Our Favorite Minneapolis Public Gardens

Let nature be your teacher. Step outside your every day routines and find peace in one of several public gardens in Minneapolis.

Please note, because of the warming weather and new restrictions regarding COVID-19, a lot of Minnesotans are taking to the outdoors for a breath of fresh air and a break from their homes. This means walkways and popular outdoor locations are likely to be busier than usual. Please continue to practice social distancing in these settings, remaining at least 6 feet away from passerbys and others near you.

Are you looking for more than ordinary garden-variety places to spend the day? We’ll steer you to jaw-dropping beautiful public gardens, with a relaxed vibe to help you escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You’ll want to explore what’s unique and gorgeous, plus check out local gift shops and cafes, too. 

Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden    

If you can imagine a painting by impressionist artist Auguste Renoir come to life —we have a masterpiece of a garden for you. Head to Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary for 15 acres of wild beauty in the heart of the city. Enter at the garden gate and you’ll be greeted with wildflowers, native plants and prairie flowers, to the accompaniment of more than 130 species of birds. Take a winding 2/3-mile trail and boardwalk to woodland gardens, upland hardwood forest and upland gardens of prairie and oak savanna. Stop at the visitor center for programs and gift store for nature-themed souvenirs and more about botanist and namesake Eloise Butler. Nearby Wirth Lake and Chalet offer tasty eats, drinks!

Lyndale Park Rose Garden, Roberts Bird Sanctuary and Peace Park

Where do you find the largest, most beautiful rose garden in town? Let us introduce you to Lyndale Park Garden, a 1.5 acre park near the northeast shores of Lake Harriet. In summer, you’ll be amazed by more than 60,000 blooming roses in every color you can think of. But there’s more — Mother Nature goes wild with hundreds of native wildflowers and pollinator-friendly plants that bloom through fall (in spring, it’s tulips and the arrival of hundreds of migratory birds at the Roberts Bird Sanctuary).  Make a wish at the Heffelfinger Fountain, with intricately designed marble and bronze cherubs and sea god Neptune or take the walkway to the Peace Garden with Japanese bridge, crane sculpture. Explore more nearby at Lake Harriet’s walking path, bandshell, and Bread & Pickle café!

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

If you’re intrigued about what makes a garden top in the country, we advise a visit ASAP to the Arboretum—rated 2019's #1 botanical garden by USA Today Readers’ Choice. West of downtown, you’ll instantly escape into nature with 1,200 acres of gardens, tree collections, prairie, woodlands and trails. Two unique gardens make the Arboretum world-class. At Chinese Garden of Harmonious Beauty, enter through the moon gate and stroll from pathway to pond, tree to peony garden, through the Peony Pavilion and by three magnificent rocks from China’s Qinling Mountains. The Harrison Sculpture Garden features 23 outdoor sculptures by international artists on 3 acres of rolling hills and grove of trees.  More to explore—get around on Tram, shuttle or hike. Check out their visitor center, exhibits, gift store, and café (with beer, wine)!

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

If you’re into tropical gardens with a dose of Zen, but the kiddos want lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) …. you can do it all at Como Zoo & Conservatory!  Start at the Victorian-style glass-domed Conservatory with tropical rain forest gardens, palm trees and ferns. Take in the seasonal flower shows in sunken garden, including holiday poinsettias, orchids and Bonsai trees. And don’t miss the lovely outdoor gardens! Then, find your inner Zen at the Japanese Garden, designed with rock, dwarf plants and water. Next, you and the gang can explore Como Zoo, indoors and out at gorillas, giraffe, lions, tigers, polar bears, sea lions, orangutans exhibits and so much more. Finally, continue picnic tradition in nearby Como Park—public grills, picnic tables and trails provided. And don't forget to hitch a quick ride on the carousel!