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A garden with assorted trees, plants, and shrubbery in Seattle. There is a small bridge over a still body of water. The bridge has red railings and a grey concrete base. Shutterstock

16 breathtaking Seattle-area botanical gardens

Go for a stroll and take in some plants

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Seattle is known for being full of trees, parks, and other extremely nature-y pursuits, so it tracks that we’d have a wide selection of gardens to choose from, whether you’re looking for a casual stroll, a pretty in-city hike, or an educational experience.

What separates a trip to the garden from just a trip to the park? Not all gardens are parks, and vice-versa. But there’s a lot of overlap here, like the Woodland Park Rose Garden right by the zoo, or pockets of the Washington Park Arboretum. Gardens tend to be defined by a focus on horticulture, which could be an emphasis on education, conservation, or horticultural arts, or some combination of the above. The short answer: It’s all about the plants.

The best part is that most of these gardens are totally free to visit, with a couple of notable exceptions.

Map points are ordered north to south.

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1. Kruckeberg Botanic Garden

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20312 15th Ave NW
Shoreline, WA 98177
(206) 546-1281
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Dr. Arthur R. Kruckeberg died in 2016 after living to the ripe old age of 96, but his legacy lives on in these Shoreline gardens, which he founded with his wife in 1958. The four-acre garden includes a nursery, and is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.—and admission is always free.

2. Dunn Gardens

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13533 Northshire Rd NW
Seattle, WA 98177
(206) 362-0933
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This botanical garden, designed by the Olmsted Brothers in 1915, is only open to members ($40 or $50 per year for a basic membership) or through a private tour, which will run you $10 and includes a pass to come back and “wander.”

3. Bloedel Reserve

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7571 NE Dolphin Dr
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
(206) 842-7631
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Bainbridge Island’s Bloedel Reserve is really a collection of 12 gardens spread out across 150 acres, from a moss garden to a Japanese garden to a rhododendron glen. They have a creative residency program, too.

Admission is $17 for adults, $12 for seniors and military, $10 for students, $6 for children five to 12, or free for children four and under.

4. Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden

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3015 NW 54th St
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 780-2500
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Located on the grounds of the Ballard Locks, this botanical garden is a great place for a picnic before or after touring the facility. Admission is free.

5. Woodland Park Rose Garden

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750 N 50th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 548-2590
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Adjacent to the Woodland Park Zoo, this city-run garden is only one of a handful of Rose Test Gardens certified in the country—meaning it gets varieties of roses before they’re available to home gardeners. Admission is free.

6. Center for Urban Horticulture

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3501 NE 41st St
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 543-8616
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University of Washington’s Botanic Garden program, along with the city, helps run the Arboretum—but is wholly in charge of Center of Urban Horticulture. 16 acres of landscaped grounds include multiple gardens, and admission is always free.

7. Medicinal Herb Garden

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Okanogan Ln
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-0436
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Located between Benson Hall and the Botany Greenhouse, this garden on the University of Washington campus has a very specific purpose: medicinal herbs. Two and a half acres include about a thousand plants, labeled with plaques for your edification. There’s no admission cost, but the hours aren’t posted—probably best to visit in the daylight, though.

8. Volunteer Park Conservatory

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1400 E Galer St
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 684-4743
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Seattle weather can be unpredictable, and it’s always nice to have an indoor thing to do—especially one that stacks up to your outdoor options. Located inside a temperature-controlled Victorian-style glasshouse built in 1912, which is a draw all its own, the botanical garden features a wide variety of plants and the occasional light show. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for youth, or free for children under 12.

9. Seattle Japanese Garden

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1075 Lake Washington Blvd E
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 684-4725
Visit Website

Part of the Washington Park Arboretum, this 3.5-acre formal garden was constructed in 1960 under the supervision of landscape architect Juki Iida with a combination of Japanese plants and those native to the Pacific Northwest. Admission is free on first Thursdays of the month; normally, it costs $8 for full adult admission, $6 for Seattle residents, or $4 for youths, seniors, students, and people with disabilities.

10. Japanese American Remembrance Garden

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901 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

Seattle University collaborated with members of Seattle’s Japanese community as a memorial to the 120,000 Japanese residents forcibly incarcerated during World War II—and in recognition that the site of the Seattle University campus was once a thriving Japanese community before internment. The garden was designed by Al Kubota, grandson of legendary Seattle gardener Fujitaro Kubota.

11. Shakespeare Garden

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901 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

The Seattle University Fine Arts Department and groundskeepers collaborated on this very specific garden based on William Shakespeare’s botanical references in his plays, like chamomile, lavender, musk rose, and hemlock. Instead of wormwood, there’s the closely related tarragon—probably for the best.

12. Taqwsheblu Vi Hilbert Ethnobotanical Garden

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901 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 296-6210
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This garden on the Seattle University campus highlights plants important to First Peoples of the Puget Sound region—whether, sacred, culinary, utility, or a combination. It’s named for an elder of the Upper Skagit tribe.

Address is for the Lemieux Library.

13. Bellevue Botanical Garden

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12001 Main St
Bellevue, WA 98005
(425) 452-2750
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Head over to the Eastside for a 53-acre garden that takes advantage of Bellevue’s local wetlands among forests and some cultivated gardens. The gardens are also home to a variety of classes, plant sales, and special events like art shows. Admission is free, and the garden is open daily from dawn to dusk.

14. Seattle Chinese Garden

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6000 16th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98106
(206) 934-5219
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This Sichuan-style garden on the northern edge of the of South Seattle College campus combines symbolic use of water, plants, architecture, and stone. While donations are welcome, admission is free. The kite festival in June is an especially good time to visit.

15. Kubota Garden

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9817 55th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 725-5060
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Fujitaro Kubota was a highly sought-after gardener and landscaper in the Northwest, and Kubota Garden, which uses Japanese gardening concepts to showcase Northwest plant life, was his personal garden. It was acquired by the city in 1987, and is now co-managed by the city and the Kubota Foundation. Admission is free.

16. Highline SeaTac Botanical Gardens

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13735 24th Ave S
SeaTac, WA 98168
(206) 391-4003
Visit Website

In SeaTac, this 10.5-acre garden is a combination of two gardens that were preserved during construction for a runway at the airport. The grounds include a rose garden, a “sensory garden,” and a garden run by the Puget Sound Fuchsia Society. Admission is free.

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1. Kruckeberg Botanic Garden

20312 15th Ave NW, Shoreline, WA 98177

Dr. Arthur R. Kruckeberg died in 2016 after living to the ripe old age of 96, but his legacy lives on in these Shoreline gardens, which he founded with his wife in 1958. The four-acre garden includes a nursery, and is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.—and admission is always free.

20312 15th Ave NW
Shoreline, WA 98177

2. Dunn Gardens

13533 Northshire Rd NW, Seattle, WA 98177

This botanical garden, designed by the Olmsted Brothers in 1915, is only open to members ($40 or $50 per year for a basic membership) or through a private tour, which will run you $10 and includes a pass to come back and “wander.”

13533 Northshire Rd NW
Seattle, WA 98177

3. Bloedel Reserve

7571 NE Dolphin Dr, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Bainbridge Island’s Bloedel Reserve is really a collection of 12 gardens spread out across 150 acres, from a moss garden to a Japanese garden to a rhododendron glen. They have a creative residency program, too.

Admission is $17 for adults, $12 for seniors and military, $10 for students, $6 for children five to 12, or free for children four and under.

7571 NE Dolphin Dr
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

4. Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden

3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107

Located on the grounds of the Ballard Locks, this botanical garden is a great place for a picnic before or after touring the facility. Admission is free.

3015 NW 54th St
Seattle, WA 98107

5. Woodland Park Rose Garden

750 N 50th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Adjacent to the Woodland Park Zoo, this city-run garden is only one of a handful of Rose Test Gardens certified in the country—meaning it gets varieties of roses before they’re available to home gardeners. Admission is free.

750 N 50th St
Seattle, WA 98103

6. Center for Urban Horticulture

3501 NE 41st St, Seattle, WA 98105

University of Washington’s Botanic Garden program, along with the city, helps run the Arboretum—but is wholly in charge of Center of Urban Horticulture. 16 acres of landscaped grounds include multiple gardens, and admission is always free.

3501 NE 41st St
Seattle, WA 98105

7. Medicinal Herb Garden

Okanogan Ln, Seattle, WA 98195

Located between Benson Hall and the Botany Greenhouse, this garden on the University of Washington campus has a very specific purpose: medicinal herbs. Two and a half acres include about a thousand plants, labeled with plaques for your edification. There’s no admission cost, but the hours aren’t posted—probably best to visit in the daylight, though.

Okanogan Ln
Seattle, WA 98195

8. Volunteer Park Conservatory

1400 E Galer St, Seattle, WA 98112

Seattle weather can be unpredictable, and it’s always nice to have an indoor thing to do—especially one that stacks up to your outdoor options. Located inside a temperature-controlled Victorian-style glasshouse built in 1912, which is a draw all its own, the botanical garden features a wide variety of plants and the occasional light show. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for youth, or free for children under 12.

1400 E Galer St
Seattle, WA 98112

9. Seattle Japanese Garden

1075 Lake Washington Blvd E, Seattle, WA 98112

Part of the Washington Park Arboretum, this 3.5-acre formal garden was constructed in 1960 under the supervision of landscape architect Juki Iida with a combination of Japanese plants and those native to the Pacific Northwest. Admission is free on first Thursdays of the month; normally, it costs $8 for full adult admission, $6 for Seattle residents, or $4 for youths, seniors, students, and people with disabilities.

1075 Lake Washington Blvd E
Seattle, WA 98112

10. Japanese American Remembrance Garden

901 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Seattle University collaborated with members of Seattle’s Japanese community as a memorial to the 120,000 Japanese residents forcibly incarcerated during World War II—and in recognition that the site of the Seattle University campus was once a thriving Japanese community before internment. The garden was designed by Al Kubota, grandson of legendary Seattle gardener Fujitaro Kubota.

901 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

11. Shakespeare Garden

901 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

The Seattle University Fine Arts Department and groundskeepers collaborated on this very specific garden based on William Shakespeare’s botanical references in his plays, like chamomile, lavender, musk rose, and hemlock. Instead of wormwood, there’s the closely related tarragon—probably for the best.

901 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

12. Taqwsheblu Vi Hilbert Ethnobotanical Garden

901 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

This garden on the Seattle University campus highlights plants important to First Peoples of the Puget Sound region—whether, sacred, culinary, utility, or a combination. It’s named for an elder of the Upper Skagit tribe.

Address is for the Lemieux Library.

901 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

13. Bellevue Botanical Garden

12001 Main St, Bellevue, WA 98005

Head over to the Eastside for a 53-acre garden that takes advantage of Bellevue’s local wetlands among forests and some cultivated gardens. The gardens are also home to a variety of classes, plant sales, and special events like art shows. Admission is free, and the garden is open daily from dawn to dusk.

12001 Main St
Bellevue, WA 98005

14. Seattle Chinese Garden

6000 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106

This Sichuan-style garden on the northern edge of the of South Seattle College campus combines symbolic use of water, plants, architecture, and stone. While donations are welcome, admission is free. The kite festival in June is an especially good time to visit.

6000 16th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98106

15. Kubota Garden

9817 55th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

Fujitaro Kubota was a highly sought-after gardener and landscaper in the Northwest, and Kubota Garden, which uses Japanese gardening concepts to showcase Northwest plant life, was his personal garden. It was acquired by the city in 1987, and is now co-managed by the city and the Kubota Foundation. Admission is free.

9817 55th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118

16. Highline SeaTac Botanical Gardens

13735 24th Ave S, SeaTac, WA 98168

In SeaTac, this 10.5-acre garden is a combination of two gardens that were preserved during construction for a runway at the airport. The grounds include a rose garden, a “sensory garden,” and a garden run by the Puget Sound Fuchsia Society. Admission is free.

13735 24th Ave S
SeaTac, WA 98168