Brookside Gardens is one of my all-time gardens near Washington DC in Maryland.
Not only is it award-winning but it’s HUGE, with 50 acres for you to enjoy in Montgomery County Maryland!
It’s also very child-friendly with a playground and paved walkways for strollers.
And did I mention it’s free! Unlike many of the gardens in DC, this one is completely free to enter and enjoy!
Brookside Gardens is located at 1800 Glenallan Ave, Wheaton, MD 20902.
Brookside Gardens During Coved-19
Is Brookside Gardens open during the pandemic? The short answer is YES!
Brookside Gardens is part of the Montgomery County Parks, NOT the Maryland State Parks. The grounds of Brookside Gardens are open sunrise to sunset, Monday to Sunday.
The visit center is open with limited hours and the kids play area and garden are open as well.
Brookside Gardens has plenty of free and available parking. There are 2 parking lots, the main one and the overflow lot.
I’ve been here during the weekday and on the weekend and have never have had trouble finding a parking spot.
Though recently it’s been a bit more popular and I’ve seen people park on the side of the road outside the gardens.
Keep reading to see what the best time is to visit to avoid crowds.
Best Time to Visit Brookside Gardens
Brookside Gardens is huge and rarely ever feels crowded.
On weekends the best times to visit are earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. I tend to visit after 5 pm most of the time and rarely run into crowds. I did come at 3 pm on a Saturday once and it definitely had more people than I’m used to and it was harder to park than usual.
So your best bet is to come early in the morning or late in the afternoon! I was here on a Sunday during wisteria peak bloom around 6 pm and while the parking lot looked full, the garden itself was mostly empty.
Brookside Gardens for Kids
The Gardens is still a great place for kids. My daughter loves playing in the area around the Japanese Tea House.
There’s multiple bridges to access the Tea House surrounded by water.
She loves to pretend that the Tea House is an actual house on a lake!
Brookside is relatively stroller friendly, with mostly paved trails. There are a few areas, mostly the azalea garden that is a mulched path.
The playground and kids garden is amazing at Brookside Gardens.
There’s a little playhouse, play kitchen, boat, car, and so many fun things at the playground!
The kids play area is open but they have removed all the pots and pans because of COVID.
Flowers that Bloom at Brookside Gardens
Cherry Blossoms in March
Brookside is one of the best alternatives to cherry blossoms in DC!
They have 2 huge willow cherry trees that are absolutely stunning and bloom around the same time as the Yoshino trees in Washington DC.
And of course, there’s not really any crowds for the cherry blossoms here! Brookside is one of my favorite places to see cherry blossoms in Maryland.
Tulips in April
My absolute favorite time to visit Brookside Gardens is during spring for the tulips! There’s quite a few places to see tulips in DC, but Brookside remains my favorite for a number of reasons. First, it’s never crowded here! I’ve always enjoyed the tulips basically with just a few other people.
Second, the tulips are absolutely stunning here!
When they are in full bloom it’s hard not to imagine that you are in Holland! You are literally surrounded by colorful tulips.
Not only that, but I also love how Brookside color coordinates the tulips into a truly stunning garden!
They plant quite a variety of tulips here so you can really catch them from about the 2nd week of April all the way to the end of April.
Wisteria at Brookside Gardens in Late April
Just as the tulips start to fade at Brookside, the stunning wisteria starts to bloom!
I absolutely adore the smell of wisteria and there’s plenty of it at Brookside.
There’s even white wisteria that grows on one of the bridges.
Personally, I find the best time to see wisteria at Brookside to be around the last week of April to the first week of May.
Wisteria Bloom Update at Brookside Gardens 5/2/2021: As I predicted last week the wisteria at Brookside Gardens was in full bloom this weekend! It looks amazing and smells amazing! Go check it out this week! The pictures below are the ones I took on Sunday, May 2, 2021.
You should also take a walk through the azalea garden which is blooming beautifully as well!
Roses from May to September
Brookside brings in beautiful roses that scent this amazing garden once tulip season is over.
Last year was the first year I’ve gone to the rose garden and I can’t believe I waited so long! It smells magnificent!
As much as I want to grow my own garden, I definitely DON’T have a green thumb, so it’s nice having easy access to such a perfect garden right next to my house. Especially during the pandemic, it’s nice to have a change of scenery for our daily stroll!