Filoli Gardens in the Spring!
Filoli Gardens are at their stunning best in the spring so don’t miss the show! (Note: other times of year are beautiful too … see events calendar). These 16 acres (the size of 12 football fields) are recognized as one of the best private formal botanical gardens in the United States. See the picture groups #1 & #2 below which are worth a thousand words.
This fabulous estate is located about 25 miles south of San Francisco (see map), in Woodside, CA, just off Highway 280. The formal English Renaissance period (1520-1620) gardens are part of a 654-acre country estate, all of which surround a 43-room 17-fireplace Georgian period (1714-1830) mansion built 1919 by one of California’s richest gold miners. It is now a national historical monument, parts of which you have likely seen on the silver screen (e.g., the Carrington Mansion in Dynasty, the Warren Beaty movie Heaven Can Wait, and The Joy Luck Club). The name “Filoli” came from the gold miner’s family credo — “FIght for a just cause; LOve your fellow man; LIve a good life” which was abbreviated to Filoli and pronounced “Fi-Lo-Li.”
Filoli makes for a great Sunday drive from anywhere in the San Francisco Bay area. It is very accessible just off Highway 280 (known as the world’s most beautiful freeway due to its scenic route down the peninsula) about thirty miles south of San Francisco in Woodside, CA (see map). Note: On Sundays be sure to come in via Edgewood Road because Canada Road north of Filoli to Hwy 92 is closed for Bicycle Sundays.
Do plan your visit to confirm times and prices. There are many special events, holidays off (e.g. Easter), art exhibitions & classes including celebrations of different seasons and of holidays, particularly Christmas and Mother’s Day. Some such events have special prices and some sell out (e.g., monthly Wednesday afternoon teas are often sold out and on certain evenings the Christmas Holiday Botique is jam packed). Otherwise, admission is generally $20 for adults which helps support Filoli’s expensive maintenance and the many projects and programs (which are also supported by large gifts, memberships, and hundreds of local volunteers as well as professional staff).
Besides just walking around the 43-room mansion and 16-acre garden on your own you can take free volunteer docent led house, garden, orchard and nature tours & hikes. Other things to do include an informal cafe (indoor & outdoor patio) and a garden gift shop with plants and Filoli-inspired merchandise. Most things to do are oriented towards adult audiences, Seniors usually love Filoli so it’s a good place to bring your parents. There are also special children’s events such as Easter Egg hunts, pumpkin patch and Christmas parties.
- Filoli website and Map – Check this Filoli website for events, times & prices prior to your visit.
- Other botanical gardens plant lovers will enjoy: UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens, SF Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park, UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Shell Dance Orchid Garden Nursery in Pacifica.
- Canada Rd Bicycle Sundays and Map – Other things to do on beautiful Canada Rd (parts of which are closed to allow bicycles only on Sundays).
- Downtown Woodside – Nice little downtown of one of the wealthiest small towns in the U.S.
- San Mateo and Map – nearby things to do in San Mateo to the north.
- Palo Alto and Map – nearby things to do in Palo Alto to the south.
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