Good news! Research confirms what we’ve long known to be true: exposure to the natural world is a key ingredient to living a happy, healthy life.
In a study of more than 20,000 participants, the European Centre for Environment & Human Health discovered that participants who spent at least two hours in green spaces per week were “substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who didn’t.”
In a place like DC, if you know where to look, you will find that every quadrant of the city is filled with vibrant green spaces and hidden outdoor gems. Here are a few of our favorites.
Top 10 Green Spaces in DC:
- National Arboretum – A place where first-time visitors often become enthusiasts. The 400+ acre park tucked away in Northeast is the home to over 10 gardens including a Bonsai & Penjing museum you’ll find tiny trees that are hundreds of years old!
- Rock Creek Park – Visit the 2,000 acre Northwest haven, and you’ll feel like you’ve left the city. If you know where to find them, you’ll discover ruins from the Capitol building and a horse barn. It’s an ideal place to be on a Saturday; grab a picnic, soccer ball and the dog!
- Tidal Basin & Haines Point – An iconic spot in Spring when the Cherry Blossoms trees are in full bloom. Locals know, if you plan to visit during the festival, go on a weekday!
- C&O Canal – Walk, bike, or run along the sand & gravel towpath of the canal, which starts in Georgetown and goes all the way to Cumberland, MD.
- National Mall – It’s been dubbed “America’s Front Yard” for a reason and it’s not just a place for our cities tourists! With all that open space, it’s ideal for throwing the frisbee or flying a kite. Grab a book, hop on your bike and enjoy.
- Fort Reno Park – Located in Tenleytown, the park includes the highest elevation point in the city and is the location of the only Civil War battle that took place in D.C. Locals know it for free summer concerts, great tennis courts and a festive place to be on July 4th.
- Lincoln Park – A Capitol Hill park that is bustling year-round. Picnics, playgrounds, first dates, Birthday parties; a visit to the park will almost guarantee to put a smile on your face.
- Meridian Hill – A beloved park with a storied history located between U Street & Adams Morgan. Visit and you’ll likely see outdoor yoga, a drum circle, or a couple taking engagement photos by the multiple-tiered fountain.
- Roosevelt Island – This Potomac River island sits between Georgetown and Rosslyn. The trails take about an hour to walk and include multiple views of the river, a wetlands area, and a memorial to President Roosevelt himself. On good-weather-days, parking spaces can be hard to come by. If you’re able, try biking over–the Mount Vernon trail will lead you right there.
- Kingman and Heritage Island Park – Nestled right along the Anacostia River, these two islands overlook RFK stadium in southeast DC. You can bike, boat, picnic and walk over a mile and a half of trails. We visited the trails just a few weeks ago–take a look at the video below.