Of the thousands of flowering plants in the Arboretum, only one, the lilac, is singled out each year for a daylong celebration. Mainly located on the edge of Bussey Hill Road in the heart of the landscape, the lilac collection at the Arnold Arboretum is among the premier collections of these plants in North America. Lilac Sunday has been celebrated at the Arnold Arboretum since 1908.
Tours of the lilacs and family activities are available from 10:00am to 3:00pm on Sunday, May 13. The landscape is open from dawn until dusk.
Lilac Sunday is the one day of the year that picnicking is allowed at the Arnold Arboretum, so pack your picnic basket, grab a blanket, and plan to stay for the day. Or plan to eat at one of the many area restaurants in Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury, and Brookline. Note that there are no food or beverages sold at the event. In recent years we have had food trucks on site, however, there will be no food trucks. Visit Food Truck Festivals of America to see their upcoming events.
Note that due to ongoing road construction and reconfiguration at the former Casey Overpass, you may wish to seek an alternate route to the Arboretum. Traffic can move through this area, though there are route changes and possibly restrictions.
Street parking along the Arboretum perimeter is limited. Visitors are advised to take public transportation. No unauthorized vehicles are allowed within the gates on weekends.
Some parking spaces outside the gates are designated for special-needs visitors. A limited number of wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis at information tents in three locations: in front of the Hunnewell Visitor Center, inside the Forest Hills Gate, and inside the Centre Street Gate. They may not be reserved in advance.
With 369 lilac plants representing 165 taxa (kinds), the Arboretum holds one of the premier lilac collections in North America.