Though Washington D.C is best-known for its monuments and museums, it also has a wide array of green spaces that offer respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. From the exotic plants of the U.S Botanic Garden to the hiking trails of Theodore Roosevelt Island, here are some of the best parks and gardens in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Botanic Garden
Next to the Capitol Building, the U.S. Botanic Garden is home to plants from across the globe, including azaleas, lilies, orchids, and a tropical rainforest that spans different environments in the Conservatory.
United States National Arboretum
As well as boasting 22 Corinthian columns that once formed part of the Capitol building, the United States National Arboretum showcases ornamental trees and plants, and is home to the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. One of the best times to visit is in spring, when the azalea collection is in bloom.
Theodore Roosevelt Island
Managed by the National Park Service, Theodore Roosevelt Island is a fitting memorial to America’s 26th President, who was known as the Great Conservationist. Perched on the banks of the Potomac River, the island is a wilderness preserve home to several hiking trails.
Washington National Cathedral Gardens
Sitting atop the highest point in the city, 59 acres (24 hectares) of landscaped gardens surround the Washington National Cathedral. Bishop's Garden is home to magnolias and orchids; Little Garden resembles a medieval herb garden; and Olmsted Woods is the last vestige of an extensive oak and beech forest.
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Especially appealing to birdwatchers, the 12-acre (5 hectare) Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is a National Park site where you can spot nesting, aquatic, and woodland birds such as night herons, indigo buntings, bald eagles, and great egrets. The gardens also feature exotic water lilies, which are celebrated during the annual 2-day Lotus and Water Lily Festival.