5 gorgeous gardens to visit in San Diego

San Diego Botanic Garden

The South Africa Garden at the San Diego Botanic Garden. | Photo via San Diego Botanic Garden

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‘Tis the season of beautiful blooms + gorgeous gardens — and San Diego has plenty of both. From Vista and Encinitas to Balboa Park and Mission Hills, here’s our pick of five local gardens you shouldn’t miss this spring.

Can you dig it? We can dig it. Let’s grow.

Alcazar Garden at Balboa Park

The Alcazar Garden at Balboa Park — and the iconic California Tower, also peeking over the blooms. | Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

🌱 Alcazar Garden | Balboa Park | Free

Patterned after the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain, this scenic spot sits west of the Mingei International Museum and is known for its ornate fountains + 7,000 colorful annuals. We love this spot for a stroll — but also, take time to stop and look up: The view of the California Tower from here is epic.

Alcazar is one of many free gardens at Balboa Park. While you’re there, don’t miss the Desert Garden on Park Boulevard or the famous, award-winning Rose Garden.

nez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden at Balboa Park

The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden at Balboa Park. | Photo via @lylmizori

Alta Vista Botanical Gardens

A prehistoric friend created by sculptor Ricardo Breceda at the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens. | Photo via @juliegayle24

🌳 Alta Vista Botanical Gardens | 1270 Vale Terrace Dr., Vista | $5

Walking trails and plants from all over the globe make this a must-see stop in San Diego’s North County. Don’t miss the Medicinal Herb Garden and Garden Labyrinth brimming with rosemary + lavender. Oh, and the art and sculptures add even more life here — including the four dinosaurs by artist Ricardo Breceda (the same sculptor known for his work at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park).

San Diego Botanic Garden

The Undersea Succulent Garden at the San Diego Botanic Garden. | Photo via Rachel Cobb

🌼 San Diego Botanic Garden | Quail Gardens Drive + Ecke Ranch Road, Encinitas | $18

This 37-acre oasis features 4 miles of trails and the largest children’s garden on the West Coast. Check out the South Africa Garden and its colorful flora; the Mexican Garden featuring Agave, Salvias + cycads; and the Dickinson Family Education Conservatory housing rare tropical plants.

Harper's Topiary Garden San Diego

This topiary garden in Mission Hills is a thing of sheer beauty. | Photo via @samsonstephen

✂️ Edna Harper’s Topiary Garden | 3549 Union St., Mission Hills | Free

This hidden gem created by a local couple in their front yard boasts 50+ topiary masterpieces trimmed by hand. The fancy shrubs are the perfect selfie backdrop.

Meditation Gardens in Encinitas

A moment of pure Zen at the Meditation Gardens in Encinitas. | Photo via @charcuterie_by_p

☮️ SRF Meditation Gardens | 215 W. K St., Encinitas | Free

These peaceful gardens feature nooks where you can meditate amongst colorful plants, koi ponds, and incredible ocean views. The gardens are part of the Self-Realization Fellowship Encinitas Temple founded by Paramahansa Yogananda — aka the “Father of Yoga in the West.”

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