Either you are based in DC or just visiting DC to attend GLL, National Arboretum is a place to go at least once. This was on my checklist since the beginning of my fellowship and I just went there recently as I didn’t want to miss to mark it as checked places.
At first, I just wanted to go to see the columns that are restored at the Arboretum. The pillars you see on the picture screenshot from the official national Arboretum site was originally part of the capitol hill. They dismantled it from the capital hill and they were restored at the National Arboretum. There are 22 columns and the memory of these columns are associated with the many speeches by given by the presidents in front of the capitol hill (look it on Wikipedia).
The other fascinating thing that I experienced was the miniature tree that was 5 generations old and survived through the Hiroshima Bombing in Japan. Later they brought it here and you can see the miniature tree in the Arboretum.
The beer garden(for those beer lovers), has the collection of herbs and plants that people use to use to produce some beers. And then there is a garden where you can see varieties of herbs (some of which were so familiar to me).
Standing by the Anacostia River, I felt like the Arboretum is not that popular that it deserves to be. Trust me, if you are in DC, if you love nature and if you don’t mind learning about different herbs and some history (I am not a museum person), then you will like Arboretum. For me, it was also a place for people who loves to walk and explore some nature not so far from DC’s traffic hassle.
Check their website to know more.