Must See Historic Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Visit the Botanical Gardens at Cranbrook National Historic Landmark #Michigan #traveldestinations #thingstodo #gardens

These must see botanical gardens are located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. As a registered National Landmark filled with amazing history, the beautiful gardens and grounds of the manor can be seen at every turn. As you explore the area you’ll experience the sounds of water streaming from iconic fountains, heavenly smells of flowers, and brightly colored trees & foliage in the fall. There are over 40 acres you must see at the historic Cranbrook Botanical Gardens. Explore the manor as you wander scenic trails throughout the grounds.

Explore the Must See Historic Botanical Gardens at Cranbrook

Cranbrook Lake Walk

When to Visit the Gardens


  • Free Admission; donations encouraged
  • Open May 1 – October 31
  • Open daily; including weekends from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Unfortunately dogs are not allowed
Sunken garden flowers at Botanical Gardens on the Cranbrook manor. #spring #flowers #bloom #thingstodo #michigan


If you’re interested in sunshine and warmer temperatures, I recommend visiting in the beginning of May. You’ll see spring flowers on trees, blooms throughout the Cranbrook grounds and trails, and cooler temperatures. Spring & Fall are my recommended times to visit the Botanical Gardens based on temperatures and drastic changes to the plants. Spring months are between April – May. March is cold and rainy.


The weather in the Great Lakes State changes often and quickly. The weather forecast can go from sunny & 80F to rainy and 50F within a couple hours. The flowers are thriving in the summer, and you’re guaranteed tons of beautiful flower blooms. Summer months are between June – August and will sometimes continue into September.


The fall season starts in mid September, ending around end of October, beginning of November. In the first two weeks of October the leaves start changing into brilliant colors of yellow, orange, & red. The fountains may not be in service depending on weather temperatures. In fall the leaves start to change turning the green trees orange, red, and yellow colors.


Unfortunately the gardens are not open for winter.

Cranbrook National Historic Landmark

How to Get to Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

The nearest major airport to Birmingham is Detroit Metropolitan International Airport, (DTW). The airport is about 31 miles from the city center. Flint Bishop International Airport is the second major airport. Unfortunately it is not as budget friendly as Detroit. Flights are limited, and the airport is located 49 miles from Birmingham. If you are parking at your departure airport, save time by making a parking reservation.

You can rent a car from the airport to get around the city and explore more of what Michigan has to offer.

Download the Cranbrook App for tours, interactive maps, visitor info, and more. The grounds are 40 acres and you can easily get lost, which is fun if you have the time!

Succulent Arrangement at Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Where to Stay When Visiting Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Holiday Inn hotel close to Cranbrook Botanical Gardens


Budget Friendly

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Townsend Hotel best spot to stay in Bloomfield Hills Michigan


Downtown Birmingham

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Double Tree Hilton Bloomfield Hills Michigan


Close to Gardens

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Best Things to do at Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

  • Fountain of Santa Maria
  • Weeping Zeus
  • Courtyard Garden
  • Library Garden
Cranbrook Botanical Gardens
  • Cherub Fountain
  • Daffodil Hill
  • Shady Walk
  • Birthday Garden
  • Sundial Garden
  • Banyai Hosta Garden
  • Japanese Garden
  • Butterfly Garden
Cranbrook House

Cranbrook House

Cranbrook is located on the Cranbrook Educational Community campus is filled with rich history, beautiful craftsmanship, iconic sculptures, and . The campus is a National Historic Landmark, home to the oldest manor house in metro-Detroit. The gardens are maintained by a local volunteer-run organization.

The Cranbrook House

The Cranbrook house was designed in 1908 by local renowned Detroit architect Albert Kahn, and home to the family of George & Ellen Booth for 40 years! As you explore the grounds you’ll see the best craftsmanship of that time reflected in each area of the house, landscapes, and gardens.

Rainbow Fountain - Cranbrook Botanical Gardens in Birmingham Michigan #michigantravel #thingstodo #traveldestinations #botanicalgardens

Rainbow Fountain

*2021 Update*

Due to the monetary strain caused by the pandemic, unfortunately the fountains and water features will not be running this year. The fountains are beautiful even without being turned on. So I still recommend visiting them on your trip to Cranbrook Botanical Gardens.

Sunken Gardens

The sunken gardens are one of the most BEAUTIFUL places at Cranbrook Botanical Gardens. They were my favorite garden throughout the entire visit. Bright colors popped in long symmetrical lines of flower beds surrounded by a castle wall.

Sunken Garden - Cranbrook

During our visit the lovely couple above were taking their engagement photos. I asked if I could photograph them while in the garden, and they happily said yes. Doesn’t she look so beautiful next to colors of the flowers with her dress? 😍

Japanese Garden at Cranbrook.  Located in Birmingham, Michigan as a registered Historic National Landmark filled with amazing history.

Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden is surrounded by different types of beautiful bright colored Japanese Maples, and includes the famous red bridge.

Japanese Garden at Cranbrook.  Located in Birmingham, Michigan as a registered Historic National Landmark filled with amazing history.

One of the oldest Japanese Gardens in North America, you’ll see mature trees that are HUNDREDS of years old, towering high up into the sky. Cranbrook’s Japanese Garden is a peaceful garden surrounded by natural beauty. You’ll see large areas of big leaf Petasites, bright purple Liriope, and even some Tree Peonies. 

Top Hiking Trails in Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Japanese Garden Trail

Cranbrook’s Japanese Garden is located on the eastern edge of Kingswood Lake. You can reach the trailhead if you head east from upper north terrace. The garden started as a quaint rock garden and lily pond.  

Top Hiking trails Kingswood Lake Trail Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Altar of Atonement

Location: The brow of a hill overlooking the Meeting House

Directly across Lone Pine Road from the altar is Christ Church Cranbrook. Built in 1927, this beautiful structure was given as a gift to the community.

The Altar of Atonement is a symbol of man’s need for atonement with God and with other human beings.

Top Hiking trails Kingswood Lake Trail Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

The Bridge

The Bridge Trail will take you through a short woodsy whimsical stroll. Trail starts from the center of Cranbrook Botanical Gardens, known as the mountain leading you to the Greek Theatre.

Greek Theatre at Cranbrook Botanical Gardens in Bloomfield Hills Michigan
Top Hiking trails Kingswood Lake Trail Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

Kingswood Lake

Take a leisurely stroll around Kingswood lake. So you can admire the lake views, spot wildlife, and listen to the quiet sounds of nature. The walk around Kingswood Lake is around 0.65 miles, suitable for all ages.

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    The best #hiking trails and biking #trails in #Michigan

    Best Hiking Trails Near Cranbrook Botanical Gardens

    Clinton River Trail

    • Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone
    • Trail category: Rail-Trail
    • Length: 16 miles
    • Trail end points: West Bloomfield Trail at Woodrow Wilson Blvd. (Sylvan Lake) and Macomb Orchard Trail at Dequindre Rd. (Rochester)
    Bike or #hike along the #Clinton River #trail in Rochester #Michigan
    Clinton River Trail

    One of my favorite trails in the area is the 16 mile Clinton River Trail. Walk or bike along the low elevation abandoned rail line. You will go through the heart of Oakland County, into the cities of Sylvan Lake, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills and Rochester. The trail rides along the Clinton River and is surrounding lush woodsy landscapes. Along the trail are cities downtowns, residential areas and parks.

    West Bloomfield Trail

    • Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
    • Trail category: Rail-Trail
    • Length: 6.8 miles
    • Trail end points: Haggerty Road south of Walnut Lake Road to Woodrow Wilson Blvd and Depew Dr. at Sylvan Manor Park/Clinton River Trail (West Bloomfield Township)

    The West Bloomfield trail frequently crosses the Clinton River. It continues as the Clinton River Trail to the east than the Macomb Orchard Trail. In downtown Rochester, you can break off from Clinton River Trail to the Paint Creek Trail via the Rochester Riverwalk taking you north to Lake Orion (the town I grew up in 🙂).

    Macomb Trail

    The Metro Connector Trail

    • Trail surfaces: Asphalt
    • Length: 2.5 miles
    • Trail end points: M-5 Trail and I-275 Trail

    The Metro Connector Trail closes the gap between two local favorites in Novi: the M-5 Metro Trail and the I-275 Metro Trail. Beginning on 13 Mile Road the trail pivots south along Meadowbrook Road. The M-5 Metro Trail further connects to the Michigan Air Line Trail.

    Kingswood Lake

    Take a leisurely stroll around Kingswood lake. So you can admire the lake views, spot wildlife, and listen to the quiet sounds of nature. The walk around Kingswood Lake is around 0.65 miles, suitable for all ages.

    Social Distancing in the Sunken Gardens of Cranbrook

    Social Distancing in Cranbrook Gardens

    You are encouraged to follow social distancing and other guidelines recommended by the CDC and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Orders. The bathroom facilities at the botanical gardens are not in service during the pandemic so keep that in mind as you plan your trip!

    Cranbrook Botanical Gardens are located in Birmingham, Michigan as a registered Historic National Landmark filled with amazing history.

    Guests are required to maintain at least 6 ft of distance from the grounds gardeners while they work. Logan and I chose to wear masks outside out of precaution. There were many people visiting as it was a Saturday. Be mindful as some of the paths are narrow.

    Cranbrook Botanical Gardens are located in Birmingham, Michigan as a registered Historic National Landmark filled with amazing history. #cranbrook #michigan #thingstodo #traveldestinations

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    1. Such a superb blog post! This blog clearly explains the concept and the information are very useful.

    2. The Cranbrook Gardens are gorgeous! I think the Sunken Garden would be my favorite, too. I’m glad that they’ve been able to keep this open with social distancing, although having to turn the water off in the fountains is a bit sad. Hopefully by summer they’ll have more visitors and be able to turn it back on again!

    3. We are still in the grip of winter and snow here at home. So it was lovely to go with you for a virtual stroll through Cranbrook Botanical Gardens. I love the variety of flowers in the different seasons. I can see why you say that the sunken gardens are the most beautiful. It would be a lovely spot to sit and relax. We would definitely head out and try the different hiking paths. Can’t wait for spring to hit here.

      1. I planted my seeds yesterday!! So once my flowers/veggies start sprouting..ohhh man!!! So excited. We’re going to visit more botanical gardens in the area when it starts to warm up. Glad you liked the post!

    4. I don’t know much about Michigan but I gotta tick it off one day on my US State list (think I am on 11 states now). Would love to check this place out, reminds me of the gardens in Central Europe. I just love getting away from the urban lifestyle and heading to a bit of nature for some down time and relaxation 🙂

      1. Michigan is so underrated. The great lakes surround the state and are so large they look like oceans. Spring we have cherry blossoms, tulip festivals, and gardens. Summer we have miles and miles of sandy beach shores along the great lakes, and fall colors cover the entire state. I would highly recommend visiting.

    5. How beautiful. I have not been here, but gardens like these are always something I search out at any travel destination. I’ll save this for next time I’m in the region!

    6. I can see myself visiting this botanical garden often as it is very beautiful and free! Look at that trees during fall, and colorful flowers in Sunken Garden. I bet this is a favorite place to visit for a Mothers Group.

      1. There were all different types of photoshoots going on! Wedding/influencers/family – I want to go back again before the colors are gone and do a mini photoshoot this time haha

    7. I would without a doubt do this! I love to visit botanical gardens, especially with year round interest like this one. It’s the perfect way to spend a day in my opinion. Peaceful and tranquil places to visit and I always get inspiration for my own garden.

      1. This was my first visit to one and I fell in love instantly. I agree with you, we easily spent the day there and still didn’t get to see/do all we planned. This was the first year I gardened, and it is so peaceful and relaxing – I need more inspiration for next year! haha

    8. Cranbrook House and the Botanical Gardens look like a great find. It looks like there is great variety in what is available in the different seasons. The sunken gardens would definitely be something to see. We would certainly download the app to help us at the site. With 40 acres we definitely would not want to get lost.

      1. My partner Logan is so patient with me (I love him more than anything) – we have been bike riding/exploring as much outside as we can so I can take as many fall color pics as possible. Even if that means stopping frequently along the bike trail for photos haha he waits with me, lets me take his photo, etc 😍

    9. Oh I love this! The photos are so colorful and make me want to visit. I’ve never heard of this garden before. Thank you for sharing!

    10. Wow what a detailed post, I absolutely adore the look of these gardens and all the wonderful pockets of history and beauty to discover within it. My mum is a gardener and so I have grown up with an appreciation of gardens and always seek them out when I travel. Thank you for sharing

      1. My Grandma taught me to garden when I was younger – this was the first year I’ve had my own home to start my own garden! I am now obsessed, and it’s my favorite hobby. Hopefully you are able to visit one day – you will love it!

    11. These botanical gardens look amazing! I’ve actually never been to a botanical garden in the fall, but seeing it with the orange, yellow and red leaves is making me want to go! This looks like the perfect outdoor getaway!

    12. Loved all the pics you shared here. In fact it was your header pic that prompted me to click on the post. Loved that image so much Chelsea. Every spot in these gardens has been done up so beautifully esp the sunken gardens – they are my fav 🙂

      1. Aww 🥰 thank you so much for the compliment! It’s good to know what draws readers interest – that was my favorite shot of the flowers so I’m glad you appreciated it 😉

    13. I grew up in Michigan and we would go to Cranbrook although I don’t remember it much. So fun to take a trip there through you words and photos.

    14. This is so beautiful! I definitely want to make my way to Michigan at some point, especially during the fall. The colors are amazing. 🙂

    15. Wow! What a beautiful location. I can’t even imagine how beautiful a wedding or engagement would there.

    16. We were scheduled to visit Michigan in May but of course that was cancelled. Trying to reschedule for 2021. Will definitely add this to our list. The gardens are absolutely beautiful!

      1. What brings you to Michigan other than our stunning scenery? haha I hope you are able to make it next year! Depending on where you are visiting there are unique things to see throughout each of the seasons 🙂

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