5 Reasons to Visit the U.S. National Arboretum in D.C.

What do you do when you've visited all of the monuments on the National Mall? Head to the U.S. National Arboretum for a healing dose of nature, and even more DC historical sightings.

Escape the Hustle
Packing onto the metro like sardines, edging along I-66 during rush hour, slogging through the self-checkout line - the DC metro area can really test your patience. Why not escape the hustle and meander down tree-lined pathways and perfectly manicured gardens at the U.S. National Arboretum? Take the dog for a long stroll, go for your weekly long run or find the perfect park bench for an afternoon of solitary reading and reflection. The Arboretum offers 446 acres of pure escape.

National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington D.C.
Kacy Kish​

Inhale Fresh Herbs
The National Herb Garden is always in bloom with seasonally rotating beds of beautiful and aromatic plants. Breathe deep and your workday stress will quickly melt away.

Discover the Art of Penjing
Is the chaos of the impending holidays starting to make you feel your age? Check out the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum inside the Arboretum where you'll find bonsai trees dating back to 1625, and still looking good. Walking through this collection of perfect landscaping and attention to detail is sure to channel your inner zen.

Get Lost in the Asian Collections
Lace up your sneakers and go for a hike through this impressive collection of Asian species offering stunning landscaping, towering trees and even views of the Anacostia River.

See the Old Capitol Columns
You can still get your monument fix if you walk from the herb garden into the grassy meadow housing the historic National Capitol Columns, a picturesque exhibit popular for first dates and engagement photos. These columns date back to 1828, when they were part of the U.S. Capitol Building. After a new iron dome was added to the Capitol in 1864, the columns proved insufficient to support the large addition and were moved to storage. It wasn't until the 1980s when they were relocated to this beautiful location.

Kacy Kish has lived in Washington D.C. for four years. She writes about the District and travel-related adventures on her blog Bad Sentences.