Hidden within Washington, D.C.’s city limits is the U.S. National Arboretum. Although you can get there via public transportation, we didn’t want to go that complicated route and instead borrowed a car to make the short drive to this beautifully maintained living museum. As with most Federal museums in D.C., admission is free. The arboretum falls under the watchful eye of the USDA (technically, it is a division of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center of the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Phew, got that?), though volunteers assist in its upkeep along with Friends of the National Arboretum.
|Days of Operation||Hours of Operation|
||Friday – Monday||8am-5pm|
|…..National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
||Friday – Monday||10am-4pm|
When you walk through the serene area, the lush green trees and beautiful blossoms make you forget you are still inside the limits of a major metropolitan city (Though D.C. is something of aberration when it comes to most metropolitan cities: nearly 19.4% of the city’s total area is comprised of parks, which is the second-highest percentage among high-density U.S. cities.).
The food selection surrounding the arboretum is paltry, so if you do visit, we recommend packing a picnic. There are plenty of open or secluded areas to sit down and enjoy a meal. In fact, we recommend doing this since the peaceful atmosphere is well-suited for it.
Another great thing about the arboretum is that no matter when you visit, there is always something to see or do. They have events throughout the year (which range from guided hikes to chili tastings to an annual Orchid Show and Sale), and there is also perennial vegetation that you can track via their “What’s blooming?” page. With so much to see and do, make sure you pad your visit with enough time to wander around and enjoy the beauty within the National Arboretum.