Where Are The Best Parks in DC?

See The Parks You Can’t Miss Out On

The days are getting warmer, the sun is setting later, and you are beginning to crave a nice long day outside. Pack your picnic basket! Throw in that book you’ve been eyeing! Grab your dog, a frisbee, and a yoga mat. It’s time to enjoy the day.  

DC is full of parks, special green spaces made for residents to relax in. Keep reading to find out about the miles of trails in the District of Columbia.

Man working at a local park

Civil War Defenses of Washington

Along the hills across from the Anacostia River in South East DC is a park that was once part of the something called the Civil War Defenses of Washington, the “Fort Circle Parks.”

In the late 1890s interested parties began to conceive a vision of a ring of trails around Washington DC connected by lush green parks that preserved these historic forts; by 1919 Congress approved and thus the Fort Circle Trail was established.

Fort Dupont Park

Come to Fort Dupont Park for their Summer Theatre, an outdoor amphitheater which hosts movies, concerts, and plays. They already have a list of events for August.

That isn’t all the park offers! You can also check out Fort Dupont itself, which was once a major spot for runaway slaves to find refuge at during the war and is right around the corner from Dupont Circle.

There is also a sports complex where you can play tennis, basketball, and softball, and volunteers grow fruits and vegetables in the community garden.

Found at 3600 F St SE.

Little Falls Stream Valley Park

This park, located in Northeast DC, is actually shared between DC and Maryland. It covers 160 acres, has multiple trails, and is truly one of DC’s loveliest gems. Check out Little Falls Trail, a 3.5-mile trek for bikers and hikers that takes you to multiple views of Little Falls.  

Fun Fact: In 2018 a reforestation process was put into effect, in which volunteers helped remove non-native invasive species.

Friends of Georgetown Waterfront Park

This park is situated along the Whitehurst Freeway and begins right next to the Washington Harbor, near Farmers Fishers Bakers and, of all the things, the Embassy of Sweden. You can jump on a Pirate Ship or other cruise ships, or you can just stroll the park, buy some ice cream, walk your dog, and enjoy the day.

Rock Creek Park

One of the oldest parks in DC, construction began for Rock Creek Park was in 1897. This land was deforested during the Civil War, when the Union soldiers cut down the trees in what would soon become the park and laid down the logs so that the Confederates couldn’t march through.

There is a lot more going on here than you might expect. A planetarium offers a high-tech simulation of the night sky above, there are horses you can ride, pre-Civil War buildings to sightsee, a golf course, tennis courts, even boating on the water!

And that’s just the beginning. You will find plenty of events here too, like the weekly Creature Feature at 4 pm on Fridays where you can learn all about a new animal, or the Exploring the Universe show at the Planetarium every Saturday at 4 (both are free!) You will also find scout ranger programs for boys and girls.

There is also an Archaeology program centered around Rock Creek Park, tracing materials found on the grounds to Native American settlements, colonial frontiersmen, the Civil War and more.

Rock Creek Park is technically part of the Rock Creek Conservatory, meaning that dedicated researchers and specialists are ensuring that the nature and history of the area is preserved.

Dumbarton Oaks Park

This gem is technically not a park so much as a Harvard University Research Institute with a library, museum, and garden.

The estate hosted important diplomatic meetings during the second world war with delegations from China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States all taking part in the “Dumbarton Oak Conversations.” These conversations led to the establishment of the United Nations Charter in 1945.

The garden was featured in National Geographic as one of the top ten best gardens in the world in 2014. You can visit for $10 (discounts for students, seniors, military members, and children apply), or you can get season pass for unlimited visits!

Found on R St. NW.

Montrose Park

You will wander into Montrose Park from Georgetown by walking along R street between 28th and 32nd. This one has a large playground area for children, two sets of tennis courts, and a series of trails that eventually take you over to Rock Creek Park.

Check here to find a map of nearby parking and here to find a complete history and set of maps.

The Glenwood Cemetary

Looking for a quieter, more contemplative place to think? There is a series of historic, connected cemeteries in Edgewood (North East DC). Established in 1852 it sits alongside the Prospect Hill Cemetery and St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, both of which are also considered historic landmarks. Accessed via Lincoln Rd.

These three cemeteries are well taken care of and have large groves of trees that offer a sense of privacy and serenity. The path you choose to walk is up to you.

Battery Kemble Park

We can’t let you go without mentioning Battery Kemble, another one of the Fort Circle Parks. This one is especially peaceful, tucked way in a NW corner of the city.

It offers an open field surrounded by trees to take your mind away from all of the buildings and responsibilities only a few miles away.  

Found at 3035 Chain Bridge Rd NW.

Enjoy the Best Parks in DC

we hope you enjoyed this guid on the best parks around the city! Washington DC is home to many apartment dwellers around the nation who enjoy city life and nature in one amazing community.

Ready to join in on all the fun? Browse apartments near your favorite park with DARO. 

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