Listed below are arboretums and botanical gardens* in cities throughout the Puget Sound region. Most gardens specialize in one or more aspects of Pacific Northwest native plants. A few offer non-native varieties and some have exotic specimens from far flung corners of the globe.
These public gardens are regularly open to visitors, some all year long and others on a seasonal basis. Most of these gardens are open dawn to dusk and have free admission. About one-third have a modest entrance fee.
Be sure to check the garden’s website before you head out to confirm hours, holiday closures, directions, entrance fees, ADA accessibility, pet and picnic policies, suitability for children, and other details.
*An arboretum or botanical garden is a place where plants are grown (trees, shrubs, vines, herbs, perennials, etc.), often for scientific or educational purposes, as well as for display and enjoyment by visitors. Most gardens have a focus in the types of plants they grow. Examples include: native plants, natural forests, cultivated or wild gardens, woodland gardens, wetlands, and English or Asian gardens, to name a few. Others may offer several different types of these and other gardens within their landscape.
About Garden Tours
Many of the gardens in the following lists encourage free self-guided tours by providing signs, maps, and guides which you can download from their website or pickup when you arrive.
Some of these Puget Sound gardens also offer docent-led guided tours. (A docent is someone trained to be a guide. Most, if not all docents at these gardens are volunteers who simply love gardens and want to share knowledge with others.) Some of the guided tours are free, but donations are gladly accepted. All gardens appreciate donations to help defray costs.
Following the list of gardens in Seattle, Tacoma, and other cities throughout the Puget Sound region, you’ll find an event calendar of upcoming docent-led tours.
Love our cheap ideas? Get our FREE email newsletters. Choose from daily, weekly, and monthly lists. Click here to subscribe.
Seattle arboretums and botanical gardens
(Listed by zip code)
Woodland Park Rose Garden, 750 N. 50th Street, Seattle, WA 98103. Flower lovers can enjoy 2.5 acres of formal landscape and nearly 3000 roses representing over 200 different varieties. The large variety of roses blend elegantly with the garden’s formal architectural design to create a memorable showcase landscape. Since 2006 the Rose Garden has been pesticide-free; therefore, spent flowers are fed to animals in the zoo, most notably the gorillas, which have become quite fond of them. Open from 7:30 a.m. until dusk every day. Free admission.
The Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH), 3501 NE 41st St, Seattle WA 98105. Part of UW Botanic Gardens encompasses two sites: Washington Park Arboretum and the Center for Urban Horticulture. CUH includes two site on the north side of Union Bay: a 16-acre landscaped site with gardens and buildings (Elisabeth C. Miller horticultural lending library and the Hyde Herbarium) and the 74-acre Union Bay Natural Area. The buildings are open business hours Monday-Saturday. The gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk. Free admission. The Union Bay Natural Area is a premier birdwatching site in the City of Seattle. More than 200 bird species have been sighted there. It is also an outdoor research laboratory for the UW School of Environmental & Forest Sciences. The area is open daily from dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Seattle Chinese Garden, 5640 16th Ave. SW, Seattle WA 98106. The Seattle Chinese Garden borders the South Seattle College Arboretum. Located in West Seattle on the northern edge of the South Seattle Community College campus with commanding views of downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay and the Cascade Mountains. Development of the 4.6-acre Seattle Chinese Garden is ongoing, but will be one of the largest Chinese gardens outside of China, showcasing not only plants, but also stone, architecture and water elements that are customary to Chinese gardens. Dense and complex, it will change dramatically with each season. The Chinese Garden inspires global understanding by immersing visitors in the richness and beauty of Chinese culture. The beautiful “coming together space” is a Sichuan style that celebrates Seattle’s rich Chinese heritage and supports Seattle’s business and cultural relationship with China. Download guides on their website for free self-guided walking tours. The garden is open Tuesday to Sunday. Free admission, donations are gratefully accepted.
South Seattle College Arboretum, 6000 16th Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98106. The SCC Arboretum borders the Seattle Chinese Garden. Established in 1978 for Landscape Horticulture Program college students to serve as their living laboratory. The 5-acre site is located at the north end of campus on a bluff over looking the downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay and the West Duwamish Greenbelt. As part of their studies, students designed and built the Arboretum. It is used as a laboratory for courses in plant identification, arboriculture, pruning, irrigation, garden renovation, plant problem diagnostics, landscape management and landscape construction courses. The Arboretum is also used as an outdoor classroom by professional horticulturists, hobby gardeners and other college programs. Download guides on their website for free self-guided walking tours. The arboretum is open daily from dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden, 3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107. Carl S. English Jr. transformed the grounds around the Ballard Locks into a lovely 7-acre English-style estate garden. Carl also helped to develop the waterside plantings along the Fremont and Montlake Cuts that are part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. He retired in 1974 as one of the Northwest’s leading horticulturists. The ground are open daily 7:00AM TO 9:00PM. Free admission.
Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle, WA 98112. Part of UW Botanic Gardens encompasses two sites: Washington Park Arboretum and the Center for Urban Horticulture. The Arboretum, located on the south side of Union Bay in central Seattle, offers year-round interest along the trails that wind through 230 acres of gardens, natural areas, and wetlands. It’s an ideal place for a short or long walk, a brisk, birdwatching, photography, or exploring nature in a tranquil and beautiful setting. Near the visitor center are the volunteer-operated Plant Donations Nursery and Pat Calvert Greenhouse. Visitors are welcome to browse the plants selections and purchase plants at the Arboretum Shop during normal operating hours. The Nursery and Greenhouse offer popular and unusual plants at great values, including young trees, shrubs, perennials, and bonsai starts grown from seeds or cuttings taken primarily from the Arboretum collection plants. The Foundation also hosts several plant sales and garden shows throughout the year. All sales support maintenance and programs at the Washington Park Arboretum. The arboretum is open daily from dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Washington Park Arboretum tours and plant sales
Find these events on our garden calendar below or visit the Arboretum Foundation Event Calendar.
- Free 1st Thursday Tours at Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle. Offered on the first Thursday of each month, January-November. Tailored for an adult audience, each tour will cover history, programs, and plant collections at the Washington Park Arboretum, highlighting plants and gardens of seasonal interest. Tours depart from the Graham Visitors Center at 11:30am. No preregistration necessary. More info: https://botanicgardens.uw.edu/washington-park-arboretum/activities/free-public-tours/
- Self-guided tours. Print out a trail map, listen to an audio tour, tour a specific garden, or check out a family activity from the Visitors Center. More info: https://botanicgardens.uw.edu/washington-park-arboretum/activities/self-guided-tours/
- Spring plant sale at Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle. Don’t miss the spring plant sale (formerly known as “Early Bloomers”) at the beautiful Washington Park Arboretum. Enjoy a stroll in Seattle’s premier public garden while it’s in peak bloom, and then buy beautiful, high-quality plants for your own garden. All sales support arboretum maintenance and kids education programs. The sale is hosted by dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers in the Plant Donations Nursery and Pat Calvert Greenhouse. Free parking and admission. More info: https://www.arboretumfoundation.org/events/spring-plant-sale/
The Japanese Garden, 1075 Lake Washington Blvd E, Seattle, WA 98112. Located at the south end of the Washington Park Arboretum, this a 3.5-acre traditional Japanese stroll garden is one of the finest gardens of its kind outside of Japan. The Japanese Garden has an entrance fee.
Volunteer Park Conservatory in Volunteer Park, 1400 E Galer St, Seattle, WA 98112. The indoor botanical garden features a world-class collection housed in a century-old structure which stands as a reminder of a bygone Victorian age. The plant collection includes: bromeliads, palms, ferns, cacti, and rotating seasonal displays. The Conservatory has an entrance fee.
Kubota Garden, 9817 – 55th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118. A stunning twenty acres of hills and valleys, streams, waterfalls, ponds, rock outcroppings and an exceptionally rich and mature collection of plant material. Located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle, the garden is owned by the City of Seattle and maintained by the Department of Parks & Recreation. The garden is open daily from dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Kubota Garden tours and plant sales
Find these events on our garden calendar below or visit the Kubota Garden event calendar.
- Self-Guided Tours are available anytime; find detailed map and tour guides in a metal box near the kiosk. There are many trails through the Garden and all are open to the public.
- Free guided tours at Kubota Garden in Seattle are offered year-round on the fourth Saturday of the month at 10AM, guided by a knowledgeable Kubota Garden Foundation docent. Garden tours leave from the parking lot. More info: http://www.kubotagarden.org/
- Free “Fall Color” guided tours at Kubota Garden in Seattle. During the month of October, the garden offers FREE fall color tours the last two weekends of October on both the Saturday and Sunday starting at 10AM. A Foundation docent will be the guide. The tours will leave from the parking lot.
- Spring Plant Sale at Kubota Garden in Seattle features trees, shrubs, perennials and surprises.
- Fall Plant Sale at Kubota Garden in Seattle features trees, shrubs, perennials and surprises.
Dunn Gardens, 13533 Northshire Road NW, Seattle, WA 98177. Located approximately 10 miles north of downtown Seattle. Woodland gardens, perennial borders, and great sweeps of lawn are just a few of the elements that make up the garden. Garden plants range from diminutive trilliums, no more than an inch tall, to Douglas firs towering more than 150 feet in the air. Plants in the collection include rhododendrons, specimen flowering trees, and woodland plants such as erythroniums and trilliums, sited beneath a canopy of fir and deciduous trees that remain from the original garden designed by the Olmstead brothers in 1916. Visits to the historic Dunn Gardens are by guided tours only. There is an admission fee and reservations must be made in advance.
UW Biology Greenhouse, Life Sciences Bldg, 4000 15th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98195. For more than 67 years, the Biology Greenhouse at the University of Washington has played a vital role in research and teaching. Whether focusing on plant-pollinator interactions, paleoclimatology, or other biological questions, the teaching collection has enhanced and inspired UW biological research. Over time the collection has grown to encompass approximately 1% of the world’s diversity of plants. With the construction of the Life Sciences Complex (LSC), we have relocated to temporary greenhouse facilities. Tours are currently unavailable, check back in the Summer of 2019 when construction is complete.
Tacoma arboretums and botanical gardens
(Listed by zip code)
W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Wright Park, 316 South G St, Tacoma, WA 98405. The historic glass conservatory, with its distinctive twelve-sided central dome, is listed on the National historic register. 3,000 panes of glass make up the dome and wings of the conservatory. Exotic tropical plants and seasonal floral displays include over 250 individual plant species, 200 orchids, 300-500 blooming plants, seasonal displays, and large collections of tender Azaleas, Vireya Rhododendrons, Clivias, Cymbidium, Agapanthus, Epiphyllum Cacti, and exhibition Chrysanthemums. Open Tuesday thru Sunday. Free admission, with a suggested donation of $3.
Point Defiance Park, 5400 N. Pearl St. Tacoma, WA 98407. This 760-acre park is a popular destination with a natural forest, saltwater beaches, and spectacular views. The Gardens at Point Defiance Park include a Japanese Garden, Dahlia Trial Garden, Fuchsia Garden, Herb Garden, Iris Garden, Northwest Native Garden, Rhododendron Garden, and Rose Garden. Find out what’s blooming when you plan to visit. The park is open dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Point Defiance Zoo, 5400 N. Pearl St. Tacoma, WA 98407. Point Defiance Zoo is home not only to animals, but also hundreds of varieties of plants that create a stunning botanical paradise. The zoo is open daily, with some seasonal variations and has an entrance fee.
Gordon Dee Alcorn Arboretum, 1500 N. Warner St, Tacoma, WA 98416. The grounds of the University of Puget Sound (map) are designated as an arboretum in recognition of biology professor and campus arborist Gordon Alcorn’s tireless dedication to his students, academic excellence, and the preservation of nature and the environment. The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Other Puget Sound arboretums and botanical gardens
(Listed alphabetically by city)
Soos Creek Botanical Garden, 29308 132nd Ave SE, Auburn, WA 98092. The 22 acres on which the garden is located was originally part of 200 acres that Maurice Skagen’s Norwegian immigrant ancestors purchased as farm land between 1891-1905. By 1968 there was nothing other than the native trees and plant life such as Douglas firs, western red cedars, hemlocks, vine maples, big leaf maples, and native perennials, ranging from trilliums to skunk cabbage along the creek. Over the past 40 years a wide variety of plants were acquired from Pacific Northwest specialty nurseries to create inspirational mature gardens based upon international, regional, and historical gardens. Open March-October. Free admission; donations gladly accepted.
Bloedel Reserve, 7571 NE Dolphin Drive, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. Located at the north end of Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from downtown Seattle or Edmonds. The garden is an internationally renowned public garden whose primary mission is to provide a tranquil and refreshing experience of nature. The Reserve’s 150 acres are a unique blend of natural woodlands and beautifully landscaped gardens, including a Japanese Garden, a Moss Garden, and Reflection Pool, and the Bloedel’s former estate home. The 12 distinct gardens range from a Bird Marsh teeming with life, to a velvety-soft Moss Garden, to an award-winning Japanese Garden. It’s an ever-changing landscape, and each visit brings surprises as you witness nature unfolding right before your eyes. At Bloedel, you won’t find plant identification tags nor directional signage. A walk through Bloedel is an experience and one in which you immerse yourself in nature and for a moment, let the rest of the world fade away. The gardens are open Tuesday-Sunday year-round. The Bloedel Reserve has an entrance fee.
Bellevue Botanical Garden, 12001 Main St, Bellevue WA 98005. A special place within the Bellevue parks system, it is made up of several smaller gardens, each with its own focus and unique character. The urban refuge encompasses 53-acres, including cultivated gardens, restored woodlands, and natural wetlands. The living collections showcase plants that thrive in the Pacific Northwest. Demonstration of good garden design and horticulture techniques inspires visitors to create their own beautiful, healthy gardens. The garden is open daily from dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Lake Hills Greenbelt, 15416 SE 16th St, Bellevue, WA 98007. A wetland corridor encompassing more than 150 acres of diverse wildlife habitat including forests, wetlands, streams and lakes. Amenities include over three miles of trails, community gardens and pea patches, picnic areas, blueberry farms and seasonal produce stands. Visitors can attend master gardener workshops at the Urban Demonstration Garden and enjoy nature walks with a park ranger out of the ranger station. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Everett Evergreen Arboretum & Gardens, 145 Alverson Blvd, Everett, WA 98201. A place of beauty and education. Located on 3 ½ acres in American Legion Memorial Park, Everett Washington, its ten themed gardens include the Urban Tree Walk, Entrance Garden, Rock Garden, Northwest Native Plant Trail, Japanese Maple Grove, Northwest Demonstration Garden, Viewing Mound, Woodland and Conifer Gardens as well as the 200′ Snohomish County Master Gardener’s Demonstration Border and sculptures throughout. Weaving through these gardens are ADA approved pervious pathways in most areas. There are countless ways to experience and enjoy all that the Evergreen Arboretum has to offer; docent-led tours, educational classes, the annual plant sale and volunteerism. Come witness the beauty that every season holds. The Arboretum is open from dawn until dusk. The garden is open daily from dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Pacific Bonsai Museum, 2515 S 336th St, Federal Way, WA 98001. A grand outdoor setting with the elegance of a fine art museum, the Museum boasts over 150 bonsai and the most diverse public collection in North America with trees from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the United States. With a rotating display of 60 trees and the changing of the seasons, there is always something new to see at the Museum. The garden is open Tuesday-Sunday. Admission by donation.
PowellsWood Pleasure Garden, 430 S Dash Point Rd, Federal Way, WA 98003. Three acres are nestled against another thirty-five acres of native forest. A series of hedges help define several distinct garden rooms graced with more than a thousand varieties of trees, shrubs and perennials. The woodland and shade gardens in particular demonstrate how private landowners can use natural land features to develop stunning landscapes. Open April-October, Tuesday-Saturday. PowellsWood has an entrance fee.
Rhododendron Species Foundation & Botanical Garden, 2525 S. 336th Street, Federal Way, WA 98003 (this address may lead you to an empty field, so be sure to follow the clearly marked signs to the Gardens, or input “Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden,” into your GPS application, which will take you to the main entrance). This garden is home to one of the largest collections of species rhododendrons in the world. The garden displays over 700 of the more than 1,000 species found in the wilds of North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as the tropical regions of southeast Asia and northern Australia. Conservation has come to be of primary importance in recent years with the destruction of Rhododendron habitat in many areas of the world. The garden is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Rhododendron Garden has an entrance fee.
Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens, 3531 Meerkerk Ln, Greenbank, WA 98253. Located on Whidbey Island. The garden allows dogs on a leash. The Pacific Northwest style woodland garden is enveloped by a forest preserve. Download map on their website for free self-guided walking tours. Meerkerk gardens are open every day and have an entrance fee.
Heronswood Botanical Garden, 31912 Little Boston Rd NE, Kingston, WA 98346. One of the world’s most outstanding collections of rare and unusual trees, shrubs, vines and perennials. Open Fridays-Sundays, March-October. Heronswood has an entrance fee.
Lake Wilderness Arboretum, 22520 SE 248th St, Maple Valley, WA 98038. The arboretum includes five acres of display gardens and 30 acres of forest trails with a diverse plant collections in both natural and cultivated landscapes. Open dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden, 13735 24th Ave S, SeaTac, WA 98168. A one-of-a-kind heritage location that was created to preserve some of the area’s most treasured gardens. The Garden is situated on approximately 10.5 acres adjacent to the North SeaTac Community Center. Included are two gardens that were physically moved to prevent their demolition during SeaTac Airport’s third runway project. The garden is open daily from dawn to dusk. Free admission.
Woodcock Demonstration Garden, 2711 Woodcock Road, Sequim, WA 98382. The Master Gardener Foundation of Clallam County owns and maintains the Demonstration Garden on 2.74 acres. It presents a variety of gardening themes: raised bed vegetable gardening, an ornamental grass garden, rose garden, ornamental color garden with displays of colorful annual and perennial plants, an ornamental shrub garden, a small fruits (berries) demonstration area, dahlia display area, and a cottage garden. There is also an extensive orchard, including apple, pear, and Asian pear fruit trees. The Garden provides a pleasant and tranquil place for picnic lunches or quiet respites in beautiful surroundings. Open dawn to dusk, May-October. Free admission.
Kruckeberg Garden and Nursery, 20312 15th Ave NW, Shoreline, WA 98177. This four-acre public garden contains a unique blend of Pacific Northwest native plants and unusual exotics set in a naturalistic wooded setting. It may take multiple visits to see the more than 2,000 species, which include native and exotic conifers, hardwoods, rhododendrons, magnolias, ferns and groundcovers. Several trees are the largest or most rare in the state. Birdwatchers have identified more than 40 bird species while visiting the Garden. Download a self-guided tour brochure on their website or pick one up at the kiosk. Download guides on their website for free self-guided walking tours. The garden is open Friday-Sunday. Free admission.
Bonhoffer Botanical Gardens, 2420 300th St NW, Stanwood, WA 98292. The Northwest’s only complete native botanical garden. Plantings include all of western Washington’s indigenous trees, shrubs, vines, and ferns along with grass, moss, mushroom, pond, flower and groundcover species within 3 types of wetlands in a remnant of the destroyed West Fork of Church Creek. The Gardens are intended to serve as an outdoor educational and recreational resource for the coming generations and contain 3/4 miles of a continuous wheelchair path and interpretive kiosks that provide information about native flora, as well as local and natural history. Kiosks’ roofs are planted to attract butterfly species requiring specific native plants as larva hosts. Native herbal gardens, feeders for native bird species, and a pond system intended to serve as holding water for Freeborn Church Creek’s 2 types of Coho. Free admission; donations welcome.
Upcoming Garden Tours
(If nothing is listed below, there are no upcoming garden tours in the next 90 days.)
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Thursday, October 1, 2020
But wait, there’s more!
- Check our list of Home & Garden shows in the Puget Sound region.
- Bookmark our list of home gardening resources and plant sales.
- And here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- More free and cheap things to do every day: Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Still more ideas for frugal fun: Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page.
Love our cheap ideas? Get our FREE email newsletters. Choose from daily, weekly, and monthly lists. Click here to subscribe.
Weekly on Sunday and Saturday @ 10:00 am (October 17, 2020 - October 25, 2020)
Seattle, WA 98118