Golden Gate Park Nursery – San Francisco, California - Atlas Obscura
Free iron-on Atlas Obscura badge when you preorder our new kids’ book. Shop now.

San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Park Nursery

San Francisco’s condensed garden of incredible plant growth. 

Hidden at the corner of MLK and Bowling Green Drive in Golden Gate Park is a fenced-off area with a small green sign that reads “Structural Maintenance Division: Nursing and Receiving”.

This private area is one of the few off-limit sections of Golden Gate Park, which prides itself in being the largest public urban park in the United States.

There is a very good reason why this area has remained private for decades: It holds twelve greenhouses that are responsible for a tremendous amount of the city’s plant life. The nursery propagates and nurtures more than 800 species of plants that are continually used to fill parks throughout San Francisco. It is one of the main sources of the city’s greenery, dispersing up to 3,000 plants each week.

While the nursery sends off thousands of plants each week, there are a few that never leave the grounds. There are several potted trees, some as old as thirty years, that are held as stage decorations for special events, such as Opera in the Park and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.