A Hidden Adventure: The Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden

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Is a visit to the Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden worth it?

If you have a thing for cactus or just want a stroll in a lovely garden, I highly recommend a visit to the Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden.

It’s a hidden gem on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, CA.  

If you’ve never been to Stanford’s campus,  you are in for a treat.

There are over 500 cacti and succulents in this small garden. It’s a little patch of Arizona in northern California!

Stanford is one of the world’s leading research universities and is known for many things. But very few people know about the Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden.

The campus is quite beautiful and has a Rodin sculpture garden, lots of historical monuments, and the very special Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden.

It’s just a short 35 miles from San Francisco.

Some History About
The Stanford
Arizona Cactus Garden

Originally, Jane and Leland Stanford commissioned the design of The Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden by landscape architect Rudolf Ulrich in 1881.

They planned on building a beautiful home surrounded by a manmade lake and lovely gardens.

Sadly, their only son died of typhoid fever at the age of 15, in 1884.

Consequently, they never built the home, or the lake, and instead named a university after their late son, Leland Jr.

The Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden later became a popular place for Stanford students to stroll through, but over time, garden was sorely neglected.

Thankfully, in 1997, a group of volunteers began renovating and preserving the historic garden.

It’s so pleasant, calming, and simple.

No fees, no fuss, no crowds and very covid friendly! And plenty of great photo spots!

Plan on roaming out of the garden to see The Stanford Family Mausoleum with Sphinxes and another memorial of the Angel of Grief statue nearby.

How to get to the Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden

The best place to park is in a parking lot near the corner of Welch Road and Quarry Road. There is a path into the garden from Quarry Road.

The garden is tucked into campus a bit, so your GPS may have you pulling into random driveways.

The garden is located on the south side of the mausoleum off of Quarry Road between Campus Drive and Arboretum Road.

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The Hotel Triton

Right in the heart of Union Square and at the base of Chinatown is this fabulous, eclectic hotel with local art, unique rooms and fun vibe. Known for great service, awesome location, and the best French restaurant in town, Cafe De La Presse.
Prices start at about $150 p/night.

Go Shopping Nearby

Now, move your car across the road and treat yourself to some lunch and shopping at the awesome Stanford Shopping Center!



Hi There! I’m Carrie.

Carrie Green-Zinn Bio Page

I’m a native New Englander, turned New Yorker, turned California girl! Following a dance career, working as a dance therapist, and being a school psychologist, I’m now ready to share my passion for photography and travel with you! I absolutely love seeing the world with my family and friends. I know you feel the same! Let’s go! 

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