Washington Park Arboretum UW Botanic Gardens


Washington Park is a public park in Seattle, Washington. It was created as a result of the collaboration of the University of Washington, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the nonprofit Arboretum Foundation. The Arboretum portion of Washington Park is owned by the University of Washington. The southwest corner of the park contains the Seattle Japanese Garden, to the north is Union Bay, to the west are Montlake and Madison Valley, and to the south is the Washington Park neighborhood. Broadmoor Golf Club is on the eastern border of the park.


The Washington park arboretum was developed in 1934. It was established on one part of land that was divided into two parcels. The Western part of the land was given to the city, and the approval of the arboretum and park by the University of Washington, and the City of Seattle led to its establishment in 1934. The Eastern portion became the Broadmoor Golf Club. The arboretum has a Graham visitors center and gift shop managed by the Arboretum Foundation. There are also a family night hikes and a tour with guides available. There are many key locations in the park. Some of which are:

The Azalea Way

A large draw to the arboretum during springtime is the Azalea Way, which features a collection of flowering azaleas in different colors. It stands out especially in the springtime and has been a reference for many artists and photographers.

Ghost ramps

There are a set of unfinished ramps within the arboretum called the “ramps to nowhere.” The ramps were originally built as part of an initiation to build the R. H. Thomson Expressway. However, construction was protested by citizens, and the building of the Expressway was discontinued in 1971. Later, it was proposed that the incomplete ramps be dismantled. This was also protested, notably by an art installation built on one of the ramps and titled “Gate to Nowhere” in memory of the saving of the arboretum.

The Seattle Japanese Garden

The Seattle Japanese Garden is a Japanese inspired Garden located in Madison Park neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. It is managed by the city of Seattle, spans across 3.5-acres of land, and is one of the oldest gardens in North America. It is located in the Southern corner of the Washington Park Arboretum, along Lake Washington Boulevard East. There are many events held here such as Tanabata, Wondering and Wandering, Momijigari, and many others. Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee to visit the Japanese garden. If you are interested in Asian culture, you might also consider visiting the Seattle Chinatown District.


The Arboretum is open every day from sunup until sundown. The visitors center is open from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm. General entrance is free to the public. There is also a rental space available for those hoping to hold their special events here.

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