The Bay area is home to many beautiful parks and gardens. They are nice places to walk around, sit and relax, bring your dog, or have a picnic. We cannot recall every park and garden we went to but have written a little bit about the places we do remember:
(Note: all of them are free!)
San Jose Rose Garden
Considered America’s best rose garden, the San Jose Rose Garden has a variety of types of roses on several acres. There is also a nice water fountain in the middle surrounded by benches. We went here on multiple occasions. It is not always in full bloom as we once passed it once right after the roses had been cut back, but most of the time they are blooming and beautiful.
Japanese Friendship Garden
(San Jose) Also known as Kelley Park, the Japanese Friendship Garden is actually modeled off of a garden which is in one of San Jose’s sister cities in Japan. There are 3 coy ponds, some Japanese structures and bridges, and a small waterfall. We saw people in wedding attire there on our visit which is not surprising due to the picturesque nature of the park.
Guadelupe River Park
(San Jose). This park cuts across the city with nearly 3 miles of walking trails. Festivals and events are sometimes hosted at this park which is home to a Rose Garden (Heritage Rose Garden) and an orchard. It would be a good area for a run or a picnic.
Also known as the Chinese Heritage Garden, this is a pretty place to walk around and has some nice features. Aside from the walking paths, there is a fragrance garden and some interesting structures/statues/buildings. We went on my birthday to walk around with my free birthday (and Kyle’s paid for) Baskin Robbins.
Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge
Not a park or garden, but this is another nice place to take a stroll. Initially you walk on a boardwalk and then there are paths in the marshy area. The refuge is home to many different kinds of birds and other wildlife.
Rosicrucian Park / Peace Garden
(San Jose) We visited Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum once and walked around the gardens a couple of times. The museum has a large collection of Egyptian artifacts and even has a rock-cut tomb replica. The garden/park is around the museum and contains a temple, planetarium and research library in addition to the actual garden areas.
in Palo Alto is a smaller garden but still pretty neat. There are some shaped bushes, (which are not so uncommon on the lawns in San Jose) and it is here that we learned about free lawn bowling.
Rosie the Riveter WWII Homefront National Historical Park
sits on the Richmond Marina and is a pretty decent-sized area to walk around and learn some of the interesting history of the area.