4 Reasons to Visit Yerba Buena Gardens | San Francisco Travel
Yerba Buena Gardens Overlooik

4 Reasons
to Visit Yerba Buena Gardens

Find tranquility amid the landscaped lawns, serene waterfalls, and vibrant gardens at the cultural heart of San Francisco.

Lush floral displays, inspiring scenery and plenty of room to roam — Yerba Buena Gardens is a serene oasis in the center of San Francisco’s bustling South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood. The gardens are home to inclusive, family-friendly events, museums, art displays and, of course, lots of beautiful flowers.

Here are four of the many reasons you should visit Yerba Buena Gardens during your vacation in San Francisco.

Gardens Galore

From butterfly gardens and fragrant wisteria to majestic redwoods, magnolias and crepe myrtles, Yerba Buena Gardens was designed to reflect the diverse flora of Northern California. The 5-acre Main Lawn is surrounded by flowers and public art, providing the perfect atmosphere for a midday picnic. The nearby Reflection Garden, a tribute to the Ramaytush Ohlone people, is shaped around a semicircular wooden wall patterned with Ohlone basket designs and invites visitors to relax, reflect and enjoy their natural surroundings.



Yerba Buena Fall Colors

Fun for All Ages & Abilities

The rooftop Children’s Garden is a one-of-a-kind urban playground just steps from the many museums, restaurants and shops of downtown San Francisco. The area features a child-size labyrinth, jungle gym and climbing wall, plus an outdoor amphitheater. There’s also a sensory garden for children with autism and other sensory-supportive needs.


Another key attraction for kids (and kids at heart) is the newly renovated LeRoy King Carousel, whose jewel-studded horses and accordion-style music will transport you back to the early 1900s when the carousel was originally built. Tickets are free for children 2 and under, and $5 for all other riders. After a spin or two on the carousel, be sure to visit the Children’s Creativity Museum, which will keep kids busy with interactive exhibits. At the Yerba Buena Ice Skating & Bowling Center, public skating is available nearly every day, while the bowling alley is open Wednesday–Sunday; both can also be rented for private events and lessons. 


Yerba Buena Gardens also features wheelchair-accessible entrances, plus ADA-compliant restrooms, ramps and elevators to the park’s upper-level experiences, including the inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.


Yerba Buena Gardens Playground

Creative Connection

Art enthusiasts have much to explore at Yerba Buena Gardens, where vibrant murals, statues and other whimsical works tell diverse community stories. Some of the garden’s most notable displays include “Urge to Stand,” a kinetic bronze sculpture by Chico MacMurtrie located near the Children’s Creativity Museum entrance; “Deep Gradient/Suspect Terrain,” John Roloff’s 18-foot masterpiece that towers over the East Garden terrace; and the new murals along 4th Street, which highlight the important work of Filipino artists living in San Francisco. Explore more public art at Yerba Buena Gardens.

Yerba Buena Gardens Mural

Free Events & Concerts

The gardens host a variety of free programs throughout the year, like the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, which runs from May to October. Several times a week, performances take place around the gardens, including concerts, kid-friendly dance-alongs, poetry slams, circus shows and more. View the full calendar of events here.


Discover more reasons to visit Yerba Buena Gardens


Yerba Buena Gardens Stage
Fisher Collection

Discover More in Yerba Buena

The Yerba Buena Cultural District is home to some of the most acclaimed museums in the world, including SFMOMA, the Museum of the African Diaspora, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

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