UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley


With 34 acres and more than 10,000 types of plants, this garden in the hills above campus has one of the most varied collections in the USA. Flora from every continent except Antarctica are lovingly tended here, with special emphasis on Mediterranean species that grow in California, the Americas, the Mediterranean and southern Africa.

On weekdays, catch the university's Bear Transit H Line shuttle ($1) from campus. Limited parking across the street from the garden costs $1 per hour.

A nearby fire trail makes a woodsy walking loop around Strawberry Canyon, offering great views of town and the off-limits Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Find the trailhead on the east side of Centennial Dr just southwest of the botanical garden; you’ll emerge near the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Berkeley attractions

1. Lawrence Hall of Science

0.53 MILES

Near Grizzly Peak Blvd, this science hall is named after Ernest Lawrence, who won the Nobel Prize for his invention of the cyclotron particle accelerator…

3. Campanile

1.05 MILES

Officially called Sather Tower, the Campanile was modeled on St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. The 307ft spire offers fine views of the Bay Area, and at the…

4. Bancroft Library


The Bancroft houses, among other gems, the papers of Mark Twain, a copy of Shakespeare’s folios and a diary from the Donner Party. Its small public…

5. First Church of Christ, Scientist

1.12 MILES

Bernard Maybeck’s impressive 1910 church uses concrete and wood in its blend of arts-and-crafts, Asian and Gothic influences. Maybeck was a professor of…

6. University of California, Berkeley

1.16 MILES

'Cal' is one of the country's top universities, California's oldest university (1866), and home to 40,000 diverse, politically conscious students. Next to…

7. Sather Gate

1.16 MILES

The frenetic energy buzzing from the university’s Sather Gate on any given day is a mixture of youthful posthippies reminiscing about days before their…

8. People’s Park

1.17 MILES

This park, just east of Telegraph Ave, is a marker in local history as a political battleground between residents and the city and state government in the…