National Arboretum

3501 New York Ave NE
Washington DC 20002
239 Reviews
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Opening Hours

  • Mon: 8am-5pm
  • Tue: 8am-5pm
  • Wed: 8am-5pm
  • Thu: 8am-5pm
  • Fri: 8am-5pm
  • Sat: 8am-5pm
  • Sun: 8am-5pm

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Established in 1927 by an act of Congress, the U.S. Arboretum's 446 acres provide opportunity for rest, recreation, and scientific study. Visitors will find gardens devoted to magnolias, azaleas and dogwoods among other plants as well as a grove of state trees. Gardeners and birders will find abundant resources as well as hikes and workshops. The arboretum is also home more than 150 bonsai plants, including a Japanese white pine that began as a bonsai in 1626.

Parking and public transportation at the U.S. National Arboretum
There is ample parking throughout the arboretum. Bicycling is encouraged and bike racks are located at each parking area. Visitors may access the arboretum via two entrances: one at 3501 New York Ave. NE, and the other at 24th & R Sts. NE, off Bladensburg Road. The closest Metrorail stop is Stadium Armory (blue/orange/silver lines.) From there, transfer to a B2 Metro bus towards Bladensburg Rd.

Best and worst times to go to the U.S. National Arboretum
There is always something in bloom, but the spring and summer months offer the most vibrant color and diversity of blooming plants at the arboretum. Check out blooming daffodils, and cherry and magnolia trees in March/April; azaleas, dogwoods and roses in May; and lilies and wildflowers in June.

Admission to the U.S. National Arboretum
The arboretum grounds are open daily (except December 25) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for federal holidays. Admission is free.

Must see/do at the U.S. National Arboretum
Don't miss the arboretum's National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. The pavilions and gardens are home to more than 150 bonsai plants including a 200-year-old Japanese red pine and a nearly 400-year-old Japanese white pine that began as a bonsai in 1626.

Other places to visit near the U.S. National Arboretum
Nature lovers will find nearby Kingman and Heritage Islands offer a range of activities from biking and hiking to birding and boating. The islands are just to the south of the arboretum in the Anacostia River. Or, take in a soccer game at the nearby RFK Stadium.

Insider tip for visitors to the U.S. National Arboretum
While the arboretum closes at 5 p.m. daily, night hikes are offered each month coinciding with the full moon. The hikes are at a brisk pace over uneven terrain and are designed to showcase the beauty of the arboretum's gardens, meadows and woods by night. Sign up early as the hikes fill up quickly.

Author's bio: Jennifer E. Cooper is a writer and sometimes artist who has lived in Washington, D.C. for more than a decade. She is currently writing a book about her 3,000-mile walk across the United States.