Golden Gate Park & San Francisco Botanical Gardens

Jessica and I visited San Francisco this weekend to celebrate our anniversary. Immediately we fell in love with this place.

This city boasts beautiful architecture, a vibrant community that absorbs the tourists and contains some of the best cuisine and shopping on the West Coast.

On the second day we rented bikes and Jessica navigated us through the park, down Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to the Pacific Ocean. It’s vast, wild, and windy with large crashing waves hitting the shores. Golden Gate Park is over 1,000 acres (a touch larger than Stanley Park) and is long and narrow running east to west through the west side of the city.

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The park contains numerous winding bike paths that take you on a unique journey as you make your way through the park. Inside Golden Gate Park you’ll find a Japanese teahouse and garden, a massive glass greenhouse containing 2,000 species of flowers, a large children’s playground (the first ever built in the United States), two restaurants, an island to paddle boat around, and endless open spaces to use for outdoor activities.  We happened to stumble upon a university tournament of California kickball, complete with Halloween costumes!

Being “planties”, we were most excited to investigate the San Francisco Botanical Garden. It hosts over 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world. The climate in San Francisco reminds me of my recent trip to New Zealand where its warm enough to grow tropical plants yet cool and wet allowing them to grow many of the plants that also thrive in Vancouver.

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The garden contains the best collection of flowering Magnolia’s outside of Asia and is known for it’s high elevation tropical “cloud forest” which contains many mature species of plants from Central/South America and Southeast Asia.

Every park has a unique flavor balancing functional and natural spaces for its citizens to enjoy. If you haven’t been to San Francisco or the Golden Gate Park before I highly recommend it for an exciting long weekend away!

– Ryan