San Francisco Tulip Festival 2024 Recap

On Saturday, March 9th, I attended San Francisco’s annual Tulip Day, also called Flower Bulb Day, downtown in Union Square.

With tulips everywhere, Union Square became a vibrant sea of color, making this free event a favorite for locals and tourists alike.

Not only does Tulip Day celebrate spring with a stunning display of beautiful tulips, but it also kicks off the exciting Union Square in Bloom initiative!

Tulip Day 2024 in San Francisco
Tulip Day 2024 in San Francisco

While not directly tied to National Tulip Day (usually in late January or early February), San Francisco’s Tulip Day offers a spectacular chance to witness thousands of tulips in full bloom. This year, over 80,000 tulips in a kaleidoscope of colors carpeted Union Square, creating a breathtaking sight.

The event’s focus is simple – enjoy the beauty of the tulips and take some home with you. Attendees were treated to a field of blooms and could pick small bouquets to take home.

Volunteers setting up San Francisco Tulip Day 2024
Volunteers setting up San Francisco Tulip Day 2024

Getting your free tulips wasn’t for the faint of heart!

When I arrived at 8:45 am, volunteers were still diligently setting up the tulip display and a line had already queued down the block. It seems attendees were eager to secure their blooms, with some arriving much earlier despite the 1:00 pm picking start time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: San Francisco loves standing in lines!

Luckily, the wait for this entirely outdoor event was pleasant because of the moderate San Francisco weather – a typical day for the city and a welcome change from all the rain the Bay Area has been getting recently.

Tulipmania Across the US

If you missed San Francisco’s Tulip Day, fear not! Many cities across the US host tulip festivals, allowing you to experience the floral magic in your own region. Here are a few examples:

Boston: 45 minutes from Boston, Tulip Fest 2024 at Cider Hill Farm takes place on two weekends: May 4-5 and May 11-12, but may change depending on the field and the weather. Tickets will be available in late-April through mid-May.

Chicago: The Midwest Tulip Fest returns on April 27, featuring over 500,000 tulips across 7 acres of farmland. Tickets are available online as is the bloom-o-meter so you can find the perfect time to schedule your visit.

New York: Consider attending the annual Tulip Festival in Albany on Mother’s Day Weekend (May 11-12)in Washington Park. Each year up to 10,000 people visit this stunning display!

San Diego: While San Diego doesn’t have a dedicated Tulip Festival, the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch offer a breathtaking display of Giant Ranunculus flowers, often mistaken for tulips, during the spring season.

Washington: With activities for all ages, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs from April 1 – 30 in Mount Vernon, WA.

More Tulips in San Francisco

While Union Square takes center stage for Tulip Day, there are other spots in San Francisco where you can find beautiful tulips throughout the spring. Here are a few suggestions:

Golden Gate Park: Free for SF residents to visit, Golden Gate Park is home to numerous gardens, including the Conservatory of Flowers and the Japanese Tea Garden. The park often has stunning tulip displays during the spring months.—Queen-Wilhelmina-Gard

Sloat Garden Center: This popular gardening destination offers a wide variety of flowers for sale throughout the year, including tulips during the spring season.

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