Washington DC has many public parks that are run by the National Park Service. Below are the top 10 public parks in the US capital city. If you are interested in photography and sightseeing, these places are must-visit scenic places to include in your tour itinerary.
Memorial Parks along the National Mall
This landscaped park is one of the highlights of a DC trip devoted to memorials. Most of the monuments dedicated to the founding fathers of the US, wartime events and veterans, and civil right activists reside in this property. It is a glimpse of history spread across 146-acre land and has several tree-lined paths, the Potomac River, and other attractive landscapes.
As its name implies, this public park situated on the avenue of the same name was established as a tribute to the US Constitution’s developers. Full of picturesque landscapes spread across acres of space, its main highlight is a namesake lake that extends to the National Mall. If you are a nature lover looking for some inner peace in the midst of the bustling metropolis, this garden is worth exploring when in Washington DC.
George Mason Memorial
Not all are aware of this memorial devoted to George Mason, who was one of the founding fathers of the United States. It is situated on East Potomac Park and adjacent to the memorial dedicated to the former US President Thomas Jefferson. A statue of George Mason is placed on a bench in the park and features engraved quotes by him.
Meridian Hill Park
This park located in Columbia Heights is home to beautiful gardens, fountains, and the statues of Joan of Arc and Dante Alighieri. It used to be home to a mansion in the past and a camping ground for Union Army soldiers before it got listed as a National Historic site. The park is part of the larger Rock Creek Park, which is spread across over 1700 acres. During the summertime, people gather around here on Sundays to participate in the “drum circle”.
Rock Creek Park
This park is home to mile-long trails, the National Zoo owned by the Smithsonian Institution, a tennis center, a ballpark, a performance arts venue, a nature center cum planetarium, and several recreation activities. They include horseback riding, hiking, and biking, besides areas to play golf and tennis. Even kids can have a good time along the playing fields here. If you are in the mood to explore history, also make it a point to visit Peirce Mill nearby, which stays open all year long and hosts demonstrations on milling procedure from April to October.
Capitol Hill Parks
These are a collection of public parks located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. They include the Lincoln Park, Folger Park, Stanton Park, and Marion Park. The neighborhood also comprises the Eastern Market, which hosts a farmer’s market and several indoor and outdoor stores selling all kinds of products from fresh produce to handicrafts. Besides park exploration, this area is certainly worth exploring when on tours of Washington DC if you have plans for shopping.
Fort Dupont Park
This wooded park spread across acres of land used to be home to a fort, built as part of the fortification to protect the capital city during the American Civil War. It is adjacent to the Anacostia River and has plenty of trails for trekking and biking, areas for having picnics, and hosts programs on the Civil War led by the National Park Service rangers. It is also home to a community garden and hosts outdoor concerts in a theater of sorts during the summertime.
Great Falls Park
When the Potomac River’s tributary makes its way down from the cliffs and rocks and through the Mather Gorge at the Great Falls Park, it creates a breathtaking sight for all nature lovers. One glimpse of that sight and you will instantly feel an urge to take out your cameras and photography it when on tours of Washington DC. The visitors to the park can trek along six distinct trails, comprising the River Trail running along the tributary. That is the place to be if you want picturesque views of the gorge and the flowing Potomac River.
The gardens of the White House, which has been the residence of the US President since 1800, are landscaped and is often referred to as the President’s Park. National Park Service is responsible to maintain the grounds of the park as well as the White House. Besides serving as a location for protesters, who usually call for the President to step down, the park is home to military monuments and hosts the National Christmas Tree tradition.
Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens
Nestled inside Anacostia Park, this oasis should be in the bucket list of all nature lovers. Devoted to the aquatic plant’s growth and study, the park has everything from water lilies to lotus and hyacinth, dozens of ponds, and boardwalks for visitors to explore the habitat full of birds and wildflowers.