When visiting a new city, or simply exploring your own, the local botanic gardens can offer so much. Whether you’re looking for an educational experience, a romantic setting for a picnic, a break from the urban jungle, or a place to practice your photography skills—these botanic gardens around the world are at the top of our list.
In the summertime, the Gardens’ sunken amphitheater is one of the best places to enjoy a concert. Surrounded by flowers and greenery, the stage has hosted such artists as Colbie Caillat, Al Green, David Byrne, Emmylou Harris, and more. And in the winter (or any time of year), the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory is a lush and humid haven where you can escape the dry mountain air for a bit. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported into a rainforest with tropical plants growing sky high.
Explore the three distinct zones of the Princess of Wales Conservatory glasshouse—one housing carnivorous plants like Venus flytraps, another with succulents and cactuses, and a third that is humid and tropical enough to grow the world’s largest water lilies. The gardens also feature an arboretum with 14,000 trees, including giant redwoods and black locusts dating to the 18th century.
Desert Botanical Garden — Phoenix, Arizona
Though it might not look like what you picture when you think of botanic gardens, the unique 140-acre Desert Botanical Garden is nestled into the dusty red rocks of the Papago Buttes outside of Phoenix—making for a striking backdrop. The garden has more than 50,000 arid plants and 4,482 species in its unique collection. Of those, 379 species are rare and endangered.
Explore the property’s serene Desert Wildflower Loop to see hummingbirds darting from cactus to cactus. Flashlight tours and cooking classes using local plants are other popular activities here.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens — New Zealand
Founded in 1863 with the planting of a single English Oak tree, the 52-acre Christchurch Botanic Gardens features a collection of ferns and plants native to New Zealand, hundreds of heritage rose species, a Victorian winter garden, a medicinal and culinary herb garden, and many open and wooded spaces perfect for strolling, reading, meditating, picnicking, and more.
A unique way to view the gardens is by boat: Take a Punting tour in a flat-bottomed boat as you float along the Avon River which goes right through the gardens.
Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore
One of the city’s most popular attractions, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the first and only tropical botanic garden on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The 183-acre property features an Evolution Garden, a Ginger Garden, numerous cafes, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and its own rainforest.
A definite highlight is the National Orchid Garden boasting more than 20,000 delicate orchid plants. A beloved hangout is Symphony Lake, featuring a stage on the lake’s islet, that hosts incredible orchestra performances. And kids will love the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden where they can play and learn about plant life.