Discover Nature’s Beauty: United States Botanic Garden in Washington D.C.

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Step into a world of botanical marvels at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington D.C.! With over 200 years of history, this living plant museum offers a captivating and educational experience for visitors of all ages. From vibrant floral displays to serene garden landscapes, immerse yourself in the beauty of nature in the heart of The District. Explore the wonders of the plant kingdom and create unforgettable memories at the United States Botanic Garden!

United States Botanic Garden sign.

Situated in Washington, DC, the United States Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. (The Philadelphia Botanical Garden, founded in 1728, is the oldest.) Established in 1820, the garden features approximately 44,000 plants from around the world.

Woman, man, and dog walking underneath a tree canopy.

As part of its mission to educate and inspire, the Botanic Garden also offers educational programs for adults, families, and children. These programs range from hands-on workshops to tours of the gardens, as well as lectures and special events.

Plants growing underneath grow lights.
El Jefe pepper plant.

The Gardens

Visitors can explore three different areas: The Conservatory, Bartholdi Park, and the National Garden.

The Conservatory is the showpiece of the US Botanic Garden and houses a diverse plant collection from rainforests, deserts, aquatic habitats, and more. Inside you’ll find an impressive array of orchids, ferns, bromeliads, palms, and cacti. In addition to the array of living plants, visitors can also view a stunning collection of botanical artwork and artifacts from around the world.

Plants growing in the conservatory.

Bartholdi Park is home to several outdoor gardens featuring sustainable landscaping practices designed to conserve water, reduce erosion, and protect native species. These include an edible garden, a butterfly garden, and an understory garden filled with native wildflowers.

YouTube video

The National Garden is a collection of gated outdoor gardens that reflect the diversity of American landscapes. From formal to naturalistic, these gardens are a testament to the magnificent ways in which plants can provide wildlife habitats and enhance outdoor spaces. Not only that, but they’ll also tell a story, grow delicious food, and improve our lives.

Wooden garden sculpture called "O Say Can You See."
“O Say Can You See” by Patrick Dougherty

Features of the National Garden include the Regional Garden, designed to display plants native to specific to the Mid-Atlantic, the Rose Garden, the Pollinator Garden, the First Ladies Water Garden, the Lawn Terrace, and the Amphitheater.

United States Botanic Garden Facts

  • There are several specimens that date from the 1842 U.S. Exploring Expedition.
  • A non-profit organization, The  Friends of the U.S. Botanic Garden, was founded in 1991 to fund and build the National Garden using non-federal funds.
  • The Amphitheater was created with salvaged marble steps from the East Front of the U.S. Capitol.
  • Some of the food that is grown in the garden is picked and used in cooking demonstrations and classes.
  • The Pollinator Garden at the United States Botanic Garden is specially designed to provide food and a safe habitat for pollinators such as butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and other insects. In addition to providing nectar-rich flowers for them to feed on, the garden also provides nesting sites, sheltering plants, and protection from pesticides.
  • The garden has its own YouTube channel which features educational videos about its various plants and gardens, cooking demonstrations, and virtual tours. Other social media channels for the garden include Instagram and Facebook.
Large coffee plant in Washington, DC.
Coffee Plant

Is the US Botanic Garden free?

Yes, the United States Botanic Garden is free and open to the public. 

What is the difference between the U.S. Botanic Garden and Arboretum?

While both institutions are devoted to the education and preservation of plants, the National Arboretum conducts multi-disciplinary research, conservation of genetic resources, and interpretative gardens and exhibits.

The Botanic Garden, on the other hand, is primarily focused on exhibiting plants from around the world, with an emphasis on education.

Garden Court inside of the conservatory.


The U.S. Botanic Garden is open year-round (except for Christmas Day), so visitors can enjoy its beauty any time of the year. It is a great place to explore nature, learn about plants, and appreciate the beauty of the world around us.

  • The Conservatory is open from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
  • The outdoor gardens are open from 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
  • Bartholdi Fountain and Gardens is open from dawn until dusk.
View of the US Capitol building from the garden.


The Botanic Garden is located at 100 Maryland Ave SW. It is located near the United States Capitol and is one-half mile from the Library of Congress: James Madison Memorial Building.

Bartholdi Fountain and Gardens are located at 245 First Street SW – just across the street from the Botanic Garden.

The US Botanic Garden is a great place to explore nature, learn about plants and their importance in our lives, and breathe in the beauty of Washington DC’s diverse horticultural heritage. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a lifetime fan, the United States Botanic Garden.

Have you been to the United States Botanic Garden? What did you enjoy most?

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