Washington is at its best in the spring. Mornings emerge with mellow pink and orange sunrises. Days are clear with sweet aromas of flowers bursting from the soil. And sunsets cast crystal light around the city. Multicolor gardens plush with flowers invite contemplation of nature’s beauty.
Guided tours, self-guided walks and casual strolls are on offer around the Wshington region. Here are a few:
●Around the World Embassy Tour
On May 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a couple dozen embassies will welcome the public to walk in their open doors, look at their furnishings, art and building design, and get a feel for their country. There will be light refreshments and native entertainment. Free.
●European Union Open House
Twenty-eight E.U. member countries will open their embassies to the public on May 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to showcase their cultural heritage and national traditions. Free.
●Beyond the Garden Gates Garden Tour
Explore Historic Frederick, Md., through a tour of 12 private gardens and public parks on May 18 and 19 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. $25 in advance, $30 day of tour.
●Capitol Hill Restoration Society’s 62nd Annual House and Garden Tour
This year’s tour will be held May 11 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and May 12 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Stops include the homes at 15 Gessford Ct. SE and 1227 Massachusetts Ave. SE; the gardens at 154 11th St. SE and 224 12th St. SE; and the Corner Store at 900 South Carolina Ave. SE. $35 in advance, $40 day of tour.
●Carlyle House Garden Day Craft Sale
On April 27 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. you can buy handmade crafts from local vendors at Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, Va. You can also tour the Carlyle House Museum, which costs $5 for adults, $3 for children.
●Falls Church Home and Garden Tour
The April 28 tour from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. will highlight spots in the “Little City.” Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 day of tour.
●Garden Club of Virginia Historic Garden Week
This eight-day annual event runs from April 27 to May 4 and attracts thousands of people. There are tours of 250 gardens, homes and historic landmarks across several dozen Virginia cities and counties. Fees start at $15.
●National Arboretum Garden Fair and Plant Sale
On-site curators will help you select rare and common plants at this annual sale on the National Arboretum grounds. Members only on April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon; public entry is noon to 4 p.m. and on April 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.
● Georgetown House Tour and Tea
St. John’s Episcopal Church again hosts this annual tour of historic homes on April 27 at 11 a.m. Tickets are $40 to $50 and include a parish tea from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
●Garden Tour and Tea Tasting at Fox Haven Farm and Learning Center, Jefferson, Md.
Go on a tour with garden manager and herbalist Lacey Walker. She will teach you about the plants that are ripe for making medicines on May 11 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets online cost $11.19.
●Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens
Thirteen acres of formal gardens designed as outdoor rooms by landscape architects in the 1950s are set among the 25-acre property of trees, shrubs and flowers next to Rock Creek Park in Northwest Washington. Tours of the 13 acres are offered now through June 30 at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Tickets are distributed first come, first served at the visitor center beginning at 10 a.m.
● Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens
These beautiful 30 acres of wetlands are on view from protective boardwalks. National Park Service rangers conduct garden, bird and nature walks frequently on the park history, wildlife along the Anacostia River and vegetation. Water lilies are beginning to bloom and open and close daily; lotus blooms will begin late June through July. Check online to see tour times. Free.
● Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage
Historic houses and garden tours across the state are on view April 27 to May 19 in Charles, Queen Anne’s, Baltimore and Carroll counties and Baltimore City. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 day of tour and $15 for individual homes.
●National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery is renowned for art but a horticultural team also endows the building with sweeping Instagrammable flower displays. The fountain and elegant sculpture Mercury (After Giovanni Bologna) in the West Building Rotunda are surrounded by candy-colored tulips, daffodils, azaleas and hydrangeas. By April 10, an Easter display of white lilies and green palms will take their place. The East Garden Court fountain is bathed in hydrangeas, azaleas and plantings of fishtail palms, philodendrons and peace lilies. The concourse level fountain wall is lined with daisies, azaleas and hydrangeas. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.
One of the most striking parks in the city is at the top of Georgetown. Woods, grass, cultivated gardens, stone terraces, hills, greenhouse and stunning views spread across 53 acres. Garden tours at 2:10 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; architectural tours at 1:30 p.m. the second and fourth Saturday. Tours are monthly except August. $10, $8 military and seniors, $5 students and children.
This local oasis is off the beaten path at 18th and E streets NW. There are two reflecting pools, park benches and a statue of John Rawlins, who was secretary of war under President Ulysses S. Grant.
●Secret Garden Tour
This year’s tour on June 1 and 2 from noon to 5 p.m. will go through private gardens in historic Annapolis in the area between City Dock and Spa Creek. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 day of tour; proceeds will benefit the 1774 Hammond-Harwood House.
●Shepherd Park Garden Tour
This self-guided tour showcases landscapes and gardens in Shepherd Park, Colonial Village and North Portal Estates on June 2 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $15, $7 for members, free under 12.
● Tuckahoe Elementary Home and Garden Tour
Support the Discovery Schoolyard program when you purchase a ticket for this year’s house tour on May 11 from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $30; available at the school, 6550 26th St. N., Arlington, Va., on the day of the event.
●U.S. Botanic Garden
Three spaces on Capitol Hill — the conservatory, national garden and Bartholdi Park — offer a spectacular collection of plants. There are hundreds of flowers, shrubs and trees from varied landscapes and climates. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free.
●Washington National Cathedral
Frederick Law Olmsted designed the 59 acres surrounding the cathedral. Bishop’s Garden is highly cultivated; Olmsted Woods has oak and hickory forest, stone footpaths and wildflowers; and there’s a flower mart. The grounds are always open and free, but you can schedule a tour now through Oct. 31 online.
An earlier version of this article misspelled the last name of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The article has been updated.