Wander and Unwind
Balboa Park Botanical Building
This section of the park is one of the most popular for portraits. The Botanical Building, built in 1915, and the accompanying lily pond make the perfect backdrop for a quintessential San Diego photo. Step inside the building to explore over 2,000 varieties of plants and flowers that you can easily take in in just a few minutes. The Botanical Building is free to the public and open Friday through Wednesday, 10 am to 4 pm.
Encinitas Meditation Gardens
The entrance to the Encinitas Temple and Self-Realization Fellowship, made up of three gold dome towers on the 101 are hard to miss. But just steps away, the serene Encinitas Meditation Gardens are easily overlooked. This garden area is small but stunningly beautiful, with multiple koi ponds and unbelievable ocean views. Take a few minutes to check out this area that’s free to the public Tuesdays through Sundays.
The Flower Fields
If you’re in town March through May, The Flower Fields are a must. Head up to Carlsbad to explore 50 acres of brightly colored Giant Ranunculus flowers, originally planted in the 1920’s. Wagon tours are available but we recommend walking the grounds and making plenty of stops along the way for photo ops. The Flower Fields are open from March 1 through May 10, every day from 9 am to 5 pm. If you want to skip the $18 admission, you can get a stellar view of the fields and the ocean on Armada Avenue near the Museum of Making Music.
After your trip to The Flower Fields, drive to nearby Succulent Cafe for something to sip on. This laid back open-air cafe will provide plenty of inspiration if you need ideas for displaying your plants at home. From funky potted plants to an impressive succulent-topped water feature, this place is dripping with cute squishy succulents both big and small.
Shut Up and Take My Money!
En Concordia has a fantastic mix of houseplants and clean beauty products. The bright, airy space offers CBD tinctures for grown ups, eco-friendly toys for little ones, and loads of fun giftables for everyone in-between.
Wild Island Collective
Even if you’re not in San Diego, this is a great store to follow on Instagram. The plant shop and ‘green boutique’ brings in new plants weekly and hosts yoga and similar classes. Locals should keep their eyes peeled for plant swap events and check out their Plant of the Month Club, too.
It’s not often you’ll see vintage motorcycles displayed in a plant shop, but Botanica pulls it off. They change the layout of their shop often, but it always has an easygoing, modern-hippie vibe. Don’t forget to head to the back patio to check out their ferns, fiddle leaf fig trees, succulents, and hanging houseplants.
This adorable shop is housed in a 1920’s cottage and is known for their beautiful bouquets. There are dozens of succulents and similar drought tolerant plants in their garden patio, with flowers and houseplants inside. Thistle is a small space but has a great variety of locally made soaps, stickers, macrame pieces and more.
Landmark Plant Co.
Leucadia / Oceanside
This cute North County shop just opened a second location, so you can pay them a visit in Leucadia or Oceanside. Those who gravitate toward modern, minimalist pieces will love their ceramics selection. Landmark also stocks pieces from local makers, like dreamy crystal succulent and air plant holders.
Kiko & Sven
Kiko & Sven is in a real ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ location, but that’s part of its charm. The tiny shop is packed with jewelry, cards, candles, clothing, and loads of plants literally from floor to ceiling. It’s a cute and cozy space that is absolutely worth a visit.
Pigment is truly taking over San Diego, with three locations and a crazy popular Instagram following. Each shop has several setups for photo ops if that’s what you’re after. You’ll find a vast range of cacti, succulents, air plants, house plants and a DIY terrarium station with colorful rocks and sand. They’ve also got tons of apparel, stationary, books, treats and gifts. Good luck leaving empty-handed.