It’s very possible that you’re reading this having never even heard of Shakespeare Garden. Perhaps you’ve been to Golden Gate Park a zillion times thinking you’d seen it all; there’s the de Young Museum, the Conservatory of Flowers, Koret Children’s Quarter, the Arboretum, Japanese Tea Garden…we could go on. But don’t worry, it may seem hidden but really Shakespeare Garden is in plain sight. Just keep wandering through Golden Gate Park and you’re apt to stumble upon the incredible Shakespeare Garden.
Or, go there with a purpose: incredible photos. Located at the east end of the park, amidst the busiest areas of the park, Shakespeare Garden is one of our absolute favorite spots in all of San Francisco for photos. It’s a top choice for both engagement and wedding photos and is a natural choice for a wedding ceremony.
When the garden was created by the California Spring Blossom and Wildflower Association in 1927, their purpose was to establish a garden filled with flowers populating the pages of Shakespeare’s works. And they did just that. They even acquired a bust of Shakespeare donated from England, a bronze copy of a bust from the 17th century. It’s an amazing, historic and priceless piece of art. Only the lucky few are allowed to view Shakespeare’s bust, such as a bride and groom who have reserved the garden, as it was padlocked in 1950 to deter vandals.
As you approach the entrance to Shakespeare Garden, you’ll be greeted by a lovely, classic wrought-iron gate. Through this gate lies a romantic garden that’s perfect for engagement and wedding photos. More weddings are held here than any other location in Golden Gate Park, and you’ll quickly see why: right in the middle of the garden is a tree-lined path that creates a natural wedding aisle. Since it’s part of the public park, you’ll often find visitors enjoying the sights from a picnic bench or simply strolling the grounds.
We particularly love this location not only for its charm, romance and unlimited photo opportunities, but for the always perfect lighting. No matter the day, we get lots of amazing shots. An extra bonus is that this garden is located in one of the most beautiful parks in the world; it’s easy to find little spots for impromptu photos as we meander through Golden Gate Park toward Shakespeare Garden.
Make your way to Shakespeare Garden next time you’re visiting San Francisco or meandering through Golden Gate Park. Or if you’re looking for engagement photography, this really is the best spot in the city.
- Exact Location: Corner of Martin Luther King Jr Dr and Nancy Pelosi Dr. (See map below)
- Try to come here during the week when the park is less crowded. Weekends get crowded with visiting families and events.
- April is the busiest time of year for Shakespeare Garden since that’s when the crabapple trees bloom.
- Street parking is available on MLK Dr close to the park, but don’t be afraid to park a little farther out and walk in. Golden Gate Park is a wonderful place for wandering!
Looking for other perfect wedding and engagement photo opportunities in San Francisco? Check out our other recommendations: