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“Awesome! - a relaxing getaway for all ages.”

U.S. National Arboretum
Ranked #35 of 442 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Established in 1927 by an Act of the United States Congress, this national treasure contains 446 acres of fabulous flora and fauna and is especially known for its Asian, azalea and conifer collections.
Stafford, Virginia
Level Contributor
51 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Awesome! - a relaxing getaway for all ages.”
Reviewed 24 April 2013

My wife and I recently visited the National Arboretum to check out the Bonsai trees. They were amazing! But the park offers green thumbs and bird lovers much more. There is a beautiful herb garden adjacent to the Bonsai exhibit that has hundreds of different herbs on display - many of them include a "touch me" sign, asking visitors to get hands on with the display. Pretty uncommon! The lavender and rosemary plants left our hands smelling equally fragrant and delicious! I'm not much of a history buff, but there were interesting tidbits sprinkled in with the herbs. For example - I didn't know that the roots of the Madder herb were boiled and used as a dye for British redcoat uniforms. Pretty neat! After checking out the amazing bonsai and herb gardens we strolled through the azalea trail checking out all the spring blossoms. We discovered there is equally good bird viewing so bring your binoculars if that is your thing. The park is wide open with trails and open spaces mixed in, allowing kids to run around and parents to mosey along. Maybe the cooler weather kept more folks from coming (as the large parking lot was mostly empty when we arrived mid-day), but we sure enjoyed our couple hour visit and plan on coming back soon!

Visited April 2013
3 Thank skijumper_311
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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506 reviews from our community

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Knoxville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
199 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“Little-visited attraction”
Reviewed 17 April 2013

The National Arboretum is not all that easy to get to. It's way out on New York Avenue. You need a car to get there. However, it's worth the trip. The real jewel here is the bonsai tree collection. It's magnificent. One negative: they (the federal government, of course) prohibit ball playing, frisbee throwing, basically anything fun, on the vast grassy areas at the Arboretum. I really don't understand why this should be the case. Allowing people to actually have fun at the Arboretum might even enhance utilization of this nice, wide-open space.

Visited April 2013
Thank David A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
District Height
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great gathering place”
Reviewed 14 April 2013

I love the Arboretum,. but we used to come for an Easter egg hunt, but was informed on our last visit that we could not partake in this event anymore. The part has no area for activities of this nature. I understand it is a park for plants and agriculture, but we need an area in the park for the children to also have fun as they learn.

Visited May 2012
Thank Leslie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
99 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
“Only go at the RIGHT time of year”
Reviewed 9 April 2013

Don't bother going here in winter or early spring, as there isn't much to see. We visited the park the first week of April, so early spring (DC is having a very cold spring this year, so flowers/tree leaves are coming out very late). To be honest, there wasn't much to see. Trees were still bare, hardly any flowers (seemed to be only daffodils), a few cherry blossom and tulip magnolia blossom trees, but that's it. Lots and lots of bare trees and hardly any flowers. I am POSITIVE that this is a beautiful place, but when you visit at the wrong time of year, there just isn't much to see. The Capitol Columns are very cool, but again, the fountains weren't turned on yet, so that too, looked desolate.

This is a HUGE place and we only got to explore some of it. Had it been, say, July instead of early April, I'm sure we would've stayed here the whole day. The bonsai trees were really cool.

Also, this is located in a high crime area! There is no nearby metro stop. You can get here via bus + metro but...just DON'T. Only come here if you have a car. (Yes, your vehicle will be safe in the free parking lot. This is a true oasis in one of DC's bad neighborhoods).

Visited April 2013
1 Thank OwlYaDoing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
131 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 315 helpful votes
“Peaceful Spot in downtown Washington DC”
Reviewed 8 April 2013

Great spot for a walk, run or just exploring with grounds. Truly a special place right in DC. Besides the beautiful collection of trees, shrubs and flowers be sure to see a spectacular view of the monuments from the highest vantage point in DC. Literally. You are above the Washington Monument, Capitol, etc and the vistas are stunning. "Hidden" on the grounds are the old colmns from the renovation of the US Capitol. Certain times of the year they have night tours. The tours are fun and give a completely different prespective of the grounds. Sign up early as they fillup fast!

There are very limited services here but you can bring your own picnic. It is not on a Metro line so a car is needed however it is worth the effort! Enjoy this secret spot in DC.

Visited March 2013
Thank brooksz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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