A Guide to Washington, D.C. Parks

Washington, D.C. parks offer endless opportunities to enjoy recreational activities. Visitors and residents enjoy walking, picnicking, relaxing and participating in sports activities in the National Parks and small city parks. Here is an alphabetical guide to Washington, D.C. parks:

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Anacostia Park

Anacostia Park Washington D.C. aerial view

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

With over 1200 acres, Anacostia Park follows the Anacostia River and is one of Washington, D.C.'s largest recreation areas. Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens and Kenilworth Marsh offer beautiful nature walks and exhibits. There is an 18-hole course, a driving range, three marinas, and a public boat ramp.

1900 Anacostia Drive SE, Washington D.C.

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Bartholdi Park

Bartholdi Park, United States Botanic Garden

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A part of the U.S. Botanic Garden, this park is located across the street from the conservatory. A beautifully landscaped flower garden has as its centerpiece, a classical style fountain that was created by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the French sculptor who also designed the Statue of Liberty.

​Independence Avenue & First Street SW, Washington, D.C. 

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Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park

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From Georgetown to Great Falls, Virginia. The historic park dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries offers lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including picnicking, bicycling, fishing, boating and more.

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Constitution Gardens

East side of the Constitution Gardens near the national mall

 

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Located on the National Mall, these gardens occupy 50 acres of landscaped grounds, including an island and a lake. Trees and benches line the paths to create a tranquil atmosphere and a perfect spot for a picnic. The gardens boast approximately 5,000 oak, maple, dogwood, elm and crabapple trees, covering more than 14 acres.

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Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle fountain

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Dupont Circle is a neighborhood, a traffic circle, and a park. The circle itself is a popular urban gathering place with park benches and a memorial fountain in honor of Admiral Francis Dupont, the first naval hero for the Union cause in the Civil War. This area has a variety of ethnic restaurants, unique shops, and private art galleries.​

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East Potomac Park, Hains Points

East East Potomac Park along Potomac River

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The 300+ acre peninsula is located between the Washington Channel and the Potomac River on the south side of the Tidal Basin. Public facilities include a golf course, a mini-golf course, a playground, an outdoor pool, tennis courts, picnic facilities and a recreation center.

Ohio Drive SW, Washington, D.C.

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Fort Dupont Park

empty tree lined road through Fort Dupont Park

 

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The 376-acre park is located east of the Anacostia River in southeast Washington, D.C. Visitors enjoy picnics, nature walks, Civil War programs, gardening, environmental education, music, skating, sports, theater and concerts.

Randle Circle SE, Washington, D.C.

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Georgetown Waterfront Park

Georgetown Waterfront Park

 

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The Georgetown waterfront provides a relaxing and beautiful setting along the Potomac River. The park includes space for walking, picnicking, bicycling and skating.

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Lafayette Park

Low angle view of Andrew Jackson Statue, Lafayette Park

 

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The 7-acre park provides a prominent arena for public protests, ranger programs, and special events. It was named to honor the Marquis de Lafayette, the French hero of the American Revolution. An ​equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson is located in the center and in the four corners are statues of Revolutionary War heroes: France's General Marquis Gilbert de Lafayette and Major General Comte Jean de Rochambeau; Poland's General Thaddeus Kosciuszko; Prussia's Major General Baron Frederich Wilhelm von Steuben. Buildings surrounding the park include the White House, the Old Executive Office Building, the Department of the Treasury, Decatur House, Renwick Gallery, The White House Historical Association, Hay-Adams Hotel and The Department of Veterans Affairs.

​16th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue NW (across from the White House), Washington, D.C.

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National Mall

Boy playing soccer on the National Mall

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The most prominent place in the nation's capital has lots of green space and is a popular gathering place for picnicking and relaxing. Children love to ride the carousel on the National Mall and marvel over the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building. Festivals, concerts, special events, and demonstrations are held here throughout the year.

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Pershing Park

Pennsylvania Avenue view from Pershing Park to Capitol Building

 

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This park, located next to Freedom Plaza and across from the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, offers a nice place for relaxing and eating. The park is going to be redesigned as the World War I Memorial.

14th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 

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Rock Creek Park

Fall foliage at Rock creek park

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This urban park extends 12 miles from the Potomac River to the border of Maryland. Visitors can picnic, hike, bike, rollerblade, play tennis, fish, horseback ride, listen to a concert, or attend programs with a park ranger. Children can participate in a wide range of special programs, including planetarium shows, animal talks, exploratory hikes, crafts, and junior ranger programsThe National Zoo is located within Rock Creek Park.

Rock Creek Parkway, Washington, D.C.

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Theodore Roosevelt Island Park

Roosevelt Island with people walking around a fountain

Victoria Chamberlain / TripSavvy 

A 91-acre wilderness preserve serves as a memorial to the nation's 26th president, honoring his contributions to the conservation of public lands for forests, national parks, wildlife and bird refuges, and monuments. The island has 2.5 miles of foot trails where you can observe a variety of flora and fauna. A 17-foot bronze statue of Roosevelt stands in the center of the island.

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Tidal Basin

Cherry Blossom sunrise over Jefferson Memorial by tidal basic

 

Lingxiao Xie/Getty Images 

The Tidal Basin is a man-made inlet adjacent to the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. It offers beautiful views of the famous cherry trees and the Jefferson Memorial and is a wonderful spot to enjoy a picnic or rent a paddle boat.

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West Potomac Park

west Potomac River Park

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This is a national park adjacent to the National Mall, west of the Tidal Basin and the Washington Monument. Major attractions in the area include Constitution Gardens, the Reflecting Pool, the Vietnam, Korean, Lincoln, Jefferson, World War II, and FDR memorials.

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