Priyankamadia | Dreamstime.com
The 52 acres of this beloved Brooklyn retreat, one of the finest botanic gardens in the country, are a must-see, especially in spring and summer. A major attraction is the beguiling Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden—complete with a blazing red torii gate and Shinto shrine. Nearby, the Japanese cherry arbor turns into a breathtaking cloud of pink every spring; the Sakura Matsuri, a two-day cherry blossom festival, is a hugely popular event.
Also be sure to wander through the Cranford Rose Garden (5,000 plants, 1,200 varieties); the Fragrance Garden, designed especially for the blind; and the Shakespeare Garden, featuring more than 80 plants immortalized by the Bard. At the Steinhardt Conservatory, desert, tropical, temperate, and aquatic vegetation thrives. Don't miss the extraordinary C. V. Starr Bonsai Museum for close to 100 miniature Japanese specimens, some more than a century old. Near the conservatory are a café and a gift shop, with bulbs, plants, and gardening books as well as jewelry.
Entrances to the garden are on Eastern Parkway, next to the subway station; on Washington Avenue, behind the Brooklyn Museum; and on Flatbush Avenue at Empire Boulevard. Free garden tours meet at the front gate every weekend at 1 pm.
900 Washington Ave., between Crown and Carroll Sts., Brooklyn, New York, 11225, United States