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“Staggeringly beautiful, rich history”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Filoli

Ranked #1 of 9 things to do in Woodside
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Recognized as one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century, Filoli welcomes the public to this remarkable 654-acre property. Designed between 1915 and 1917 and set against the dramatic backdrop of the northern Santa Cruz mountains in Woodside, California, Filoli is an excellent example of the Golden Age of American garden design and country house architecture. Opened to the public in 1976 as a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Filoli features a 36,000 sq. Ft. Home and a 16-acre English Renaissance Garden. In addition, Filoli's property includes a 6.8 Acre Gentlemen's Heritage Orchard and a trail system that transverses five different ecosystems for docent-guided nature hikes. Filoli is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and stewardship of the cultural traditions and natural history of this country estate for public education and enjoyment.
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
55 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Staggeringly beautiful, rich history”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2013

This place is absolutely outstanding and a must see for anyone in the San Fran area. From San Fran you will need a car, but it honestly would probably be worth the price of just a 1-day rental to visit this place.

My fiance and I visited in April 2012 during a trip to San Fran. The first thing I want to note is the big attraction of this place is the gardens and all the flowers. Although our trip was not planned around visiting Filoli, I think we picked an outstanding time to visit...when flowers are in bloom. So keep "blooming season" in mind for your visit.

The next piece of advice is to check the website before stopping by. They have what I would call somewhat restrictive hours and you don't want to make the trip out here and find you are too late or they are closed. I don't want to get into days open/closed and hours because they could change and I don't want to be wrong...check the website.

The drive is reasonable from San Fran...probably 35-45 minutes. My fiance and I picked up a rental from Oakland International Airport and made the drive from there and it is about the same distance. Once you pull off the main highway onto the side road, go slow and look for signs. I drove past it and had to turn around. The house sits way back off the road and you cannot really see any sign of it from the road. Parking is free and easy.

Inside the main building, where you pay and get a map, there are restrooms and a cafe. The cafe is actually pretty good. My recommendation would be to arrive here shortly after they open and eat in the cafe prior to touring the grounds and buildings. Soups, salad, sandwiches, baked goods, and miscellaneous items. Pretty good food actually.

Then head out back into the gardens. I just cannot say enough about how staggeringly beautiful this place was in April. The flowers are just endless and the color is amazing. And I don't think it is possible for them to keep the place more immaculant than they do. Be careful to stay on the walkways....I veered off into the grass and got scolded :)...very nicely though. There are some places where you will walk on the grass but if there is a concrete sidewalk....they want you staying on it.

You could walk in the gardens for hours really. And there are lots of nice little "nooks" to sit in a quite little corner and relax and take it all in. Keep walking around and make sure you don't miss anything. I probably took over 150 pics at this place. Before you head out of the gardens and into the main house, make sure to check out the gift shop near the very front of the gardens...lots of nice things to choose from.

You sort of head back towards the area you entered to tour the main house....don't forget about it!! Very old and historic mansion...hard to find places like this anymore. You can only tour the bottom floor (at least when we were there) but it is well worth the extra time. There are restrooms just inside the doors to the main house as well as near the cafe in the "entrance" building.

If you are anywhere near the Filoli house you must find a way to see the place, particularly if it is "in bloom". I would probably rate it among the very top of must see attractions in San Fran. You will not be disapponited and hopefully you will feel refreshed by the country air. If you drive out here, do some research and find a hike nearby. After visiting this place my fiance and I took an outstanding hike that was relatively in the vicinity.

If you are visiting San Fran or even Napa Valley, find a way to visit this place. You will not be disappointed! Give yourself 2-3 hours, maybe a little more if you want to do lunch/brunch in the cafe.

Visited April 2012
Thank Jeffrey D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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330 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Sunnyvale, California
Level Contributor
189 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Gardeners and Photographers Must See”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 31, 2013

The tour is interesting but if you are a gardener or photographer, you can't miss this spot. Miles of beautiful flowers and history to absorb...

Visited December 2012
1 Thank hiredpen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz, CA
Level Contributor
41 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“How did I not know about this place?”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2013

My sister and I went here for a tea. You have to book way in advance (I think in February) and they fill up for the year in one day. I think the tea is good, but pretty typical for the area. It's the gardens and the house that are fabulous. The shop is very dangerous with lots of great stuff you will want. Their buyer is very talented.

Visited April 2012
Thank collette2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
fremont, ca
Level Contributor
277 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Great day trip of a mansion and it's amazing grounds”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2013

Have gone several times. Impressed with the house and I especially enjoy the landscaping; flowers, planter boxes, roses...neat place

Thank t01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Gatos
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Beautiful gardens.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2013

Beautifully designed gardens, well maintained, seasonally relevant, a treat for the senses. The lunch at the restaurant was delicious! There were healthy choices on the menu.

Thank JuliaLosGatos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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