It was love at first sight the first time I saw magnolias in full bloom. I was so stunned when I first saw these gorgeous, unique and huge flowers up close that they became an immediate favorite of mine, and now every January and February, I look forward to seeing my loves again! It’s no secret that I love flowers, but somehow, I discovered these magnificent magnolias only a couple years ago! And to think that there’s a garden FULL of them in my hometown of San Francisco! In this post, I’ll share with you the best places to find these amazing flowers in the Bay Area, including a garden with 200 of these spectacular trees! Magnolias are one of the most unique, most distinctive and most beautiful flowers in the world, an ancient flowering tree that’s beloved worldwide. Once you see them, you’ll understand why!
February 17, 2024 update – the magnolias are blooming at the SF Botanical Garden!
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When Do Magnolias Bloom?
Magnolias are among the handful of beautiful flowers that bloom in the Winter months. In the San Francisco Bay Area, they typically start blooming in January and may last until March, depending on the weather, with a peak typically in February. Most of these pictures were taken in February to early March.
The Best Place to See Magnolias in the Bay Area
By far, the best place to see these magnificent magnolias in the Bay Area is at the San Francisco Botanical Garden inside Golden Gate Park. If you live in or are visiting the San Francisco Bay Area between January and March, you can see 200 of these spectacular trees (including 63 species) at this amazing garden!
The magnolias in the garden come in pink, magenta and white, and range in size from the small white star magnolias to the large pink and magenta cup and saucer-type magnolias (Magnolia campbellii). They are all magnificent, but my favorite is the large Magnolia campbellii – what about you?
The trees are spread throughout the beautiful garden, joining other winter blooms such as camellias. What a delight they bring to the winter season in the city!
Many of these mature magnolia trees are large with flowers that are higher up, so make sure to bring a camera lens with a long focal length, preferably a macro lens. I bring my favorite Nikon 105mm macro lens with me every time – it’s perfect for these situations and it takes such amazing flower pictures! I have an entire post on the best lenses for flower photography if you’re interested.
The pictures in this post were all taken at the garden over the past couple of years.
By the way, if you love flowers as much as I do, you might be interested in my post on the Most Beautiful Flower Books – it’s one of my most popular posts!
About the San Francisco Botanical Garden
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is located inside Golden Gate Park, near the Japanese Tea Garden, de Young Museum, and the California Academy of Sciences. It has almost 9000 types of plants from all over the world in its 55-acres space and hosts many interesting events year-round.
Entrance is free for S.F. residents and garden members, and also for everyone between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m.! Otherwise, it’s $13 for adults from February to October ($7 for youth & seniors). More information on admissions and transit is available on their website here.
Other Places to Find Magnolias in the San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is definitely the treasure trove for magnolia blossoms! In addition to the many magnolia trees inside the garden, there are also trees throughout Golden Gate Park, including just outside the garden and next to the DeYoung Museum not too far away.
Magnolia trees can also be found in other Bay Area neighborhoods, although in smaller numbers of course. For example, I have noticed that there are also quite a few in my home city of Walnut Creek in the East Bay – around the Civic Park and Main Library areas, in the Kaiser Hospital courtyard, and in various neighborhood front yards. In addition, I have seen many beautiful magnolia trees in Berkeley residential neighborhoods. I’m always on the lookout for more!
California Flower Calendar
If you love flowers and gardens, you may be interested in my new California Flower Bloom Calendar post! Some of the flowers I cover include cherry blossoms, peach blossoms, poppy fields, wildflowers, roses and much more! 🌸
My YouTube Channel!
I’ve started a YouTube channel! If you love nature, flowers and gardens as much as I do, make sure to give me a follow there! 😊🌸🌿
Step Inside a Fairytale Rose Garden!
This secret rose garden is full of blooming roses, rose terraces, rose walls, rose pillars, and even a rose-covered gazebo straight out of a fairytale! 🌸
Thank you for stopping by my blog! I hope you found this post useful, and I hope you have a wonderful day!
Hi, I’m Pansy!
Hello, thanks for stopping by! I’m Pansy, California-based travel blogger, photographer and lover of ALL the pretty flowers! You may notice that most of my travels, photography & DIY center around flowers and nature! 🌸🌼🌿
I recently started a YouTube channel where I feature beautiful gardens, parks & flower fields! Make sure to follow me there if you love flowers & gardens! 😊