5 Great Places to Picnic in Washington, D.C.

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When the weather cooperates, we all love to get outside and explore the world around us. There is nothing more refreshing and soothing to the soul than a picnic in the sun, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Every city in the United States has incredible locations for picnicking. Below are 5 Great Places to Picnic in Washington, D.C.

National Arboretum

A free living museum with azaleas, lilacs, trees, shrubs, and plants of a wide variety. This entire park is a carefully crafted celebration of nature and the ideal place for picnicking in Washington, D.C. You can enjoy a long walk through the various gardens, learn about the local plant life, stop in the museum or visit the tropical conservatory. The Grove of State Trees Picnic Area is a great spot for picnicking. You will be amazed by how many hidden gems there are to find in the National Arboretum whether they be wildflowers, tucked away pathways or gazebos, or a still pool in front of soaring Corinthian Columns more resemblant of Ancient Greece or Rome than the United States. 

The Bishop’s Garden

One of the best natural refuges in Washington, D.C. Just South of Washington National Cathedral is a garden that was private long ago but is now free and open to the public. The garden’s design was inspired by medieval walled gardens and features a gazebo, stone pathways, lush foliage, terraced landscaping, and small water features. You step into The Bishop’s Garden and out of the city – the Garden is its own private world with only the high steeples of the Cathedral in view as a reminder of the outside world. 

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Follow boardwalks over marshes and ponds and watch for frogs jumping across lily pads. Keep your eye out for cattails and lotuses in bloom or try to listen for birdsong through gardens. Very few cities have an Aquatic Garden to explore, and Kenilworth is truly something special. You can travel by canoe along the marsh, stop at a bench along the trails, or picnic near blooming lotus flowers. The entire park shows nature at its finest whether you’re on the boardwalk or the open fields of the larger Kenilworth Park.

West Potomac Park

Ready for a picnic with some of the most iconic landmarks and monuments in the United States in the background? Then, it’s time to head to West Potomac Park. The Rock Creek Trail takes you alongside the Potomac River past memorials to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Ericsson, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Near the Ohio Drive bridge, on the Rock Creek Trail, you can stop beneath a flowering tree and look across the water to see the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. The West Potomac Park is far less busy than the East Potomac side which makes it perfect for picnicking amid the famous monuments of Washington, D.C.

The Yards Park

A downtown park on the Anacostia River. The Yards Park has open lawns, a pool, a waterfall, and dancing fountains. At night, the lights surrounding the pool glow with different colors. During the day and evening the park is often used as a performance venue as it is near the heart of Downtown D.C. This is a fantastic, bustling city park with plenty of restaurants and shops nearby to grab some food before lounging in the park.

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