US Botanical Gardens Lincoln Memorial replica

Washington D.C. is home to a number of fun, free, and festive holiday attractions. While hotels in the area can be a bit pricey, most museums and several holiday attractions will cost you absolutely nothing! This helps keep trip costs down a bit. D.C. is home to over a dozen world-renowned museums, the beautiful National Tree, and the gorgeous U.S. Capitol building. You will want to check all of these out on any December trip to The Nation’s Capital. One hidden gem to add to your itinerary is the beautiful U.S. Botanical Gardens. During the holiday season, they host a special festive event which is free to the public. Season’s Greetings features a number of festive poinsettia displays, plus replicas of famous D.C. landmarks and a model train display.

The U.S. Botanical Gardens

Beautiful plant life at the US Botanical Gardens in DC

Any time of the year is a great time to check out the beautiful indoor or outdoor gardens. During the cold winter months, a walk through the beautiful conservatory is a nice cozy escape from the chilly air. The warm tropical gardens will definitely take the chill out of the air, if just for a bit. Over 44,000 plants are on display in the permanent gardens. Highlights include an orchid collection of over 3000, a gorgeous tropical garden featuring a 93 foot tall domed ceiling, and World deserts featuring exotic cacti from around the world. The outdoor gardens are perfect for exploring during the lush spring and summer months.

Lush plant life at the US Botanical Gardens in DC
Lush tropical gardens at the US Botanical Gardens in DC

The oldest continuously operated public garden

This D.C. gem claims the title of oldest continuously operated public garden in America. In 1820, George Washington played a pivotal role in the creation of the botanical gardens. Today, you can view his letter pertaining to the gardens in the archives at the beautiful Library of Congress. The original garden operated until 1837 and was reestablished in 1842. The gorgeous conservatory which exists today has been in continuous operation since 1850. Today, over a million tourists per year enjoy the wonderful collection.

Read more about the history of the US Botanical Gardens

“Season’s Greetings” at the Gardens

Festive seasonal decor at the US Botanical Gardens in DC

This beautiful holiday display is free to the public and runs from November 24th to January 2nd. In addition to festive holiday decor, beautiful poinsettias and seasonal displays adorn the grounds.

A model train display operates from 10am-5pm daily. The display features agricultural scenes from across the US (made from plants).

Model train display at the US Botanical Gardens in DC

The outdoor gardens are lit up beautifully at night. If you have the time, stop over to view the small, but dazzling light display. Bonus – the gardens are within easy walking distance of the beautiful U.S. Capitol building Christmas tree so you can combine both activities to save some time.

Pretty holiday light display at the US Botanical Gardens in DC
Festive holiday lights at the US Botanical Gardens in DC

Be sure to take the quick walk over to the West Lawn of the US Capitol building to see the tree. It truly is gorgeous and not as crowded as The National Tree.

Amazing Capitol Hill Christmas tree in Washington DC

Replicas of D.C. landmarks

US Capitol building replica at the US Botanical Gardens in DC
Lincoln Memorial

Artistic replicas of many famous D.C. landmarks are definitely the star attraction of this event. These authentic recreations of landmarks such as The White House, the U.S. Capitol, and the Lincoln Memorial are made from over 70 different types of plant material. A lot of dedication and hard work is put into each piece. The fine attention to detail is evident. The U.S. Capitol building took 600 hours to make! What a treat to view these masterpieces for free!

Take a look at some of the best replicas

White House replica at the US Botanical Gardens in DC
White House
Union Station replica at the US Botanical Gardens in DC
Union Station
US Supreme Court replica at the US Botanical Gardens in DC
US Supreme Court
US Botanical Gardens replica in DC
US Botanical Gardens

Additional Info

  • Gardens address:100 Maryland Ave SW
  • 2022 event dates: Nov. 24th-Jan. 2nd
  • 2022 event hours: 10am-5pm (closed Dec. 25th).
  • More info

Also check out my guide to the best winter attractions in DC!