Visit the Best Winter Gardens Around the World

Add a trip to one of these destination gardens to your holiday wish list. Whether you love the mountains or the desert or want to take a trip abroad, you'll enjoy these 10 must-visit gardens.

Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens hosts Blossoms of Light, an annual event that synchronizes lighting displays with holiday tunes. What makes these Christmas lights different than the rest? Visitors can purchase 3D glasses for a unique visual experience. You can see the Blossoms of Light display from November 24, 2017, to January 1, 2018.

Photo Courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Enjoy the magic of snow—inside and out—at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Take a winter walk through McDonald Woods, then visit one of the greenhouses to warm up. For a bit of winter magic, stop inside the Wonderland Express, where it's always snowing. (Their homemade snow—made from 99 percent water and a little vegetable oil—is safe to catch on your tongue.) As you walk through the Wonderland Express, enjoy miniature Chicago landmarks and model trains. The Wonderland Express exhibit is open November 24, 2017, to January 7, 2018.

Photo Courtesy of Beautiful World Photography.


Bundle up and take a walk through the sweeping landscapes at Stowe, a National Trust landscape garden in Buckinghamshire, England, where stone buildings and bridges become the backdrop for a supersize Advent calendar. Follow the trail to find the 24 stops. Warm up and do a little shopping in one of the Parlour Rooms, then stay for a seasonal meal at The Nevillery Cafe. Open December 1, 2017, to January 4, 2018.

Atlanta Botanical Garden

The Garden Lights show at the Atlanta Botanical Garden is where you go to get your light fix. (If you laid out the 1.5 million lights, they would stretch 52 miles!) Displays keep the surprises coming: Giant lighted bulbs and orbs line the drive, and lights fill waterfalls. Lights even sculpt the "hair" on the Earth Goddess, a massive topiary sculpture. Explore Atlanta's holiday landmark November 11, 2017, to January 7, 2018.

Photo Courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Dunham Massey

Search the 300-acre park at Dunham Massey near Manchester, England, for fallow deer, a species that will convince you that you're in the presence of Santa's reindeer. Warm up with some winter tipple, then toast marshmallows around the fire pit. Starting in late December, garden-lovers will be delighted to find blooming snowdrop, hardy cyclamen, and blue winter iris. Holiday festivities start November 18, 2017, and run through January 2, 2018.

Photo Courtesy of the National Trust.

New York Botanical Garden

If you're nostalgic for a simpler time when your toy train chugged around the family Christmas tree, you'll love the 26th annual Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden. At first glance it looks like a massive train set, but look closer and you'll find more than 150 miniature New York landmarks. Each structure is made from botanical materials, including sticks, leaves, and bark, constructed by artist Paul Busse. New this year are Midtown Manhattan's landmarks: the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and St. Bartholomew's Church. The Holiday Train Show opens November 22, 2017, and runs through January 15, 2018.

Photo Courtesy of New York Botanical Garden.

National Botanic Garden of Belgium

Take a walk through plant history at the National Botanic Garden of Belgium (Botanic Garden Meise), located just outside of Brussels, where the Plant Palace, a building of 13 interconnected greenhouses, features themed plant exhibits. For example, the Evolution House takes visitors through more than 500 million years of plant species. In the Victoria House, you will find humidity-loving plants like waterlilies, coconut palms, and papyrus.

Photo Courtesy of Botanical Art & Artists.

United States Botanical Garden

Seeing iconic tourist attractions scattered across the United States just got easier. The United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., hosts the annual Season's Greenings event, which this year showcases some of the country's best roadside attractions. Discover famous sites made from botanical materials like gourds, acorn caps, and cornhusks. See the Corn Palace in South Dakota, the World's Largest Pecan in Texas, Minnesota's Paul Bunyan, and even a Mr. Potato Head Statue from Rhode Island. Finish off your visit by heading to the Conservatory, which highlights beautiful heirloom and hybrid poinsettias in the winter season. Visit November 23, 2017, to January 1, 2018, to see these wonderful winter exhibits.

Photo Courtesy of United States Botanical Garden.

Desert Botanical Garden

Experience holiday lights of a different kind at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Hand-lit luminarias envelop the garden at the Las Noches de las Luminarias event, where visitors can also enjoy live musical performances. While you're there, experience the various desert plants the garden has to offer, including stapelia, agave, and fairy duster wildflower. Visit from November 24, 2017, to December 30, 2018, to get into the holiday spirit.

Photo Courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden.

Butchart Gardens

See the Twelve Days of Christmas come to life before your eyes. Walk through the Butchart Gardens near Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, where you'll see displays of three French hens enjoying a cup of coffee, five gold rings illuminated across a garden pond, and—of course—a partridge in a pear tree. After experiencing all Twelve Days, cap off the night with ice skating followed by a cup of cocoa. Enjoy these activities from December 1, 2017, to January 7, 2018.

Photo Courtesy of Butchart Gardens.

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