10 Remarkable Botanical Gardens You Can’t Miss in the U.S.

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: July 13, 2023
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There is nothing quite like spending a Sunday afternoon strolling through a lush botanical garden. Along with the opportunity to view rare plant species, gardens can enhance well-being. Immersion in nature has many cognitive benefits and can improve mood and mental health. All the more reason to check out these picks of the most remarkable botanical gardens in the U.S. Learn about their locations, attractions, pricing, and the best time to visit.

The New York Botanical Garden is 250 acres of plant displays in the middle of the bustling city of The Bronx.

What Are Botanical Gardens?

Botanical gardens offer displays of many plant species for the enjoyment of the public. But they also have other purposes, such as education, scientific study, and conservation. These public establishments can be free or paid. They feature proper labeling, monitoring, and documentation of all plants. Many people enjoy leisurely strolling through botanical gardens, sightseeing, and taking pictures. However, botanical gardens also offer restaurants, classes, concerts, and other seasonal activities. Without further ado, let’s check out the best botanical gardens in the U.S.

1. Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden

The Atlanta Botanical Garden features dazzling displays and shady woodlands.

©PKQ/Shutterstock.com

Location: Located in Atlanta, these botanical gardens feature 30 acres adjacent to Piedmont Park in Midtown. Magical and serene, the Atlanta Botanical Garden features dazzling displays, canopies, and shady woodlands.

Main Attractions: Children’s Garden, Storza Woods, Skyline Garden, Earth Goddess, Orchid Center, Alice’s Wonderland

Price: Adult – $26.95 (weekday), child – $23.95, three and under – free

Best Time to Visit: Spring weekdays

2. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens

The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens are one of the most remarkable botanical gardens in the U.S.

©Shane Myers Photography/Shutterstock.com

Location: These botanical gardens are south of the Ko’olau Mountains in Oahu, Hawaii. Regarded as one of the best gardens in the world, the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens display 400 acres of lush tropical plants from around the world.

Main Attractions: Southeast Asia and Polynesia gardens, nature trails, birding, and fishing

Price: Free

Best Time to Visit: April and May weekdays

3. Washington Park Arboretum

Seattle Japanese garden

The Japanese Garden is the highlight of this Washington Park botanical garden.

©Roman Khomlyak/Shutterstock.com

Location: Washington Park is a public park, but most of it is dedicated to the arboretum. Located in Seattle, this botanical garden features plants from all over the world and paved walkways winding through colorful and dense vegetation. It’s 230 acres and lies on the shores of Lake Washington.

Main Attractions: Japanese Garden, Washington Park Playfield, Broadmoor Golf Club, Pacific Connections Gardens, and Rhododendron Glen

Price: Free for the arboretum, $8 per adult for the Japanese Gardens ($4 for youth)

Best Time to Visit: Fall and spring

4. New York Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden spans 250 acres of the Bronx.

©Thomas Barrat/Shutterstock.com

Location: Located in the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden is 250 acres of plant displays in the middle of a bustling city. It is a living museum and research and educational institution in one of the greatest cities on Earth. You can walk through everything from old-growth forests to native plant gardens, rock gardens, and herbaceous peonies.

Main Attractions: Bronx River Forest, Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, Thain Family Forest, Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden

Price: Adults – $35, Children – $15, two and under – free

Best Time to Visit: April, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom

5. United States Botanic Garden

us botanical garden exterior

The United States Botanic Garden has a long history.

©iStock.com/dkfielding

Location: This botanical garden sits on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Established by Congress in 1820, the United States Botanic Garden is one of the oldest on the continent. This vibrant garden is an excellent place for history buffs and nature lovers alike. The grounds feature exotic and rare plants and a butterfly garden.

Main Attractions: Tropical Room, Mediterranean Room, monument replicas, carnivorous plants

Price: Free

Best Time to Visit: Spring and summer early weekday mornings, Winter also offers some great displays

6. Florida Botanical Gardens

Florida Botanical Gardens

The Florida Botanical Gardens is a tropical oasis.

©Aaron Alvarez/Shutterstock.com

Location: Spanning 182 acres in Largo, Florida, the Florida Botanical Gardens is a tropical oasis, featuring native plants, desert landscapes, fruit gardens, palm tree gardens, and butterfly gardens.

Main Attractions: Palm Garden, Tropical Fruit Garden, Butterfly Garden, Herbs Garden, Wildlife Lookout, Children’s Garden (coming soon)

Price: Free

Best Time to Visit: Spring through summer early in the morning before the heat sets in

7. Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens with cherry blossoms

Descanso Gardens has nine different garden displays.

©iStock.com/Wolterk

Location: This Southern California spot is one of the best botanical gardens in the U.S. Descanso Gardens covers 150 acres in La Canada Flintridge, California, near Los Angeles. There are a total of nine different gardens, a mini railroad, a museum, an art gallery, a gift shop, and a cafe.

Main Attractions: Japanese Garden, California Garden, Lakeside Lookout, Cherry Canyon Trail, Ancient Forest

Price: Adults – $15, children – $5, four years and under – free

Best Time to Visit: Late winter through summer

8. Desert Botanical Garden

Echinocereus coccineus, scarlet hedgehog cactus

The Desert Botanical Garden displays flowers like the

Echinocereus coccineus

, scarlet

hedgehog

cactus.

©iStock.com/jherse16

Location: Looking for something a little different? Check out the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s 140 acres in Papago Park among the red rocks of the Papago Buttes. These gardens offer a unique experience, featuring many types of cacti and other desert plants. Plus, stop by during the holidays when the plants are dressed up in Christmas lights. 

Main Attractions: Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower, Center for Desert Living Trail, Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert, Gertrude’s Restaurant

Price: $16.95, children two and under – free

Best Time to Visit: Spring and summer evenings, early spring days

9. Missouri Botanical Garden

Botanical Gardens in Missouri

The Garden is home to a range of cherry blossom species, from Higan to Kwanzan.

©Zach Coburn/Shutterstock.com

Location: This historic garden was founded in 1859 and features 79 scenic acres in St. Louis, Missouri. There are many things to see and experience at the Missouri Botanical Garden, including a greenhouse dome, Victorian homes, a butterfly house, and much more.

Main Attractions: Climatron, Japanese Garden, Tower Grove house, Steven and Peter Sachs Museum, Whitaker Festival, Linnean House

Price: General admission – $14, St. Louis residents – $6

Best Time to Visit: Spring and summer evenings, anytime in March and April

10. Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden

Located in Glencoe, this Japanese Garden is picturesque and full of over 150 cherry blossom trees.

©elesi/Shutterstock.com

Location: Located in the Cook County Forest Preserves, the Chicago Botanic Garden is 385 acres in Glencoe, Illinois. There are 27 gardens in several habitats, such as prairies, woods, river corridors, lakes, and shores.

Main Attractions: Waterfall Garden, Japanese Garden, Model Railroad Garden, Aquatic Garden

Price: Varies by day from free to $19.95

Best Time to Visit: Spring and summer

A Summary of the U.S. Top 10 Remarkable Botanical Gardens:

RankBotanical GardenLocation
1Atlanta Botanical GardenAtlanta, Georgia
2Ho’omaluhia Botanical GardenOahu, Hawaii
3Washington Park ArboretumSeattle, Washington
4New York Botanical GardenBronx, New York City
5United States Botanic GardenWashington, D.C.
6Florida Botanical GardensLargo, Florida
7Descanso GardensLa Canada Flintridge, California
8Desert Botanical GardenPhoenix, Arizona
9Missouri Botanical GardenSt. Louis, Missouri
10Chicago Botanic GardenGlencoe, Illinois

The photo featured at the top of this post is © PKQ/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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