Most of the following garden tours are free. A few have garden or tour admission of $20 or less. Seattle gardens are listed first, followed by gardens in other parts of the Puget Sound region.
Seattle Garden Tours
These Seattle garden tours are listed going north to south in the city. Garden tours in other parts of the Puget Sound region follow the list of Seattle gardens.
Washington Park Arboretum free garden tours
Washington Park Arboretum is a hidden gem on the shores of Lake Washington. Its 230 acres are a dynamic assortment of plants found nowhere else. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find something of interest along the trails that wind through gardens, natural areas and wetlands, and a dynamic assortment of plants found nowhere else. Several types of free public tours are offered at the Washington Park Arboretum. Each of these garden tours are led by trained guides and focus on seasonal topics of interest, highlighting the Arboretum’s plant collections, seasonal beauty, and history.
Free Weekend Walks are offered January through November. No preregistration necessary. Meet at the Graham Visitors Center. Note that Saturday garden tours are geared toward families with children 2-12 years old and Sunday walks are tailored to adult audiences. For dates, times, and topics for the Weekend Walks, and the occasional cancellation, visit the Arboretum calendar before you head out.
- Free Saturday family garden tours are held on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, February-June from 1-2:30pm. Bring the whole family for the hour and half themed walk, with stops along the way for games, hands-on activities, and learning geared toward children (2-12 years old) and their caregivers. Family garden tours
- Free Sunday arboretum garden tours are held on Sundays, January through November from 1-2:30pm. Tailored for an adult audience and covering topics of seasonal interest.
Free Arboretum garden tours by tram are offered on the 1st Thursday of each month from 11am-12pm. Those with limited mobility find this to be one of the best garden tours any time of year. The tram garden tour travels from the Graham Visitors Center to the Pacific Connections Garden allowing visitors with limited mobility to see more of the Arboretum. The tram is covered, but is open-air and does not have a heater, so riders will want to dress for the weather.
- Free arboretum tours by tram; reservations are required. Online registration for each month’s tour will open approximately one month in advance. Reserve your tram garden tour here.
Japanese Garden tours at Washington Park Arboretum
The Japanese Garden located within the Washington Park Arboretum is a 3.5 acre formal garden was designed and constructed in 1960 under the supervision of world-renowned Japanese garden designer Juki Iida.
Japanese Garden admission: Adults (18-64) $6. Youths (6–17), Seniors (65+), college students with ID, and Disabled $4. Children 0-5 are FREE. On the First Thursdays of the month, admission is FREE for all visitors from 3 pm until closing. Restrictions: no picnicking, no weddings, no tripods, no pets.
- Free guided garden tours can enhance your experience of the garden, deepening your knowledge and sensory awareness as you stroll through. Volunteer guides offer tours at 12:30 p.m. daily April through October. No RSVP necessary, and the tour is free with garden admission. Appropriate for ages 8+. An average tour takes approximately 45-minutes.
Historic Dunn Garden garden tours
Dunn Gardens are 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. Reservations must be made in advance.
- Historic Dunn Garden Tours are offered April-July and September-October. Admission is $10 per person. Tours usually book several weeks in advance. Reserve a spot on their website.
Kubota Garden garden tours in south Seattle
Kubota Garden offers 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 year-round during daylight hours and is free to the public.
- Free Kubota Garden Tours are offered on the fourth Saturday of the month year-around, guided by a knowledgeable Kubota Garden Foundation docent. Garden tours leave from the parking lot.
Chinese Garden tours in south Seattle
Seattle Chinese Garden is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30 am to 5 pm (closed Mondays). Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted to help support garden maintenance, educational programs, and cultural events. The Garden is located in West Seattle, on the northern edge of the South Seattle Community College campus. The garden offers 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 garden is a beautiful “coming together space” in Sichuan style that celebrates Seattle’s rich Chinese heritage and supports Seattle’s business and cultural relationship with China.
- Free Chinese Garden tours: Download the following detailed guides (in pdf format) for a free self-guided garden tour: self-guided tour brochure, Chinese garden plant guide, and Chinese poetry couplets.
Garden tours at South Seattle College Arboretum
South Seattle College Arboretum was established in 1978 for Landscape Horticulture Program 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. The Seattle Chinese Garden borders the Arboretum.
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.
- Free garden tours: a self-guided walking tour is available using the map on the South Seattle College Arboretum website. Open from dawn until dusk everyday.
Garden Tours north and east of Seattle
These garden tours north and east of Seattle are listed going north to south throughout the Puget Sound region.
Whidbey Island garden tours at Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens
Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens is located 2 miles south of Greenbank, Washington on Whidbey Island. The gardens are open every day of the year from 9am-4pm. The garden allows dogs on a leash. The Pacific Northwest style woodland garden is enveloped by a forest preserve. Garden admission: Adults (age 17+) $5.00. Children 16 & under FREE.
- Free self-guided garden tours: Visitors can stroll 10 acres of display gardens and walk along 4 miles of nature trails using the map from their website.
Shoreline garden tours at Kruckeberg Garden
Kruckeberg Garden and Nursery is open Friday through Sunday. 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.
You can enhance your visit with either a self-guided or docent-led tour.
- $10 docent-led garden tours are available many Saturdays from May-October. Two hour tours include history of the Garden, the Kruckeberg legacy, and the plant collection, featuring what is in bloom and of interest. Advance registration is requested. Tours are $10 per person.
- Free self-guided garden tours are available to help you spot garden highlights. Download a garden tour brochure or pick one up at the garden kiosk.
- Free self-guided bird tours are available. Download a bird tour brochure or pick one up at the garden kiosk.
Bellevue Botanical Garden tours
Bellevue Botanical Garden is an urban refuge, encompassing 53-acres of cultivated gardens, restored woodlands, and natural wetlands. The living collections showcase plants that thrive in the Pacific Northwest. The Garden is open daily, including holidays, from dawn until dusk. Admission is free.
Garden highlights include the Northwest Perennial Alliance border, a waterwise garden, Japanese garden, alpine rock garden and summer displays of dahlias and fuchsias. The Bellevue Botanical Garden Society recruits and trains volunteer docents to guide scheduled tours of the Bellevue Botanical Garden. There is no charge for these walking tours. However, donations are strongly encouraged.
- Free Bellevue Botanical garden tours: Every Saturday and Sunday, April through October, a free tour begins at the Gathering Place at 12pm, immediately south of the main entry breezeway. Reservations are not required; donations are encouraged.
Garden tours south and west of Seattle
These garden tours south and west of Seattle are listed going north to south throughout the Puget Sound region.
Bainbridge Island garden tours at Bloedel Reserve
Bloedel Reserve is 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.
Whether you are a first-time visitor, or know the grounds like the back of your hand, a walk through Bloedel Reserve doesn’t disappoint. You’ll be treated to sweeping vistas, woodland trails, formal gardens, and soothing water features.
The gardens are open Tuesday-Sunday year-round. Reservations are not required. Bloedel is open on summer holidays (Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day). The reserve is CLOSED MONDAYS and other holidays.
- Self-guided Bloedel garden tours. Garden Admission: $17 adults, $12 Seniors (65+) and Military, $10 Student, and $6 children (5-12). Children 4 and younger are free. No picnicking. No pets are permitted on the grounds or left in parked cars.
Federal Way garden tours at the Rhododendron Botanical Garden
The Rhododendron Species Foundation & Botanical 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.
General Admission $8.00. Seniors (65+) & Students $5.00. Children under 12 years, military, RSBG members, and Weyerhaeuser employees are free.
- Free Self-Guided Tours are available using the tour sheet available on their website or at the Garden Gift Shop.
Federal Way garden tours at PowellsWood Pleasure Garden
PowellsWood Pleasure Garden 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 from 10:00 am to 3 pm. General admission is $7. Members and children (12 & under) are free.
- Self-guided garden tours are possible along the walking paths, a meandering stream, and pond.
Tacoma garden tours at Point Defiance Zoo
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is home is home only to animals. The zoo is also home to hundreds of varieties of plants which serve a number of purposes, from decorative to functional. Zookeepers use some of the plant growth, such as banana leaves and bamboo shoots, as food or skill-building tools for the animals. The plants also create a stunning botanical paradise.
Zoo admission, purchased online: Adults (ages 13-64) $15.95, Seniors (ages 65+) $14.95, Youths (ages 5-12) $11.95, Tots (ages 3-4) $7.95. Members and children (2 and under) are free.
Join our Zoo Horticulturist on in-depth garden tours of the plants in the Zoo collection to learn about fascinating connections between plants, animals, and people.
- Free Point Defiance garden tours take place at 10 am on the first Sunday of every month. To join the tour, meet at the Pacific Rim Plaza just inside the Zoo’s front gate. Tours are FREE with Zoo & Aquarium admission.