National Arboretum in Washington, DC

National Arboretum
••• National Arboretum. © Rachel Cooper

The National Arboretum in Washington, DC displays 446 acres of trees, shrubs and plants and is one of the largest arboretums in the country. Visitors enjoy a variety of exhibits from formal landscaped gardens to the Gotelli Dwarf and slow growing Conifer Collection. The National Arboretum is most known for its bonsai collection. Other special displays include seasonal exhibits, aquatic plants, and a National Herb garden.

During the early spring, the site is a popular spot to see more than 70 varieties of Cherry Trees.

Getting to the National Arboretum:  There are two entrances: one at 3501 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC and the other at 24th & R Streets, NE, off of Bladensburg Road. There is plenty of free parking on-site. The closest Metro stop is Stadium Armory Station. It is a two-mile walk, so you should transfer to Metrobus B-2; disembark the bus on Bladensburg Road and walk 2 blocks to R Street. Make a right on R Street and continue 2 blocks to the Arboretum gates. 

National Arboretum Hours: Starting Friday, April 10, 2015, the grounds will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission: Free admission for parking and picnic grounds. Tour tickets are $4 per adult, $3 per senior, $2 for children ages 4-16 and free for children under 4.

Public Tours of the National Arboretum: A 40-minute tram ride with a taped narrative highlights the history and mission of 446 acres of gardens, collections and natural areas. Tours are available on weekends and holidays and upon request. Scheduled times are 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.

Visiting Tips

  • Take the tour, it is the best way to see the grounds and learn about the gardens.
  • Bring a picnic, which you may enjoy in the picnic area at the National Grove of State Trees.
  • Check the schedule of events and attend a special program. See what's blooming, so you can plan ahead and be sure to see what's most interesting at the time of year that you are visiting.
  • Be sure to see the Bonsai exhibit.

Website: www.usna.usda.gov