9 Fantastic Outdoor Destinations Near Thomas Circle

The city of Washington D.C. is a magnificent place to live and visit. It’s rich with American history, exciting entertainment, and magnificent sights. Stunning landmarks are found throughout D.C. and the land around the city, as well. 

Whether you are visiting for the day or thinking about moving to the Thomas Circle area, you’re sure to find plenty of things to see and do. If you love nature and the outdoors, here are a few must-see locations that will take your breath away…

Civil War Defenses of Washington

The area surrounding D.C. has a rich history. Scattered across the beautiful grounds around the capital, you’ll find remnants of Civil War fortifications. In 1865, the city was circled by 68 forts and 93 batteries, making it one of the most heavily fortified cities in the world. The National Park Service now manages 17 of these sites, which attract numerous visitors daily. 

Park guests can visit a number of interesting sites that make up the Civil War Defenses of Washington. The Battleground National Cemetery was built after the battle of Fort Stevens. The two-day battle was the end of General Early’s Confederate attack against the capital. 

Fort Stevens is a legendary battle site because President Abraham Lincoln rode out to observe and was briefly under Confederate fire. Fort Greble and Battery Carroll guarded the entryway to Washington during the war. Guests can visit a number of other interesting forts near Thomas Circle as well as D.C.’s Civil War Earthworks during their visit to the Civil War Defenses of Washington. 

Fort Dupont Park

Fort Dupont Park is an historic area that was once home to a Civil War fort. It boasts 376-acres of stunning, wooded land and open spaces that are perfect for nature walks, music programs, and environmental education. 

The Fort Dupont Community Gardens offer local citizens the opportunity to bring delicious fresh produce to the table. A permit is required to use the space, but gardening plots are free. There is a limit of two plots per address. 

The park is an excellent place for a picnic lunch on a sunny day followed by a hike along the nature trails. It’s also a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, so grab your favorite book and find a shady spot to relax. 

Little Falls Stream Valley Park

You’ll find Little Falls Stream Valley Park tucked away in the northeast corner of D.C., sharing land with Maryland. It’s a pretty little outdoor treasure in Thomas Circle, with 160-acres of forest featuring awesome trails. The Little Falls trail is 3.5-miles long and a great place to ride your bike or take your pup for a walk. 

Friends of Georgetown Waterfront Park

If you’re looking for a picture-perfect spot for your next Instagram photo, this is it. The Friends of Georgetown Waterfront Park has a breathtaking fountain as its centerpiece. In the evenings, the sparkling fountain twinkles with dazzling lights, and it’s a great spot to cool your toes on a warm summer day. 

georgetown waterfront park in thomas circle

Another great photo op awaits at the River Steps, a spot just east of the fountain. This spot was originally meant to provide seating for regatta races, but now it’s ideal for picnicking, sharing a coffee with a friend, or just relaxing in the sun. 

Exquisite landscaping features are found throughout the park, including delightful rain gardens. Rain gardens are designed to collect runoff from storms and allow it to slowly soak into the land, keeping plants and lawns brilliantly hydrated. 

Another popular spot at the park is the Labyrinth. Labyrinths originated in ancient times and were also the subjects of stories in Greek mythology. This particular labyrinth path is said to encourage visitors to disconnect from the outside world, taking a journey that leads to a relaxed mind and inner peace. 

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park is a huge oasis in the northwest area of D.C. The 1,754-acre park was the third national park to be designated by the federal government. The park has a number of fun activities for visitors of all ages. 

Over 32 miles of hiking trails with loads of connecting loops makes it easy to create your own unique hiking adventure. The Western Ridge Trail and the Valley Trail are the park’s two primary routes, both running north-south. Numerous connecting trails run east-west between the two, so guests can create loops that can be up to ten miles long. 

Visitors who enjoy historic landmarks will want to visit Old Stone House and Pierce Mill. The Rock Creek Park Nature Center offers a bookstore, local wildlife exhibits, and a planetarium. 

Dumbarton Oaks Park

Dumbarton Oaks Park is an artistic masterpiece. The park features graceful designs created by Beatrix Farrand, the most prestigious female landscape architect. The idea behind the park was to create a charming garden escape from the city, and Farrand certainly rose to the challenge. Among the highlights are a formal garden next to the mansion and a quaint stone bridge. 

front of dumbarton oats park in adams morgan

Montrose Park

Montrose Park was originally known as “Parrott’s Woods”, given to the city by rope-making magnate Robert Parrott. The grounds were used by Thomas Circle residents for picnics and meetings, but became overgrown and messy in the early 20th century. In 1911, the grounds were purchased by the U.S. government, who worked with landscape architects to restore the park to its former beauty with new elements.

Glenwood Cemetery

Glenwood Cemetery is a historic landmark that offers visitors a quiet, serene place to stroll slowly while admiring the understated beauty of their surroundings. The cemetery is the final resting place of many notable names throughout history, including Constantino Brumidi, John Luckey McCreery, Strong John Thomson, and Gretchen Hood. 

Battery Kemble Park

Battery Kemble Park is another part of the Civil War Defenses of Washington. During the war, Battery Kemble was the site of two 100-pound Parrott rifles that were used to sweep Chain Bridge and the land in Virginia, just past the bridge. 

Looking to Move to Thomas Circle?

The Thomas Circle neighborhood boasts a convenient location, incredible entertainment, top-notch dining, and rich cultural activities. Please feel free to contact us at DARO Apartments to find a beautiful new home in this wonderful city. 

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