Friday Question of the Day – Favorite Picnic Spots?

by Prince Of Petworth July 21, 2016 at 10:22 pm 25 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Erin

Lobbing a softball today (because I’ll be at the beach) but I am genuinely curious where your favorite spots are. I’m stealing this question from the New York Times – so for the District where are your favorite picnic spots? Maybe we can split this into two categories – one with an event like Jazz at the Sculpture Garden or one of the many outdoor movie or concert series and the second category will be just chilling with a picnic with no planned events beyond listening to the birds and cicadas?

  • LME

    I definitely think the National Arboretum, if you take the path down to the Anacostia River through the Japanese (?) flora section. I have had many picnics down there (my favorite is Taylor’s subs + goodies) and it is always peaceful down by the water.

    • Anon

      I like that spot too. I’ve never brought a full picnic (too tricky since the dogs are always with me) but I have brought a thermos of tea to sip while looking out over the river.

  • BE

    After reading about Diner en Blanc, and thinking to myself “Who wants to pay to go have a picnic with other people? That sounds ridiculous.”. The next morning, went to Ikea, bought a table, chairs, table-cloth, and a fake flower pot. Stopped by Whole Foods in the afternoon, cooked, and put everything together. Packed it into the car, and just drove down to Haines Point. Set everything up, turned on some Spotify “Café de Paris”, and had a picnic.

    It was pretty great. This was on the side facing Ft. McNair which was really quiet. When we left, we noticed that the opposite side facing the airport was packed with people grilling out, and in generally large groups. So, we definitely picked the better/quieter side.

    Another time, we went to Columbia Island/LBJ park. Used one of the picnic tables they’ve got near the parking lot facing the Pentagon. It was also pretty nice. . . though a bit interesting watching guys driving around trying to pick one another up. We had parked on the Pentagon side, so had to walk through LBJ park to get back to our car. It was close to sun-down, and there are some creepy dudes walking around (seriously, even if I were into that lifestyle, there were some weird creepy guys). Even though, it was a good picnic.

    • Huh?

      It was close to sun-down, and there are some creepy dudes walking around (seriously, even if I were into that lifestyle, there were some weird creepy guys).


      • BE

        It’s some sort of pick-up/hook-up park. But some of the guys wandering around appeared to be high/drunk, and zombied out. . . which just made it extra weird.

    • Anon

      Sure those weren’t slug liners?

  • dcd

    Well, I’m in Maine now, and I’d have to say Barrett Park in Boothbay Harbor. Get some Lobster rolls, a dozen oysters per person, a nice bottle of wine, and sit in the shade looking at the water. A little slice of heaven. I know that wasn’t the question, but . . .

  • NH Ave Hiker

    I like the Arboretum to picnic.

  • K

    As an easy family activity we picnic most weekends (weather depending). Our favorites are:
    -Yards Park near the wading pool
    -The Arboretum near the children’s garden
    -Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
    -Lincoln Park
    -Gallaudet University Olmstead Green. Grab A litteri’s sandwhiches and sit at the picnic tables on the Green.
    -Watkins Regional Park. It’s in MD but worth the drive.

  • anon

    Dumbarton Oaks for the win!

    • TX2DC

      +1. I used to live around the corner from that park. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic.

  • Pixie

    Montrose Park, the Arboretum, Georgetown Waterfront Park (on the 34th Street Side, it’s less crowded), Fletcher’s Cove, and the picnic areas in northern Rock Creek Park.

  • BRP

    Meridian Hill Park or (not DC, I know, sorry) Wolf Trap on the lawn before a great band gets on stage!

  • Tim

    Event picnic: Fort Reno for the summer concert series!
    Non-event picnic: Georgetown Waterfront Park, or just about any park in Capitol Hill where it’s leafy, quiet, and easy to get to.

  • Truxton Thomas

    Logan Circle, another vote for the Arboretum, and the Locke Store and Burwell-Morgan mill in Millwood, Va.

  • lmfb

    Gravelling Point–we used to like to make a thermos of coffee and a thermos of smoothie and bike there for breakfast!

    • TX2DC

      Did you mean Gravelly Point?

      • lmfb

        hahaha. Um, yes.

  • John M

    Definitely the island in the Constitution Gardens pond on the Mall. Not a lot of tourists, but still baller views of the monuments. Very pretty in the springtime.

  • elizml

    For live entertainment- you can’t beat a good lawn picnic at Wolf Trap

  • Anon

    I think this question needs 3 categories:
    1. Event picnics
    2. Places you go to with sandwiches and a blanket
    3. Places you bring a more elaborate setup to, typically requiring a car and easy parking
    A few years ago I bought a picnic basket that’s adorable but not practical for carrying very far. I think once it cools off I’ll try taking it to places like the Arboretum and Aquiatic Gardens that are more car friendly. Usually when I picnic I travel lighter and go to events like outdoor concerts.

  • karen

    Bishop’s Garden. National Cathedral. shh. don’t tell anyone.

  • JinBloomingdale

    Crispus Attucks Park – a quiet little gem of a park in the middle of a city block.

  • Ampersand

    If you’re not allergic to the state of Virginia, pack a picnic and go to the Netherlands Carillon near the Marine Corps Memorial. Beautiful overlook of the Potomac, and you can see the Lincoln, Washington, and Capitol all in a line. If you’re planning ahead, look up when there will be a full moon and go then; you can watch it rise behind the Capitol Dome. There is a beautiful tulip garden in the spring, and Saturday afternoon/evening concerts in the summer: https://www.nps.gov/gwmp/planyourvisit/netherlands-carillon-live-concert-schedule.htm
    This is my go-to place for third dates, by the way. Bake a loaf of bread, get some sandwich filling, maybe a nice salad, and a bottle of wine. Play bocce or toss a frisbee. After the sunset, look out over the city lights or lie on a blanket and look up at the stars.

  • ke

    My answer and a question: We had a picnic in a field Rock Creek Park a few weeks ago, and it was fun, but we ended up eating a slightly odd mish mash of leftovers that could be eaten cold or at least wouldn’t kill us if they warmed up. What do people like to bring on picnics?


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