While GM certainly has an occasional complaint about the way Dumbarton Oaks can seem to begrudge visitors, he nonetheless thinks the estate is an amazing asset to the neighborhood and he visits it often. Often enough that he typically buys a season pass each summer, and you should too.
Here’s why: season passes are $55 for an individual, $75 for a couple, and $85 for a family (couples with children under the age of two can use a couple’s pass). Normal tickets are $8 a pop. So if you’re a couple and plan to visit the gardens at least five times between March and November, the pass pays off. If you’ve got older children, it pays off even faster.
It’s a bit more of a stretch for an individual pass to pay off, but GM thinks you ought to get one regardless and here’s why: Dumbarton Oaks has found it’s way on to the tourist circuit in recent years. On an average weekend afternoon, the line of people waiting to buy a ticket can stretch down R St. and it doesn’t move very fast. With a season pass you can skip the line completely. If the line’s long enough, skipping it just once can “pay” the cost of the pass right there!