Rooftop gardens can reduce a city’s temperature by around 4°C (~ 7°F).  Alongside their cooling powers, they also look great and can be a calming oasis in busy cities, perfect for tired tourists looking for a drink or a shaded place to unwind and read a book.
This opened the question for us – which city has the best rooftop garden scene that is also open to the public? There are many cities that have green garden initiatives for residential buildings, with a particular boom in North America,  but these typically aren’t open to the public or tourists.
Looking at the most visited cities around the world,  we found which locations have the most rooftop gardens accessible to tourists and the general public (be that for a fee, for free, or as part of a rooftop bar/restaurant). We analysed data from Google Maps, city-specific rooftop guides, as well as TikTok to find out which rooftop gardens are the most popular on social media too.
Come with us for a wander around the world’s rooftop gardens below.
- Key findings
- London and Tokyo have the most rooftop gardens in the world
- Best rooftop gardens in London
- Best rooftop gardens in Tokyo
- Most popular rooftop garden cities on TikTok
- London and Tokyo have the most rooftop gardens open to the public in the world at 12 each.
- Singapore had the second-most rooftop gardens (11), followed by New York (9).
- On TikTok, London is the most popular when it comes to rooftop garden content, as the city gets the most likes (36,615 per post) followed by Kyoto (2,725 per post).
- Los Angeles, US, was the third-most-popular city for rooftop gardens on TikTok propelled by a secret Japanese-style garden in a shopping mall.
London and Tokyo have the most rooftop gardens in the world
London, UK, and Tokyo, Japan, have the most rooftop gardens open to the public out of any other popular tourist cities analysed in this research, at 12 each. Generally, there aren’t that many rooftop gardens open to the public. There are lots of rooftop bars and rooftop spaces, but they typically are grey concrete (or faux plants) and lack that connection to nature many people seek for a break when in a city.
Cities with the most rooftop gardens open to the public
The top cities with the most publicly accessible rooftop gardens around the world can be found in the table below.
Best rooftop gardens in London
London has five registered rooftop gardens and a further seven bars/restaurants that have a rooftop garden. Tourists in London can visit the Sky Garden, near The Shard, for free, or try Crossrail Place Roof Garden for something a little more tucked away near Canary Wharf, also completely for free. See our top recommendations for rooftop gardens in London:
1. The Sky Garden, The Fenchurch Building (The Walkie-Talkie)
The Sky Garden, located in the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ building in the business area of London is London’s highest public garden and has sweeping views over ‘The Big Smoke’. If you want to go, make sure you book your free ticket in advance, as during the summer holidays, and British October half-term, this can get very popular.
2. Beech Gardens/Barbican Conservatory, Barbican Estate
While not the highest rooftop garden in London by any measure, the Barbican Conservatory is elevated and as shown by photos like the above, some of the trees do literally reach for the roof of the building. As part of the Barbican Estate, there is also the Beech Gardens, which are on a rooftop, so by visiting the estate here you can get a lot of garden variety for your time.
3. Garden at 120, 120 Fenchurch St
As shown in the TikTok above, the Garden at 120 offers views of the Sky Garden’s Walkie Talkie building as well as getting up-close to the gherkin. It is a much smaller rooftop but can be more intimate and less crowded. It’s also free just be sure to check it’s open before making your way over there.
Best rooftop gardens in Tokyo
Tokyo’s rooftop garden success is owed to a variety of shopping malls around the megacity. Take the Ginza Six Rooftop Garden, a lush free-to-access garden with stunning 360 views over central Tokyo, for one example. Ark Hills, a complex of shopping, entertainment and residential buildings, has a sprawling rooftop garden split into various parts, which also becomes a hotspot during cherry blossom season due to the trees growing on the roof.
1. Tokyu Plaza Omohara Forest, Harajuku
Harajuku is a quirky area of Tokyo with lots of vintage clothing stores and unique street art. This rooftop garden allows you to escape the chaos alongside a Starbucks, complete with a few trees to provide some much-needed shade in the dense Tokyo summer. This rooftop garden is the perfect spot to catch your breath and take in the megacity you’re exploring.
2. GINZA Six, Ginza
Take the lift in this luxury shopping mall to the rooftop garden for uninterrupted 360 views around central Tokyo. The scale of the view you get here is what makes this rooftop garden special.
3. Miyashita Park, Shibuya
This rooftop garden in the busy area of Shibuya is unique as it is home to a skate park and even a bouldering wall, making it the perfect stop for active visitors as well as those wanting some greenery in Tokyo. Also, this is a rare place where you can see a Starbucks designed by a streetwear artist in the style of a gas station, which offers exclusive clothing – an espresso to remember!
Most popular rooftop garden cities on TikTok
A secondary part of the research looked at the cities with rooftop gardens and how loved they were on TikTok. Overall, the data showed that often rooftop gardens are hidden away on social media, often reflecting their secrecy in real life. However, some cities get a lot more love for their urban greenery than others.
When it comes to TikTok, London leads the way once again, with a different Japanese city taking second place, in the shape of Kyoto.
London’s success comes from the Crossrail Place garden, Sky Garden, and The Garden at 120, which is another completely free rooftop garden in the City of London. This one looks over the Walkie Talkie building that the Sky Garden is in and has a great view of another famous London landmark, The Gherkin.
The cities whose rooftop gardens see the most popularity on TikTok are:
Kyoto’s runaway TikTok success is largely due to the K36 Rooftop Bar, which looks over one of the city’s infamous pagoda. In addition to that, TikToks about Kyoto Station, including the Sky Garden open to the public there, are popular on the social media app. Tourists and commuters alike at Kyoto train station can take the Daikaidan (Grand Stairway) up to the sky garden for some quiet greenery in a busy area of the city. The steps also light up with over 15,000 LEDs that create moving art reflective of whichever season you are visiting. These are often featured in the same videos about the Sky Garden, pushing the city’s numbers higher.
Los Angeles comes in third, with a hidden rooftop garden in Little Tokyo giving the city big visibility on TikTok. This is one you really wouldn’t know about unless someone had told you, but it’s located in Weller Court Shopping Center and even features a small waterfall. Interestingly, lots of rooftop garden content in LA on TikTok is also from residential buildings and people embracing the urban gardening available in their city. While a residential building of course won’t be publicly accessible, it’s clearly a popular topic on social media for Los Angeles locals.
The rest of the ranking from Istanbul onwards, has far fewer rooftop gardens than other cities, however, typically a rooftop bar/restaurant with a garden, often went viral on travel videos increasing their average view and like count.
Taking the top 100 most visited cities in the world, we searched on Google Maps, TikTok, and The Rooftop Guide to collate a list of publicly accessible rooftop garden spaces. If the rooftop garden is located in a residential/commercial building, but the public is not allowed to visit, it was not included. Hotels were only accepted if the public was allowed to visit the rooftop garden without being paying guests. Rooftop bars and restaurants were classed as ‘rooftop gardens’ if reviews had described themselves as such or they had photos of their garden area online.
TikTok data shows the average number of likes a video gets based on the search ‘rooftop garden CITY’. The average was taken from the first 10 videos served on the day. All data is correct as of the 8th September 2023, however, rooftop garden locations may close or shut for different seasons.
 United States Environmental Protection Agency, ‘Using Green Roofs to Reduce Heat Islands’ https://www.epa.gov/heatislands/using-green-roofs-reduce-heat-islands
 The New York Times, ‘The Green Revolution Spreading Across Our Rooftops’ https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/09/realestate/the-green-roof-revolution.html
 Euromonitor International, ‘Euromonitor report reveals world’s top 100 city destinations for 2022’ https://www.euromonitor.com/press/press-releases/december-2022/euromonitor-report-reveals-worlds-top-100-city-destinations-for-2022
The Rooftop Guide (various cities) https://www.therooftopguide.com/
Yelp, Best Privately Owned Public Open Spaces (various cities) https://www.yelp.com/
Google Maps, ‘Rooftop gardens in (various cities)’ https://www.google.com/maps
TikTok, ‘rooftop garden (various cities)’ https://www.tiktok.com/
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