National Mall

Spanning two miles and flanked by the White House, the Capitol Building, and the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall is undeniably one of the most impressive parks in the world.  Bordered by dozens of first-rate museums, including the Smithsonian, the National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Mall has been the site of historic speeches, presidential inaugurations, and protests. American history—both past and present—is alive in this extraordinary park.

Open all day, every day. Free.

Dumbarton Oaks

Nestled at the highest point in the historic Georgetown neighborhood, Dumbarton Oaks features 40 acres of gorgeous gardens. This exquisitely-manicured park was designed over thirty years and includes terraced gardens, grottos, and wooded pathways winding through naturalist meadows. The stately mansion at the center of the park has been converted into a museum, exhibiting specialized collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art.  A certifiable gem of Washington, D.C., Dumbarton Oaks is a must-visit for anyone who comes to the city.

Open Tuesday through Sunday from 2 PM to 6 PM. Adult $10, seniors $8, children $5.

National Arboretum

Tucked away from the bustle of D.C., the National Arboretum has a variety of parks and gardens. It’s home to the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, which features the largest bonsai collection in North America with some trees approaching their 400th year. Displayed impressively on a hilltop are the National Capitol Columns, a set of enormous Corinthian columns that were once part of the U.S. Capitol building. With 440 acres of parkland, there is plenty more to explore and enjoy.

Open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM. Free.

Rock Creek Park

If you're looking for a less manicured park with a more relaxed atmosphere, Rock Creek Park is the ticket. Its winding pathways through thick woods and over a burbling creek offer much- needed, year-round tranquility. Red foxes, southern flying squirrels, and white-tailed deer are frequently spotted in the park. Joggers and cyclists also take advantage of the trails.

Open all day, every day. Free.

Tidal Basin

Framed by the Washington Monument and the Potomac River, this man-made reservoir is known for its Cherry Blossom Festival. Every spring, hundreds of cherry trees lining the basin bloom for a few short weeks of ephemeral beauty. For the rest of the year, the basin presents sweeping views of Washington, D.C. and is the location of several impressive memorials immortalizing key figures of our nation’s history. 

Open all day, every day. Free.

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