Top 13 Water Features and Fountains in the District

Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

The following list was inspired by the masterful words of Bob Marley:

In the abundance of water the fool is thirsty.

The following list was in no way influenced by the consumption of Dos Equis Ambar.

The Top 13 water features and fountains in DC:

13. Reflecting pool on the Mall and Tidal Basin by Jefferson Memorial (of course)
12. Columbia Heights Plaza Fountain (14th and Park Rd, NW)
11. Koi ponds (when filled obviously, currently under construction) at the National Arboretum) and the whole Kenilworth Aquatic Park (of course)
10. Southwest Duck Pond (6th and K St, SW) and Dupont Circle Fountain
9. Pershing Park pond (14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW)
8. Kahlil Gibran memorial fountain (3100 Massachusetts Ave NW)
7. Water feature inside courtyard of National Portrait Gallery (8th and F St, NW)
6. Georgetown Riverfront Park Fountains
5. Yards Park Fountains and Pool
4. Fountain at Sculpture Garden (7th Street and Constitution Ave, NW)
3. Bartholdi fountain on Capitol Hill by the Botanic Garden ( Independence Avenue and First Street, SW)
2. Water cascading at National Gallery of Art seen from the basement food court (6th and Constitution Ave NW)

1. Meridian Hill Park Fountain (of course)

39 Comment

  • In my book, it doesn’t get any better than Number 3, especially at night during the summer with those incredible antique lights and big elephant ear plants. It is a little bit of peace among chaos. Love that place!!

  • What about the rivers?

    • Maybe rivers don’t count as a “water feature”? But the C&O canal definitely does… This is a good list, I like to think the C&O was #14 and just missed being included.

      • Fair enough, I didn’t realize “water feature” was an actual thing. Wiki says “In landscape architecture and garden design, a water feature is one or more items from a range of fountains, pools, ponds, cascades, waterfalls, and streams.”

  • Dupont Circle fountain! It’s heavily instagrammed!! 🙂

  • Why isnt the anacostia river on here? 😉

  • When I was a kid the water cascade at the National Gallery was one of my favorite spots in the city. I loved how it looked totally different from above ground than it did from the cafeteria level. And how nice and cool it was to stand near it on a hot day. And how it was like looking at a waterfall from the comfort of a building without having to go traipsing through the woods.

  • Love, love, love Bartholdi Fountain!!!

  • Anyone know when the koi ponds will be back?

  • The SW duck pond is disgusting. I was so excited when I was moving there after I saw it on the map, and then so disappointed. Last time I saw it, it was toxic green, there was trash littered everywhere in the park, and nothing but a few geese taking a dump. Maybe it has changed over the past year?

    • Cory, not sure when the last time you were at the Southwest Duck Pond but it is one awesome park and has been for years!! The Duck Pond hosts the weekly Little Farm Stand every Saturday morning (Lori’s fresh, homemade pies are all the rage!!), Second Saturdays with local chefs featuring the Little Farm Stand’s locally grown crops, weekly clean ups by neighbors, best looking dog in the neighborhood parades, beginners’ yoga every Tuesday in June, Tai Chi every Tuesday in July, neighborhood ice cream socials, a haunted “Pirate Island” for kids on Halloween, and so much more. This year the neighbors secured a grant to install underwater lights under all the fountains. Also, check out our website to learn more about this amazing park: or check us out on Facebook!!

      PoP – to see for yourself, stop by the Duck Pond on Thursday, May 8 at 7pm for the Summer 2014 Inauguration of the Fountains and Volunteer Recognition. The Southwest Duck Pond is deserving of being on your list. 🙂

  • No Meridian Hill Park fountains? By far and away the most grand water feature I think in DC!
    Kenilworth aquatic when the lillies are in bloom is astounding. truly a secret little gem in DC. Worth the haul across the river.

  • Great topic, PoP! I beg to differ, though, with your inclusion of the cascade at the National Gallery, which has never done much for me. There’s no music in it, just a dull roar. The water is uniformly white, which is boring. Perhaps you find it calming?

    For me there’s much more to the classical fountains, like at the Library of Congress, or DuPont Circle, where transparent water describes arcs in the air and there are a variety of sculpted forms to look at. I’m surprised neither is in here.

    I do enjoy the water features at Columbia Heights and in the patio of the Nat. Portrait Gallery, more in how people interact with the water, than the way the water itself looks or acts.

    We’re in full agreement, however, about the fountain at Meridian Hill Park. Divine!

  • Thank you for including the DuPont fountain, even as an afterthought! I’ll take it.

  • What about the Senate fountain, and the Library of Congress fountain? I think they’re right up there with Meridian Hill.

  • No FDR memorial? It’s my favorite DC water feature.

    Would have loved to see the water fountains on Roosevelt island in their heyday….alas they seem to no longer work.

  • Unfair and uninformed bashing of the SW Duck **POND** by Cory. It is a pond for ducks, not a chemical-laden water fountain for Cory to bathe his shit-tzu in, unique in DC, and alone on the Top 13 is primarily maintained by volunteers and community donations.

  • The Duck Pond is truly a beautiful space and much of what makes it that way is truly a grassroots effort. No park in the District is ever trash free so that was a gratuitous observation. Come back in mid-May and see what has been accomplished by a dedicated group of neighbors.The Pond gives pleasure to adults, children, ducks, dogs, fruit and vegetable lovers, etc.

  • As for water features, what about the portions of Rock Creek where you (occasionally) get rolling rapids? Shades of Great Falls right here in the city.

  • I love the SW Duck Pond! Wow, so proud to see it listed. We take the kids there all summer long to play. We have so many great photos of the kids there. It is truly a neighborhood treasure for sure.

  • saf

    I would add the FDR memorial and the lake in Constitution Gardens.

  • Bartholdi fountain is one of my favorite places in the city

  • Like others I can’t believe the fountains at FDR are not on the list. I know there are many in the city who have never been to the memorial. The challenge is to find a time when it is not overrun with school age tour groups. summer evenings are usually ideal.

  • My wedding ceremony was in front of meridian hill park fountain! Love that park!

  • YES! I love the Meridian Hill fountains!!

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