Frequently Asked Questions
What is an arboretum?An arboretum is a living museum where trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes.
How do I get to the Arboretum - can you please give me directions?
The National Arboretum is located in the northeast section of Washington, DC, approximately 10 minutes from the Capitol Building. There are two entrances: one at 3501 New York Avenue, NE, and the other at 24th & R Streets, NE, off Bladensburg Road.
- From Northwest Washington: Follow New York Avenue east to the intersection of Bladensburg Road. Turn right (south) onto Bladensburg Road and go 4 blocks to R Street. Make a left on R Street and continue 2 blocks to the Arboretum gates.
- From the Maryland suburbs: Take the Capital Beltway (I 495/I 95) to exit 22B towards Washington. Follow the Baltimore Washington Parkway approximately 7 miles to New York Avenue. Get in your left lane. You will approach the intersection of Bladensburg Road where only the two left lanes turn onto Bladensburg Road. Make the left onto Bladensburg Road and go 4 blocks to R Street. Make a left on R Street and continue 2 blocks to the Arboretum gates.
- From Virginia (I 395): Follow I 395 north over the 14th Street Bridge. Follow signs until the freeway ends at New York Avenue. Turn right onto New York Avenue and follow New York Avenue east to the intersection of Bladensburg Road. Turn right (south) onto Bladensburg Road and go 4 blocks to R Street. Make a left on R Street and continue 2 blocks to the Arboretum gates.
- From Virginia (I 95 and I 295): Follow I 95 North and cross the Wilson Bridge. Stay in the right lane over the bridge. Bear onto the I 95/I 295 North to Washington. Follow I 295 to the exit Rt. 50 West - New York Avenue and continue on Rt. 50 (New York Avenue) to Bladensburg Road where only the two left lanes turn onto Bladensburg Road. Make the left onto Bladensburg Road and go 4 blocks to R Street. Make a left on R Street and continue 2 blocks to the Arboretum gates.
- From Virginia (I 66): Cross the Roosevelt Bridge and follow Constitution Avenue past the Capitol Building. Bear left onto Maryland Avenue. Follow Maryland Avenue to Bladensburg Road. Make a left onto Bladensburg Road and travel 1 mile to R Street. Make a right onto R Street and continue 2 block to the Arboretum gates.
Are you near a Metro subway stop?The closest Metrorail subway stop is Stadium Armory Station on the Blue and Orange lines. Transfer to Metrobus B-2; disembark the bus on Bladensburg Road and walk 2 blocks to R Street. Make a right on R Street and continue 2 blocks to the Arboretum gates.
When is the Arboretum open to the public?
The grounds are open Fridays through Mondays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm; the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum is open Fridays through Mondays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The grounds are closed to the public Tuesday through Thursday and December 25th. Admission is free.
The Administration Building is open Friday through Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and closed on Federal holidays November through February.
The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum is open Friday through Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and closed on Federal holidays November through February.
The Arbor House Gift Shop is open Friday through Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from March 1 through mid-DecemberIs there an entrance fee?No. Admission is free to everyone.
Is there parking on the grounds and is there a fee?There is ample free parking. Large lots are locate near the Grove of State Trees, near the R Street entrance, and near the New York Avenue entrance. Smaller lots are scattered throughout the grounds.
What's in bloom?There are always blooming trees or plants. See the What's Blooming page or the Current Hot Spots listing.
How do I tour the U.S. National Arboretum?By car, bus, or bicycle: Nine miles of roadways wind through and connect the numerous gardens and collections on our 446-acre campus. Small parking areas can be found near most of the major collections. Bicycling is encouraged on the roadways and bicycle racks are located at each parking area. Bus tours usually follow a prescribed route and may be accompanied by a guide who can tell you more about the Arboretum.
On foot: If you are disabled or prefer a short walking tour, you may visit four beautiful areas that are easily accessible and situated adjacent to each other-the Aquatic Garden and Koi Pond surrounding the Administration Building, the Friendship Garden, the National Herb Garden, and the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Serious hikers will also find many intriguing trails throughout the Arboretum.
By tram: A tram for touring the grounds was introduced in the fall of 1997. Check this separate web page for more information on Tram Tours.
What special events are taking place today, this weekend, this month, or next year?See the Calendar for a complete listing of Arboretum programs and activities.
Is there a place to eat on the Arboretum grounds?
For special events such as the annual garden fair, bonsai festival, and orchid show, there is a food vendor on site. The Arbor House Gift Shop stocks a variety of snacks, and beverage vending machines are located near the Arbor House restrooms. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic, which they may enjoy in the picnic area at the National Grove of State Trees. Please do not picnic elsewhere on the grounds.
Do you have public restrooms, water fountains, and public telephones?Restrooms and water fountains are located in the Administration Building and Arbor House. Other water fountains are shown on the Arboretum Visitor Guide, which you will receive when you arrive. Public telephones are located in the Administration Building and Arbor House.
Do you allow wedding ceremonies or wedding receptions?Wedding ceremonies and receptions are not permitted. However, photographs of the wedding party is allowed for a fee. We are happy to provide you with a list of other places with outdoor locations that do permit these events.
Do you have guided tours?Guided tours are offered with three weeks advance notice for groups of ten (10) or more. The tram, in addition to its regular weekend and holiday tours, may be rented for private group tours.
I'm looking for a specific plant. Where is it located on the grounds? Can you provide general information on the care of a plant I am interested in and tell me where I can purchase it?The grounds map designates locations of general collections. Specific plants or varieties of plants can be located with assistance from the Arboretum's Plant Records Department. When you arrive at the Arboretum, ask the receptionist for assistance in finding the plant that you are interested in.
Check our Gardening Page for information on the care of a particular plant you are interested in. If you cannot find the information there, contact your local extension service for this information.
We are unable at this time to provide you guidance on where you can purchase a specific plant. To be fair to everyone in the nursery industry, we feel we must provide all the sources for a given plant and we currently lack the resources to be able to do this. Tips on finding a source for that special plant you are looking for may be found on our Plant Sources Page.
Do you have a Gift Shop?
Yes. The Arbor House Gift Shop features "Gifts and Books for the Horticulturally Minded" and is located in the Arbor House. The Arbor House Gift Shop is open Friday through Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from March 1 through mid-December. The Arbor House Gift Shop is operated by the National Capital Area Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc., and is staffed primarily by volunteers. They accept MasterCard and Visa, and offer a 10% discount to card-carrying members of the Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) on purchases of $10 or more. Tel: 202-399-5958. Sorry, no mail orders!
Note: Visiting members of 120 other Botanical Gardens and Arboreta nationwide will also receive a 10% discount in the Gift Shop upon presentation of membership cards.