The 8 Most Beautifully Designed Botanical Gardens in America

The 8 Most Beautifully Designed Botanical Gardens in America

So long as you look, any traveler can find some of the most stunning gardens tucked within America's busiest cities. Metropolises such as Philadelphia, southern hot spots like Atlanta and Charlotte, and western locales in San Diego and Portland all have their own take on the botanical garden that make them must-visit spaces. Like an encyclopedia of plants being brought to life, their botanical gardens offer a hodgepodge of flora ranging from palm trees, desert succulents, and roses to plants usually only found in the most remote parts of the world. But it's not just about the plants. Many botanical gardens have conservatories constructed as architectural marvels—rivaling the beauty of the plants they house. Next time you're adding to your list of U.S.-based nature escapes, consider these seven beautifully designed botanical gardens.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden (Charlotte, North Carolina)

The 380-acre Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden marked its 20-year anniversary in 2019. The garden is situated on the banks of Lake Wylie, with a conservatory dedicated to the display of tropical plants and orchids.

Garfield Park Conservatory (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Constructed in 1916 by German landscape architect George Kessler, Garfield Park Conservatory was originally designed with traditional curving roof lines. In 1955, however, the aging and deteriorated gardens were replaced with an Art Deco–inspired welded-aluminum-frame conservatory. At the time, it was the first aluminum building in the U.S., and today, the 10,000-square-foot botanical gardens house a wide variety of plants including palms, orchids, ferns, cacao, vanilla, bananas, and coffee. For more information, visit the website.

Portland Japanese Garden (Oregon)

The Portland Japanese Garden is home to a three-structure Cultural Village, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who is also spearheading the national stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The garden features a new courtyard serving as a venue for performances and events, three LEED-certified buildings, a library, classrooms, and a tea café. For more information, visit the website.

San Antonio Botanical Garden (Texas)

The most awe-inspiring structure at the San Antonio Botanical Garden is the Lucile Halsell Conservatory. Unveiled in 1988 and designed by Argentinian architect Emilio Ambasz, the futuristic glass conservatory was the first of his projects ever built. The garden is home to several historic structures built in Texas in the 1800s, like the Daniel J. Sullivan Carriage House and the Auld House, moved to the grounds of the Garden so that the public can explore what life was like on the Texas frontier. For more information visit their website.

Atlanta Botanical Garden (Georgia)

Opened in 1976 in the heart of midtown, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens boasts 30 acres of outdoor gardens, a Children’s Garden, and the picturesque Skyline Garden. Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden contains artwork of 1,400 stainless-steel spheres carefully arranged among the pines and conifers of the garden’s Storza Woods, and can be viewed from the Canopy Walk. For more information, visit the website.

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