Friday Question of the Day – Favorite Outdoor Space in DC?

by Prince Of Petworth March 23, 2017 at 10:22 pm 66 Comments

dock outdoors
1520 1st Street, SE

Well, looks like we finally got proper spring weather on Saturday so let’s talk favorite outdoor spaces in the District (or nearby.) I was admiring the new outdoor space next to Dock 79 in Diamond Teague Park. At least I think it’s part of the park – anyway – outdoor ping pong tables!! Though I’ve never done it, the Roller Skating here is high on my list to check out. And of course Meridian Hill Park will always hold a special place in my heart. Nowadays I try to get into the Soapstone Valley trail as often as possible. Of course Cantina Marina plays a siren song that is tough for me to resist. What about you guys – 72 degrees on Saturday – where you gonna enjoy it?

  • J

    Dumbarton Oaks. It’s free during off-season and is incredibly beautiful even then.

  • Charlie

    Titanic Memorial beside the Potomac in SW

  • B’Dale Res


    • Anon NS

      I’m never really got the appeal of the arboretum but I think I’m missing something. Which part do you go to?

      • Hookdntx

        I love the Arboretum, the State Tree lot is perfect for a picnic!

      • K

        A walk through Fern Valley in the morning is my idea of heaven.

        • ShawThroughtheHeart

          Yes, and after a snow, it’s fun to disappear down into the valley, it feels much more removed than it really is. Grab a spot on one of the benches by the water, then later retire to Atlas Brew Works for a sit.

      • yayarboretum

        The old Capitol columns up on the hill. Breathtaking!

      • Gumball

        You have to check out the Asian section! so zen. so gorgeous.

        • textdoc

          +1 on the bonsai/penjing section.

      • Truxton Thomas

        Obviously the azaleas in bloom are amazing. There’s also a great tree on a hill near the wooded area by the azaleas that looks over much of the park, including the old columns. It’s a great place for a scenic picnic.

        • The Conifer collection is amazing.

    • above7-11


    • stacksp

      I got married at the Arboretum almost 10 years ago. Reception at what I believe is called the Arbor Ballroom in the Washington Times Building next door…

  • Breezy

    Yards Park in the grass with a blanket and an ice cream cone from Ice Cream Jubilee.

    • FridayGirl

      +1. I love Yards Park and am determined to get down there more this summer than I have in years past.

  • Bloomingdale

    Crispus Attucks Park.

  • OldinAM

    I can’t pick just one. From closest out: Dumbarton Oaks Park, Theodore Roosevelt Island, various places along the C&O canal (Pennyfield, Riley’s Locks).

  • LPJ

    The trails in Rock Creek Park!

    • Agree. I’m always surprised at how under-utilized RC park is!

    • DF

      I’m there daily, so I’ll have to agree!

  • Suse

    Bishop’s Garden

    • AMDCer

      Yes! Good one.

  • Tsar of Truxton

    Meridian Hill Park

  • BeverlyS

    Franciscan monastery gardens

    • soozles


  • Anon NS

    I’ll always have a soft spot for people watching in DuPont Circle. Neighborhood has long since changed, but it brings me back to moving here at 20-nothing and being like – City! People! Gays!!
    C&O canal – all the way to Harper’s Ferry & back Wonderful weekend bike ride.
    Dog park at S & 17. Perhaps not what you had in mind with this question, but its probably the only true community space I visit. Cross section of people, and everyone is friendly. I enjoy the opportunity to interact with people in my neighborhood.

    • anon

      In all that time, you didn’t get told the P is lower case?

  • artemis

    Malcolm X Park

  • Daniel in Park View

    1) My back yard in Park View. We have a really special block with no alley between the houses on my street and the houses on the street behind us, so the backyards come together like a lovely little private park. Are there other blocks in DC like this? I’ve not seen another.

    2) The Old Soldiers Home, on the rare days it’s open to the public.

  • ET

    Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and Dumbarton Oaks.

  • Mug of Glop

    The Jefferson Memorial out on the Tidal Basin when there aren’t any tourists.

  • Anonaw

    Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is the best. Can’t wait to go back

  • Anonimo

    Malcolm X park

    • Was the bomb in 1986!

      • Anon

        And then they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot?

  • TriniSoFlo

    Arboretum. At the risk of revealing a perfect, uncrowded part, China Valley in the back is amazing.

    • LincPark SE

      +1 Chillin by the Anacostia

  • K

    My absolute favorite place: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. We were this past weekend and deer were everywhere.
    Favorite playgrounds to take the kids: Children’s Playground in the Arboretum and Hillcrest Rec Center Playground
    Favorite walk: Fern Valley in the Arboretum
    Favorite Parks for a bike ride: Marvin Gaye Park Trail to Anacostia Park Trail
    Favorite spray park to take the kids: Yards Park
    Favorite park to sit and people watch: Lincoln Park or Dupont Circle

    • ABD

      +1M K! Hillcrest Rec Center Playground is awesome!! :). I think they just renovated the rec center a little as well!

  • mtpresident

    You’ll generally find us at a local playground–right now the “music playground” at 15th & Girard is my daughter’s favorite.

    • ABD

      +1M on this one too!

  • KenyonDweller

    Rock Creek Park. On those trails, you can really feel like you’re in nature and out of the city. Not many cities can boast such a large and mostly wild park. Plus, I live across the street from it.

    • wdc

      +1. If I don’t get out to RCP on a pretty day, I feel as if I failed that day.
      Do you have a favorite trail? We go to Peirce Mill and Soapstone Valley quite a bit, but would love to explore other parts.

      • DF

        The Melvin Hazen Trail that goes from near the bathrooms at Pierce Mill up to CT Ave. Lots of fun stream crossings. Fort DeBussy is fun to explore as well.

        • wdc

          I didn’t know it had a name! Yes, that’s the one we like near Peirce Mill. There’s another one that goes up along the main creek, opposite the road, to the old Peirce home (and a really great hill for rolling down), but it’s a little steep and makes me nervous when I have multiple kids in tow.

      • KenyonDweller

        I live near the Valley Trail. Sometimes I hike it north from Military and then connect to the Western Ridge Trail and hike south. It’s basically a big 8-10 mile loop.

  • maxwell smart

    Theodore Roosevelt Island. It’s my favorite hidden treasure in DC.

  • CVR

    Two of my favorite places I haven’t seen mentioned is the outdoor space next to the Botanical Gardens and Bartholdi Park across the street. I love taking my book and reading in those spots.

  • Pixie

    The Arboretum, Dumbarton Oaks, the C&O Canal, and the Anacostia Park bike trail are my favorites.

  • MadMax

    Another vote for Dumbarton Oaks. It’s so cool how every season offers something different to find beauty in there, and it’s somehow always remained peaceful and not overrun with tourists. I also really love the cemetery (Oak Hill) next to it for a relaxing stroll.
    The roof / balcony at the Newseum is also outstanding, much less of a $#!%show than the W. If we’re talking places to imbibe then I’ll go with the patio / courtyard at Iron Gate, it’s just so lovely.

    • KellyKapowski

      Can you get drinks at the Newseum balcony? Or just nice for views?

      • MadMax

        Not sure during regular operating hours, but I’ve been up there for multiple events and drinks are always served.

  • PetworthGuy

    Battery Kemble

  • Truxton Thomas

    Hillwood Estate, Arboretum, Yards Park, Sculpture Garden, Westminster Playground, Big Bear Cafe patio, and an honorable mention for Glen Echo Park in Md.

  • msus

    Meridian Hill Park. Lived right next to it for 5 years. Best place I’ve lived (location wise). Can’t think of a better place to just relax, chill, and people watch (minus perhaps the chill part on weekend afternoons).

  • divebar311

    Rock Creek Park trails. So peaceful and tranquil running there on a Saturday morning.

    I also love the Anacostia Park skating pavilion. Makes me fee like a kid again.

    Will have to check out Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, sounds gorgeous!

  • PG

    A nice bike ride to Gravelly Point is tough to beat!

  • Pleasanter

    Arboretum – it’s so big! Great for hikes, walks, bike rides. Such a hidden gem.

    I also love Book Hill Park in Georgetown.

  • 1301

    I love love love love love love love running through the Arboretum and Glover Archbold Park. Absolutely gorgeous. For hanging out … I kind of dig my roof.

  • Anonymous

    Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, as a smaller-scale alternative to the Arboretum, lovely to walk around, linger around the lake, and with some good informational displays.

    • wdc

      If you have a car, Brookside is one of the loveliest public parks I’ve ever seen, anywhere. My kids love it– the butterfly house, the ponds and streams (they like to try to catch the crayfish– I’ve told them they’ll regret it, but so far they’ve been too slow), the fountains, and of course 8 billion flowers (more in June!)

      • logandude

        Actually, it’s only about a mile walk from the Glenmont Metro Station – perhaps not an ideal walk if you are with kids, but if you are on your own perfectly do-able without a car.

  • jim_ed

    Potomac riverfront between Fletcher’s Cove and Chain Bridge. Beautiful scenery, plenty of places to fish from, rarely anyone there.

  • Nationals Ballpark


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