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The Best Places to Run in Washington, D.C.

The city plan for Washington, D.C., provides a public square, wide lanes, and magnificent structures. D.C. is mainly flat, with many trees, rivers, canals, and creeks to make it a runner’s paradise, no matter what type of scenery you prefer. 

There are many parks and running trails within walking distance of neighborhoods in the Dupont Circle area. Meridian Hill Park provides gorgeous greenery and fresh air for runners from The Vintage on 16th, 1900 Lamont, and other locations in the Columbia Heights area. 

Running is a great way to stay healthy while exploring the D.C. area. Here are a few of the best places to run in D.C.:

The National Mall

The National Mall

The National Mall’s packed dirt path from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial is considered the signature run of the city and one of the most extraordinary runs in the world. Jog past grand museums and breathtaking historical monuments and memorials at this typically car-free area that’s especially beautiful at dusk. Runners from nearby neighborhoods in Dupont Circle and Kalorama, such as The Rodman and The Sedgewick, are within walking distance. 

C&O Canal

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was once a viable route for the transport of hogs, whiskey, and salt for sale. Joggers today take advantage of this shady, soft dirt path full of fantastic flora and fauna. It starts in Georgetown and stretches over 184 miles, but runners from Foggy Bottom, such as those from Circle Arms, can join near the midway mark. The Potomac River provides a lush background with various wildlife making the occasional appearance. 

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek as one of the best places to run

Rock Creek Park is the largest urban park in the country and provides paved paths and rugged terrain for running, hiking, and biking. Scenic Beach Drive is closed to traffic on the weekends, giving joggers even more options to raise their heart rate. Folks in Foggy Bottom and Georgetown have the best access to Rock Creek’s trails, and areas such as Cathedral Heights and Thomas Circle are a short bike or car ride away.

Embassy Row

Architecture buffs always enjoy a run along Embassy Row, home of some of the oldest and most majestic homes in D.C. Running the expanse of Massachusetts Avenue NW from Dupont Circle to National Cathedral provides a view of more than 150 embassies over Rock Creek Park and the home to the vice president, the U.S. Naval Observatory. It’s a steady rise in elevation, perfect for runners who want to test their limits, and the only downsides are a few street crossings and traffic stops. 

Residents at The Archer or The Rodney can join at either end and enjoy a run on the wide sidewalks and paved surfaces.

The Watergate Steps

The Watergate Steps

The stately Watergate Steps appear to be the gateway to heaven, but they started life as the entrance for visiting dignitaries arriving by boat. They also inspired the name of the nearby infamous hotel and provide a scenic way for runners to build stamina, muscle, and endurance. 

They are nestled between the Potomac River and the Lincoln Memorial, providing a picturesque backdrop with an added edge for runners anywhere in D.C. They are a quick six-minute drive from popular neighborhoods such as 1900 Lamont and The Vintage on 16th. 

Hains Point

This section of East Potomac Park is manufactured to attract recreation seekers of all types, with its expanse of greenery. It’s also home to some picturesque waterways: the Tidal Basin, Potomac River, Anacostia River, and Washington Channel are all accessible here. The 3-mile loop takes joggers on a scenic run to the tip of the peninsula and back. 

It’s a 14-minute drive roughly 3 miles from popular neighborhoods such as The Phoenix and Connecticut House

Mount Vernon Trail

Mount Vernon Trail

This expansive trail follows alongside the Potomac River for 18 miles adjacent to Roosevelt Island. It’s well-known among local runners for its diverse scenery, including wetlands, historic neighborhoods, yacht clubs, wooded areas, and Old Town Alexandria, where you’ll find numerous shops and eateries

Residents at communities such as Circle Arms are about six minutes away from this fun and scenic run. 

Glover Archbold Park

This Georgetown area park is so full of green space that it’s possible to forget the urban world just a few miles outside. It’s a pedestrian-only stretch of wooded land that runs alongside Tenley Circle to the Potomac River in Georgetown. 

Runners enjoy the scenery along with an abundance of wildlife, such as deer, squirrels, rabbits, and migratory birds. Residents of local communities such as 1830R Apartments and The Rodney can take a 12-minute car ride and be on the grounds. 

Georgetown Waterfront

Georgetown Waterfront

The Georgetown Waterfront provides ample places to run and enjoy the scenery, from cobblestone streets and high-end boutiques to trails and wooded areas. One of the most touted spots for runners seeking a rural feel is the Capital Crescent Trail

This shared off-road trail runs from Georgetown, D.C., to Silver Spring, MD, and is popular with bikers, walkers, joggers, and skaters. It’s built on the old railbed of an 11-mile stretch of the B&O Railroad. It is a mix of gravel and packed earth to provide a solid foundation for all recreational activities. 

There are myriad places to run in D.C., whether for fitness or training for one of the many local marathons. Public transportation and ride-share apps make it easy to get anywhere in the city when it’s time to get your run in. 

Living and Staying Fit in the D.C. Area

The Metro D.C. area provides a range of community services for fitness and recreation, which is one reason it’s such a great place to live. DARO Apartments has stylish units across the District that are designed for anyone wanting an active urban lifestyle. We have apartment floor plans that suit various needs, from studios to one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences. 

DARO communities are situated in desirable D.C. neighborhoods such as Cathedral Heights, Mount Pleasant, and Dupont Circle, and many of our buildings include a variety of fitness amenities. Contact our office for help in finding the perfect DARO home for you.

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