There's nothing quite like beautiful blooms and vibrant leaves swaying in the gentle breeze under a clear blue sky. Whether you're on a road trip, visiting the in-laws, or simply looking for something local to do, these public gardens are worth paying a visit. (Two are free!)
New York Botanical Garden - New York City, New York
The New York Botanical Garden is a 250-acre site in Bronx Park containing over one million living plants. Savor the deliciously green Conifer Arboretum, take a walk through the serene Native Plant Garden, and feel at peace amongst the alpine flowers nestled along the texturally appealing rock formations. The quiet natural beauty within the New York Botanical Garden is a much welcomed contrast to the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city.
United States Botanic Garden - Washington, DC
Located on the grounds of the United States Capitol in DC, the United States Botanic Garden is free for all to enjoy. Over 200 years ago, George Washington had a vision for the capital city of the United States that included a botanic garden to demonstrate and promote the importance of plants. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, it is the oldest continuously operating public garden in the United States. Over one million annual visitors admire the rare and endangered plants, orchid house, medicinal flora, desert species and jungle room, among many other notable leafy residents.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Richmond, Virginia
With over 50 acres of dazzling gardens, dining, and shopping, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers year-round beauty. Explore inside the classical domed Conservatory, and walk through over a dozen themed gardens, enjoying the delicate roses, popcornesque cherry tree blossoms, and water lilies. Planning a wedding? Recite your vows amongst the copious blooms while songbirds twitter in the distance.
Atlanta Botanical Garden - Atlanta Georgia
Cocktails in the garden? Yes please! Similarly to other gardens mentioned here, the Atlanta Botanical Garden offers events and exhibitions as well as classes and education for guests. Whether you're interested in Thomas Dambo's exhibition of enormous folklore-inspired sculptures built from reclaimed materials, sampling tasty bites at a hyper-local food festival, or enjoying a variety of live performances from some of Atlanta's best storytellers, puppeteers, musicians and dance companies, the 30-acre Atlanta Botanical Garden offers something special for nearly everyone. The beautifully manicured gardens alone are worth visiting.
Chicago Botanic Garden - Chicago Illinois
The Chicago Botanic Garden boasts 385 acres of nature ready to explore. This garden welcomes viewers of all ages and levels of mobility. Allow your little ones to roll down the hills of the Nature Play Garden, and admire wondrous butterflies enjoying the sweet nectar of seasonal blooms before stopping by the Model Railroad Garden. Wanting a low-key tour requiring little movement? Take in the bountiful garden on one of the Grand Tram Tours.
Missouri Botanical Garden - St. Louis, Missouri
Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the nation's oldest botanical gardens in continuous operation and considered a National Historic Landmark. The expansive garden includes 79 acres of beauty, including an impressive Japanese garden, historic architecture, and one of the world's largest collections of rare and endangered plants. View unique life, such as the corpse flower, and enjoy Chihuly's magnificent pieces of blown glass during your visit.
Desert Botanical Garden - Phoenix, Arizona
A garden in the desert?? The unique Desert Botanical Garden is a must-see, included on nearly all top U.S. garden lists. Drift through five thematic trails and take in the fascinating beauty of the Sonoran Desert. This garden is home to thousands of species of captivating cactus, colorful flowers, and trees from all around the world. If you have the time, take advantage of the various adult and children's classes available to guests. Desert cooking anyone?
Lotusland - Montecito, California
Although ticket prices may be a bit spendy, the majority of visitors claim their visit was well worth the price. Recognized as one of the most iconic public gardens in the US, Lotusland is celebrated for its fascinating inception, avant-garde landscaping, sustainability, and its magical atmosphere. Explore the 37 acre property through a docent-lead tour, or choose to navigate the exotic grounds on your own terms.
Portland Japanese Garden - Portland, Oregon
After you've sampled the amazing eats that the city has to offer, take a trip to the Portland Japanese Garden to walk off that food coma. Enjoy a variety of gardens as you meander along the winding paths. Admire the Sand and Stone Garden, then drift through the Natural Garden before heading over to the Strolling Pond Garden. The Japanese maples really put on a show, vibrant, delicate leaves dancing in the soft breeze, offering shade for the koi.
Bellevue Botanical Garden - Bellevue, Washington
The Bellevue Botanical Garden may not be as vast as some of the gardens mentioned above; however, the peaceful space is home to a variety of thriving flora. Wander past the colorful perennials buzzing with joyful bees, listen to the waterfall cascading into a modest pond graced with lilies, then stroll through the lush Japanese garden before hitting the PNW trails to take a walk over the suspension bridge. Admission is free—the holiday light display viewing requires purchasing a ticket. P.S. The Aquor office is within walking distance! Needless to say we're frequent visitors.