On Sunday my husband and I visited the National Arboretum for the first time, and fell head over heels in love with the place. We asked ourselves repeatedly, “Why haven’t we been here before?” For an outdoorsy couple that spends our weekends hiking, gardening, and biking – we were astonished to find that there was a world of unexplored trails, bike paths and secret gardens right at our doorstep.
The National Arboretum sits 10 minutes north of the Capitol building, and boasts 446 acres of trees, forests, gardens and greenery all within Washington D.C. There are 9.5 miles of winding roadways in the Arboretum – perfect for a leisurely bike ride through forests and glens. The Arboretum was established in 1927, by an act of Congress, and includes a wide variety of gardens and forests. There are the azalea, boxwood, daffodil, daylily, dogwood, holly, magnolia, and maple gardens. Garden collections also include aquatic plants, the Asian Collections, the Fern Valley Native Plant Collections, the Flowering Tree Collection, the Flowering Tree Walk, the Friendship Garden, the Gotelli Dwarf and Slow‑Growing Conifer Collection, the Introduction Garden, the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, the National Capitol Columns, the National Grove of State Trees, and the National Herb Garden. There are over 675 different species of plant life in the Arboretum, and while we were visiting the gardens we also saw deer, frogs, squirrels, chipmunks, a variety of birds, and too many beautiful bumblebees and ladybugs to count!
The Arboretum is open every day of the year (except Christmas Day) and is free. That’s right — one of the largest greenspace in downtown D.C. is open every day and is completely free! Plan your visit today!