United States Botanical Gardens
Washington DC 20024
- Mon: 10am-5pm
- Tue: 10am-5pm
- Wed: 10am-5pm
- Thu: 10am-5pm
- Fri: 10am-5pm
- Sat: 10am-5pm
- Sun: 10am-5pm
With over 65,000 plants, the United States Botanical Gardens in Washington, D.C. is a green oasis in the middle of a bustling metropolis. From the towering trees of the jungle, small succulents of the desserts, to an incredible variety of gorgeous orchids, the Botanical Gardens offers an amazing experience to everyone from botanists to those who don't know a conifer from a crocus.
Best and worst time to go to Botanical Gardens
While spring and summer are the best time to see blooms (and to visit the outdoor butterfly garden), the sheer diversity of plants means there are no bad times to visit the gardens, which are open from 10 am to 5 p.m. every day of the year. Winter visitors arriving between Thanksgiving and New Years will even be treated to elaborate model train displays set up all over the conservatory, with live music and extended hours on certain nights (check website for details).
Must see/do at Botanical Gardens
One of the most popular exhibits in the Botanical Gardens is a set of balconies which runs around the edge of the jungle exhibition in the conservatory, allowing visitors to get a tree-tops view of the canopy. The orchid display, which features a rotating array of plants from a collection of over 5,000 species, is also a must-see. The 'Plants-in-Culture' exhibition is another great choice; fascinating, educational, and a hands-on experience for kids.
Admission to Botanical Gardens
Admission to the Botanical Gardens is free, and, after a renovation finished in 2001, the conservatory is now completely accessible to all visitors.
Parking and public transportation to Botanical Gardens
While there is limited paid street parking available around the Botanical Gardens, visitors are STRONGLY encouraged to use public transportation. The best way to reach the Botanical Gardens by Metro is to ride the blue, orange or silver lines to Federal Center Southwest, and then to walk up Third street to Independence Avenue (roughly five minutes). Visitors using the DC Bike Share also have easy access to the gardens, there is a bike dock right outside the entrance, at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Independence Avenue.
Food at Botanical Gardens
While there are no eating facilities at the Botanical Gardens themselves, the neighborhoods around the gardens are great places to eat. In the immediate vicinity of the gardens browse second street and D street for some good options. Alternately, take the subway two stops down to Eastern Market and walk along Pennsylvania Avenue or Eighth street, both of which house an incredible variety of amazing restaurants.
Insider tip for visitors to Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens is not only home to plants, it's also home to some great events. From model train exhibits in the winter to live concerts year-round visitors are strongly advised to check out the programs calendar on the website to see what is happening at the gardens while they are in town.
Author's bio: Margaret Sessa-Hawkins has been living in DC since she was born, with the exception of a few brief residential stints in Malawi, South Africa, and the UK. When not writing, she spends her time working on aerial acrobatics and fostering kittens, both of which are really fun facts to bring up at DC cocktail parties.