The 16 Most Beautiful Public Gardens to Visit in the Fall

We don't give mums nearly as much credit as they deserve.

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Getty ImagesN. Vivienne Shen Photography

So many of us think of fall as the end to the visual glory that is the summer season, mourning the end of colorful blooms and lush greenery as we accept a basket of mums as a consolation prize. That's just not true at these stunning gardens, where creative landscaping, beautiful plants, and, yes, pumpkins create impressive scenery against a backdrop of autumn foliage.

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Larry Albee Courtesy Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

To visit Longwood Gardens is a bit like walking into a painting — the famed horticulturalist's paradise is just that breathtaking. From October 22-November 20, the Chrysanthemum Festival offers a feast for the eyes, featuring over 17,000 of the colorful flowers in incredible arrangements. Don't miss the Thousand Bloom Mum, a single plant that has 1,500 perfectly-arranged blooms (and counting). You'll never look at those garden center mums the same way again. 

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Antonio M. Rosario Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Though at first glance, this wild walkway would appear to be hundreds of miles from the city, it's right in Brooklyn's crown gem. Fall visitors can also and other unexpected delights.

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Getty ImagesN. Vivienne Shen Photography
Chicago Botanic Garden

The beauty of the 17-acre Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden is heightened in the fall, when gingko trees take on a golden cast. 

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Getty ImagesMark Turner
Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle

Tucked on the shores of Lake Washington, the 230-acre Arboretum immerses you in the lush beauty of nature. The Japanese Garden has a , but is entirely worth the price of admission.

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Mary Ann Olson Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri

Founded back in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Though it's home to one of the world's largest collection of rare orchids, the grounds have an artful design that's enhanced by autumn's palette.

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Getty ImagesDean Fikar
Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Though Texas doesn't immediately come to mind when thinking of fall foliage, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden's Japanese Garden practically lights up in red, orange, and yellow hues come autumn. 

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Getty ImagesJim Watson/AFP
National Arboretum, Washington, D.C.

Think of the National Arboretum as a living museum, where you can see native plants along with sights like the National Capitol Columns. In the fall, the almost 200-year-old columns take on an almost golden glow from the muted grasses and leaves that surround them.

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Courtesy Dallas Arboretum
Dallas Arboretum

Love a good pumpkin? Then you'll really love visiting Dallas Arboretum in the fall. The grounds are practically filled with over 90,000 pumpkins and gourds through November 23.

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Ivo M. Vermeulen
The New York Botanical Garden

Autumn is one of the best seasons to be in New York, especially if you happen to be visiting the New York Botanical Garden (which is celebrating its 125th anniversary). The Conservatory (shown here) is a lovely place to visit if the day is a bit too chilly.

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Seth Davis
The Mount, Lenox, Massachusetts

Edith Wharton's turn-of-the-century home also features an amazing garden. You'll have to visit soon — the house and grounds are open through the end of October.

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Getty ImagesJohn Greim
Asticou Azalea Garden, Mount Desert Island, Maine

From May through October, the stunning azaleas at the Land and Garden Preserve at Mount Desert Island, Maine, display a shifting palette of colors. The plum, golden, and muted tones of autumn are particularly stunning.

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Getty ImagesMyLoupe
Winterthur Enchanted Woods, Winterthur, Delaware

There's so much to see and do at Winterthur, the former home of Henry Francis du Pont, that you'll probably need to spend more than a day there. One especially lovely sight during the fall is the Enchanted Woods, a whimsical garden that looks straight out of a storybook against autumn's bright palette.  

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Courtesy Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens

Ranked as one of the top botanic gardens in the United States, the Denver Botanic Gardens pack a lot into 24 acres. There's a water lily garden, a children's garden, a science pyramid, international-inspired gardens, and so much more. The native trees and grasses bring unique color and texture to the landscape in the fall.

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Courtesy Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, Massachusetts

Designed as a year-round garden, Tower Hill's 132-acre property has well-designed trails and walkways for taking in the crisp autumn air. Even the entrance is grand, thanks to the 119 pre-20th century apple trees that flank the entry drive. 

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Kathleen Caylor Photography/Courtesy Green Bay Botanical Garden
Green Bay Botanical Garden

If we could use one word to describe the Green Bay Botanical Garden, it would be "enchanting." The grounds feature a wide variety of native plants that make for lovely views no matter the season.

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Courtesy Wave Hill
Wave Hill, Riverdale, New York

Located in the Bronx and overlooking the Hudson River, Wave Hill is considered to be one of the . This view is perhaps the only evidence you need. 

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