art and nature. With the goal to “Bring Together People, Nature, and Art,” the gardens showcase a stunning range of international and local plants as well as unique artistic pieces integrated into the garden layout. Alta Vista Botanical Gardens accepts artwork on a consignment basis, including sculptures, walkways, and walls created by talented local artisans. The site also features the California Natives Garden, Children’s Garden, and Antique Rose Collection along with a variety of culinary and medicinal herbs.

One of San Diego’s best-preserved cultural landmarks also hosts many of the city’s horticultural treasures. Balboa Park is home to over a dozen beautiful gardens, including the Casa del Rey Moro Garden, the Children’s Ethnobotany Garden, the Japanese Friendship Garden, and the Rose Garden. And overlooking the Lily Pond and Lagoon is the park’s iconic Botanical Building. The impressive lathwork structure – one of the largest of its kind – houses over 2,000 cycads, ferns, orchids, and more. A touch-and-smell garden lets visitors interact more closely with chocolate mint, lemon mint, and other unusually aromatic plants. Be sure to point out the carnivorous pitcher plants and Venus fly traps to the kids!

Alta Vista Gardens

Botanical Building

Palomar College Arboretum

San Diego Botanic Garden

San Diego Zoo

South Bay Botanic Garden

The Water Conservation Garden