Washington, DC Parks

A guide to parks in Washington, DC

East Potomac Park
Rachel Cooper

Washington, DC 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, DC parks:

Anacostia Park
1900 Anacostia Dr. SE Washington, DC.
With over 1200 acres, Anacostia Park follows the Anacostia River and is one of Washington, DC'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.

Benjamin Banneker Park
10th & G Sts. SW Washington, DC.
At the edge of the L'Enfant Promenade is a circular park with a fountain and a wonderful view of the Potomac River. This park is a memorial to Benjamin Banneker, the black man who assisted Andrew Ellicott in surveying the District of Columbia in 1791. Pierre L'Enfant designed the city based on the boundaries set forth by Banneker's and Ellicott's survey.

Bartholdi Park
Independence Ave.

& First St. SW Washington, DC.
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.

Battery Kemble Park
Chain Bridge Rd. and Macarthur Blvd. NW Washington, DC.
During the Civil War, the site held a battery that held two 100-pounder Parrott rifles to guard approaches to the Chain Bridge.

A 57-acre neighborhood park was established around the historic site providing rolling hills and walking trails.

Capitol Hill Parks
The Capitol Hill neighborhood has 59 inner-city triangles and squares that were designed by Pierre L'Enfant to provide urban green space in the nation’s capital. The largest are Folger, Lincoln, Marion and Stanton Parks. All are located between 2nd Streets NE and SE and the Anacostia River.

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park
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.

Constitution Gardens
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.

Dupont Circle
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.​

East Potomac Park - Hains Point
Ohio Dr. SW Washington, DC.
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.

Fort Dupont Park
Randle Circle. SE Washington, DC.
The 376-acre park is located east of the Anacostia River in southeast Washington, DC. Visitors enjoy picnics, nature walks, Civil War programs, gardening, environmental education, music, skating, sports, theater, and concerts.

Fort Reno Park
Fort Reno Dr. NW Washington, DC.
The park in the Tenleytown neighborhood has the highest point in the city.

This is a popular destination for summer concerts.

Fort Totten Park
Fort Totten Dr., just south of Riggs Rd.
Fort Totten was a fort used during the Civil War. It was located atop a ridge along the main road from Washington to Silver Spring, Maryland. You can walk through the park today and see remains of the fort, the abattis, powder magazines, and rifle trenches.

Francis Scott Key Park
34th & M Sts. NW Washington, DC.
This small park, located east of the Georgetown side of the Key Bridge, features a panoramic view of the Potomac River, a walkway, a bike path from the C & O Canal, and a bust of Francis Scott Key.

Friendship "Turtle" Park
4500 Van Ness St. NW Washington, DC.
This is one of the best playgrounds in DC, with plenty of slides, swings, tunnels, and climbing structures. There is a fenced area with shade, benches and picnic tables. Other amenities include a sandbox with turtles, basketball and tennis courts, softball/soccer fields and a recreation center.

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

Kalorama Park
19th St. & Kalorama Rd. NW Washington, DC.
Kalorama Park is a large playground in the heart of Adams Morgan next to Kalorama Recreation Center. The playgrounds are divided into big-kid and little-kid fenced play areas.

Kingman and Heritage Islands Park
Oklahoma Ave. NE Washington, DC. Entrance is at the back of RFK Stadium Parking Lot 6. The park is located along the Anacostia River and is managed by Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region. Visitors enjoy walking, biking, birding, boating, and fishing.

Living Classrooms offers educational tours and programs focused on the environment and history of the park.

Lafayette Park, also known as Presidents Park
16th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW (across from the White House), Washington, DC.
The seven-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.

Meridian Hill Park - Also known as Malcolm X Park
15th & 16th Sts, NW, Washington, DC.
The 12-acre park has a stunning cascading water staircase and 18th-century European-style terraced landscaping. Four sculptures serve as memorials to President James Buchanan, Jeanne d'Arc, Dante, and Jose Clara's Serenity. Concerts and other special events are often performed at this park.

Montrose Park
R St., NW between 30th & 31st Sts. Washington, DC.
Montrose Park is a small 16-acre neighborhood park located at the north end of Georgetown between Dumbarton Oaks and Oak Hill Cemetery.

It has tennis courts and a playground. A pathway called Lover's Lane leads to Rock Creek Park.

National Mall
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.

Pershing Park
14th St. & Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC.

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.

Rawlins Park
18th & E Sts., NW Washington, DC.
Located across from the Department of the Interior in Foggy Bottom, this small garden offers an urban oasis. The park serves as a memorial with a statue of Major General John A. Rawlins, advisor to General Ulysses S. Grant.

Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Pkwy, Washington, DC.

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.

Theodore Roosevelt Island Park
George Washington Memorial Parkway, Washington, DC.

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 1/2 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.

Tidal Basin
The Tidal Basin is a man-made inlet adjacent to the Potomac River in Washington, DC. 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.

West Potomac Park
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.