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Washington, D.C.'s Top 10 : Green Spaces

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  1. US Botanic Garden

    The gleaming glass-walled conservatory building is a beautiful home for this “living plant museum.” Microclimates, such as desert, oasis, and jungle, reveal the variety and beauty of plant adaptations. Don’t miss the primitive ferns and other plants dating back 150 million years. Outside is the variegated National Garden with an environmental learning center .

    US Botanic Garden

    US Botanic Garden
  2. Enid A. Haupt Garden

    This “rooftop” garden is inspired by the culture on display beneath it in the Smithsonian Museums. The Island Garden beside the Sackler Gallery reflects the Asian world, with its moon gate, pools, and cherry and beech trees. The Fountain Garden, next to the Museum of African Art, sets a Moorish tone, with cascading waters and shaded seats.

    • 10th St & Independence Ave, NW

    • Open Memorial Day–Sep 30: 6:30am– 8pm daily; Oct–Memorial Day: 7am– 5:45pm daily

    • Free

    • Dis. access

  3. Dumbarton Oaks

    Magnificent trees, including ancient oaks, soar above the park and gardens surrounding this historic Federal-style house. Designed by Beatrix Jones Farrand, the gardens range from formal to more casual settings. From March to October they are ablaze with wisteria, roses, lilies, perennial borders, and chrysanthemums. Pools and fountains tie the verdant ensemble together .

  4. National Arboretum

    A world-acclaimed bonsai display – some of the bantam trees are almost 400 years old – is one of the many collections that flourish season to season on these 446 acres dedicated to research, preservation, and education. Azaleas, dogwoods, holly, magnolias, herbs, roses, and boxwoods abound. A stand of columns, formerly on the US Capitol, adds a classical air.

    • 3501 New York Ave, NE

    • Open 8:30am– 4:30pm daily

    • Free

    • Dis. access

    Chinese Pavilion, National Arboretum
  5. Rock Creek Park

    This vast national park meanders with its namesake creek, offering something for everyone: woodland trails, 30 picnic areas, 25 tennis courts, a golf course, playing fields, and nature programs for kids and adults .

    Pierce Mill, Rock Creek Park
  6. C&O Canal

    Canalboats on this 184-mile (295-km) waterway, dating back to the early 19th century, carried cargo between Maryland and Georgetown for 100 years before the railroad put it out of business. The canal is now a National Historical Park, a haven for walkers and cyclists along its towpath and for canoeists and boaters in its waters. Catch a mule-drawn boat ride at Georgetown or Great Falls.

  7. Theodore Roosevelt Island

    This wooded island on the Potomac River is the perfect memorial to the president remembered as a conservationist. A 17-ft (5-m) statue of Teddy Roosevelt is the centerpiece of what otherwise is a monument to nature – a space for birdwatching, hiking, and fishing.

    • George Washington Parkway

    • Open dawn to dusk daily

    • Free

    • Dis. access

    Theodore Roosevelt Island
  8. Bartholdi Park and Fountain

    The French sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (1834–1904), also created this reflection of belle époque majesty. The 30-ft (9-m) sculpture’s three caryatids support a circular basin surmounted by three tritons. A small garden surrounds the fountain like the setting for a gemstone .

  9. Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

    The 14-acre Aquatic Gardens began as a hobby for W.B. Shaw in 1882, then became a commercial water garden, where many varieties of water lilies were developed. Now a national park, the gardens are home to water lilies and lotuses, plus many varieties of birds, frogs, turtles, and butterflies. Adjacent Kenilworth Park features acres of recreational areas and meadows.

    Gardens

    • 1550 Anacostia Ave, SE

    • Open 8am–4pm daily

    • Free

    • Dis. access

    Park

    • Kenilworth & Burroughs Aves

    • Open 8am–4pm daily; closed Thanks-giving, Christmas, Jan 1

    • Free

    • Dis. access

  10. Glover Archbold Trail

    From Van Ness Street to the Potomac River, this 3-mile (5-km) trail in the northwest of the city passes beneath 200-year-old trees that host an abundance of birds, in keeping with its designation as a bird sanctuary in 1924. The trail hooks up with the C&O Canal towpath, and other routes.

    • South of Tenleytown Metro station on Wisconsin Ave, then left on Van Ness St, NW

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