Visiting the National Arboretum in Washington DC

The National Arboretum is a tranquil piece of urban nature located in the outskirts of Washington D.C. It is an ideal for locals to visit because it is not a tourist-y location, but if you happen to enjoy being outdoors and walking around urban parks, the National Arboretum could be a lovely place for you to have a picnic. It’s also completely free to visit and there’s readily available (free) parking.


During my visit to the National Arboretum, the azaleas in the Lee Azalea Garden were in peak bloom. I did not plan to be there during peak bloom, but I am glad for the coincidence! The bright pinks, reds, purples, oranges, and whites of the azaleas popped among the green trees and foliage. I wish that we had smell-o-vision because the smell of the blossoms was incredible! I love the smell of nature, or as my grandma puts it, “a well-tended garden,” and the blossoms smelled amazing.

IMG_2753Speaking of smell-o-vision, the arboretum had a lilac plant and it smelled amazing! I sat near the lilacs for several minutes, just enjoying their scent and the scenery. It was also raining on and off the entire time I was at the arboretum, so I often had to stop under a tree until the rain stopped, and the lilacs were a perfect stop during the rain.

While I was at the arboretum, a bald eagle family had apparently nested somewhere in the arboretum! Unfortunately, pedestrians are not allowed anywhere near the nest and they had signs posted everywhere restricting the bald eagle nesting zone. In the visitor center, they have a live camera feed from the nest so while you can’t physically see the nest, you can see what’s happening from the camera feed.

This is the sign that was posted in specific areas where the bald eagles had made their nest.

The arboretum has various gardens that visitors can walk through and enjoy. There is a Japanese pavilion and garden, and a Chinese garden. There are so many bonsai trees in these gardens and they’re so cute!


The arboretum also has an herb garden, which I found fascinating and inspired me to grow my own garden one day (it’s on my bucket list!).


Also at the National Arboretum are the National Capitol Columns. These columns are the original Corinthian columns that belonged to the old United States Capitol building. The columns were put in the arboretum within the last decade and among a large meadow and reflecting pool. It is amazing to see the detail that went into these sandstone columns and feel the history behind them.

I concluded my visit to the arboretum by eating some snacks and enjoying my last minutes there. I would love to come back someday but I’m not sure when I will be able to. Shortly after I left, it began raining in earnest so I’m very glad that I left when I did!


All photos displayed in this post were taken by Emmalee Mauldin and are completely unedited.


For more information about the National Arboretum, visit their website!


Thank you for reading! Have you ever visited the National Arboretum? Did this post make you want to visit it? I hope so! Let me know and like this post!




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