15 Best Urban Botanical Gardens in the United States

Botanical gardens, also known as botanic gardens are typically open year round. However, did you know that most botanical gardens are in urban cities all across the United States? Flora and fauna, these public gardens are where beautiful horticultural landscapes meet cityscapes. And they are just waiting for you to smell their bloomers!

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What is a Botanical Garden?

A botanical garden is a live pictorial dictionary and display of plants; each labeled with their botanical names.

These beautiful botanical urban gardens function as an aesthetic and educational display for public enjoyment as well as the board room for scientific research.

Also known as botanic gardens, these public gardens are a collection of living plants illustrated in plant groups. Not to be confused with Arboretums which are collections of wooded plants such as trees and shrubs.

There are, depending on criteria noted, over 1000 botanical gardens peppered throughout the United States. And in those, over 600,000 living plant species are recorded.

Why are Botanical Gardens so important?

Botanical Gardens are necessary for studying the conservation of plants. But, they are equally important to creating a place to enjoy fresh air, natural wonder and solitude.

The many mysteries in the veins of every leaf and petal of every flower holds a special place for everyone who visits.

And who doesn’t love flora and foliage? Flowers and plants are the very living entity that helps clean the air for us to breath while providing habitats and food for wildlife, insects and arachnids.

But guess what?

You don’t have to drive for hours out into the country to see all of these amazing intriguing environments!

In this article, we’ve concentrated our efforts in showing you 12 urban botanical gardens in the United States.

So, pack your sightseeing bag, grab your camera and put on your comfortable walking shoes because we’re going show you some of America’s most beautiful urban botanical gardens!

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15 Best Botanical Gardens in the United States

Northeast Region Botanical Gardens in the United States

1) Boston Public Garden

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ADDRESS:  4 Charles Street  Boston, MA 02116

The Boston Public Garden was America’s first public botanical garden dating back to the 1830’s. So, its no wonder it’s made it’s way into the National Historic Landmark register.

The Boston Public Garden, also known as Public Garden, is a 24 acre completely outdoor park in the hub of Boston, Massachusetts, adjacent to Boston Common.

Having been there ourselves as young adults, it’s one of our favorite places. There’s nothing more exciting than the day they put the swan boats on the pond and meandering about the lagoon, fountains, unique plants and flowers.

But you can’t miss taking the kids (of all ages!) to see the Make Way for Ducklings.

The Boston Public Garden is a wonderful place for families to take a picnic and enjoy this open air free park in the middle of Beantown.

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2) Elizabeth Park Conservancy

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Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Park Conservancy
ADDRESS: 1561 Asylum Avenue  West Hartford, CT 06117
ADMISSION:  FREE – Donations Appreciated

Driving south from Boston to West Hartford, Connecticut will bring you to Elizabeth Park Conservancy.

This botanical garden is the first municipal rose garden in the United States and the third largest rose garden in the country today.

Over 100 acres of green space, it’s noted as the first municipal rose garden in the Country. Beautiful Rambler Roses veiling the park gazebo, 800 varieties of flowers.

And with its’ over 15,000 rose bushes, it makes the perfect place to get down on one knee to proclaim one’s love for another. After all, roses are the flower of love.

East Coast Region Botanical Gardens in the United States

4) United States Botanic Garden

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Photo courtesy of U.S. Botanic Garden
ADDRESS:  100 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20001

It’s no surprise that Washington D.C. makes it to our top twelve list of botanical gardens.

The United States Botanic Garden also known as The National Garden will allure you through every indoor and outdoor garden on the premises. Established in 1820 by Congress, the National Garden was originally brought about by George Washington earlier. 

Only a short walk from the Capitol Dome, each of the gardens have great significance. You certainly will want to visit them all; The Rose Garden, Butterfly Garden and Ladies Water Garden just to name a few.

It also has an Amphitheater, used as an outdoor gathering place for educational programs. It also provides a spectacular view of the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory and the U.S. Capitol dome.

Midwest Region Botanical Gardens in the United States

8) Garfield Park Conservatory

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ADDRESS: 300 N Central Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60624
ADMISSION: FREE – Donations are appreciated

If your travels take you to the Windy City, be sure to visit the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Despite being in the middle of Chicago, this 10-acre urban botanical garden has a stately indoor conservatory.

Once you enter, you’ll be drawn into its’ colossal sized tropical garden with palms and tropical plants. And then, you’ll wander into the desert house of a great variety of succulents and cacti.

Garfield Park Conservatory boasts itself as being one of the elaborate and largest conservatories in the world!

Often referred to as landscape art under glass, it includes cold frames and propagating where thousands of plants are grown each year for displays all over.

One of the best parts is this urban botanical garden has free admission and free parking! They also have bicycle  racks and a Divvy bike station on the premises.

9) Missouri Botanical Garden

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ADDRESS: 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110
ADMISSION: General $14 per person

The Missouri Botanical Garden located in the heart of St. Louis, is one of the most popular urban gardens in the United States.

Its’ almost 80 plus acres of beautiful gardens, exhibits, displays, and historic landmarks, it’s no wonder it’s been named one of the Travel Channels America’s Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens.

It includes a 14-acre Japanese garden, a Floral Display Hall that is home to an annual rare orchid show. It also hosts the historic 1850 estate of garden founder Henry Shaw.

Open year round, the top attractions at the Missouri Botanical Gardens are Climatron, Japanese Garden, Linnean House, Sachs Museum and the Children’s Garden. 

They also offer tram tours around the grounds for an additional $5 each visitor.

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Southern Region Botanical Gardens in the United States

10) Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

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ADDRESS: 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218
ADMISSION: Adult 13-64 $17; Seniors 65+ $14; Children 2-12 $12; Children’s Adventure Garden $3 each; Parking $15. Discounts offered during off season.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in east Texas spreads over 66 acres. It’s no wonder their gardens were voted one of Southern Living Magazine’s  South’s Best Botanical Gardens in 2017.

The most popular gardens to visit are the Woman’s Garden, Jonssons Color Garden, and the stunning Trial Garden.

While all of the gardens are incredibly amazing, the Trial Garden features 3,000 to 5,000 new plants annually. The Trial Garden has planted and researched more than 1.4 million plants.

The Woman’s Garden includes various sculptures, infinity pool with flowers and fountains while the Jonssons Color Garden is 6.5-acres of large, sweeping beds of seasonal flowers and plants.

Bring your picnic blanket and cooler as the beautiful lush green lawns are perfect to enjoy lunch and relax.

Rocky Mountain Region Botanical Gardens in the United States

11) Denver Botanic Gardens

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ADDRESS: 1007 York Street. Denver, CO 80206
ADMISSION:  Adults $15; Seniors (65+) & Military (w/ID) $11.50; Children (3-15) & Students (w/ID) $11;  Children -2 FREE

Denver Botanic Garden is a living museum that showcases plants of the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains Region, a semi-arid, steppe climate on it’s 24 acres.

The staff and Botanists exhaustively record and register every plant from seed to compost; capturing every stage of their life cycle.

It’s also known for its Gardens of the West, which highlight plants native to Colorado. You’ll find a vast variety of drought-tolerant plants, succulents, alpines, and sturdy ornamental grasses.

But in the winter, Denver botanic Garden doesn’t close their doors for the winter season. The gardens take on new life by featuring award winning Dale Chihuly’s tempered glass sculptures, which become the primary attractions on snowy days.

Also in the winter, the gardens host their annual Blossoms of Light holiday light show. 

West Coast Region Botanical Gardens in the United States

14) San Francisco Botanical Garden

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ADDRESS:  1199 9th Ave   San Francisco, CA, 94122
ADMISSION:  Adults – Weekend $12; Adults $9; Youth (12-17) & Seniors (65+) $7; Children ( 5-11) $3; Toddler (Ages 4 and under) FREE.   Families – 2 adults & all children under 17 residing in the same household $21

Escape to a unique urban oasis of extraordinary beauty at San Francisco Botanical Garden, showcasing more than 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world.

Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park at Strybing Arboretum, this 55 acre natural wonder showcases high elevation palms, conifers, and cloud forest species from Central America, South America and Southeast Asia.

But, the star of the show are the Magnolias; one of the most significant conservation bloom collections in the United States.

From January to March, the 200-plus Magnolia trees are at their prime. There are 63 different species, many of which are uniquely rare or historic.

Lastly, before leaving for your botanical garden adventure, we highly recommend brushing up on your photography skills by reviewing our Smartphone Photography Tips for Beginners.

Also, check out iPhone Photography School’s 10 Tips for Taking Sunning iPhone Photos of Flowers.

Here’s a great video to obtain beautiful close up shots of flowers:

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