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Trees, a bench, and a black cat in Crispus Attucks Park, in Bloomingdale. The Washington Post/Getty Images

20 secret gardens and green spaces in Washington, D.C.

The District is full of open-air gems

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Itching for an outdoor break from your office or home? Enjoy the fresh air at these 20 secret gardens, parks, and green spaces in the nation’s capital.

OK, these places aren't really “secrets.” But many are lesser-known or widely underrated. From the National Arboretum to Marvin Gaye Park, you can expect peace, tranquility, and natural beauty at these special locations.

Which sites are your favorites? Feel free to leave a comment.

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Battery Kemble Park

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Tucked between Palisades and Woodley Park, you can find Battery Kemble Park. It was formerly the site of a Civil War-era encampment where Union soldiers staked out to defend the city from Confederate raids. Now, it's a peaceful plot of land, great for relaxing and dog-walking.

Dumbarton Oaks Garden

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The more than 100-year-old Dumbarton Oaks estate in Georgetown offers a blissful garden designed by Beatrix Farrand, who also helped design the White House's East Colonial Garden and West Garden. New greenhouses are planned for the estate.

A statue urn in the middle of a garden, with bricks and trees in the background. Getty Images

Montrose Park

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Montrose Park, also located in Georgetown, was once home to rope-making tycoon Richard Parrott, who would allow others to picnic on the grounds. The federal government bought the property in 1911 to turn it into a park.

Theodore Roosevelt Island

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Theodore Roosevelt Island is located on the Potomac River between Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Accessible by a footbridge, the island features a statue of the former American president as well as various hiking trails. Sorry, cyclists, but bikes are not allowed.

A footbridge leading to Theodore Roosevelt Island on the Potomac River. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Mitchell Park

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In Kalorama, you can find this park and longtime neighborhood amenity outfitted with a fountain, a fenced-in garden, and an area for dogs.

Meridian Hill Park

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Just off 16th Street NW in Columbia Heights, Meridian Hill Park provides a serene escape from the bustle of the city. It features a central water cascade, lots of trees and benches, and impressive statues of Joan of Arc, Dante, and President James Buchanan.

A bench and trees along a path at Meridian Hill Park. Shutterstock

Heurich House Garden

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You can find the Brewmaster's Castle, otherwise known as the Heurich House, right in Dupont Circle. This underrated museum hosts beer-focused events, often in its a grassy rear courtyard.

A group of people enjoy lunch in the back garden of the Heurich House in Dupont Circle. The Washington Post/Getty Images

Franklin Square Park

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Franklin Square is the largest urban park in downtown D.C. and serves as a convenient spot for having lunch, not least because food trucks regularly line its perimeter. The park is due to undergo a series of improvements thanks to a public-private partnership.

Franklin Square Park, a city square in downtown D.C., with people laying in the grass. The Washington Post/Getty Images

Crispus Attucks Park

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This serene park is located in the middle of alleys and rowhouses in Bloomingdale. It was named after a black man who was killed during the Boston Massacre in 1770 and is said to be the first casualty of the American Revolution.

Crispus Attucks Park, amid rowhouses and alleys in Bloomingdale. The Washington Post/Getty Images

Smithsonian Butterfly Pavilion

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At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History along the National Mall, this butterfly garden houses roughly 300 butterflies in a climate-controlled environment. The butterflies represent species from around the world.

A yellow butterfly lands on a red flower at the Smithsonian’s Butterly Pavilion. Shutterstock

Enid A. Haupt Garden

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After peeking at the Smithsonian Castle, head over to the adjacent Enid A. Haupt Garden. This 4.2-acre space was designed to be a modern representation of American Victorian gardens and opened in 1987.

The Enid A. Haupt Garden viewed from above. It has landscaped hedges. The Washington Post/Getty Images

Bartholdi Park

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Located along the National Mall, Bartholdi Park boasts a 15-ton, 30-foot-tall cast-iron fountain designed by the same French sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty. The fountain is lit up at night.

A fountain with an iron sculpture in the middle. The fountain is surrounded by landscaping.

Hains Point

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Enjoy waterside views and the sight of planes taking off from Reagan National Airport at Hains Point, situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. Biking, running, and picnicking are common activities here.

U.S. Botanic Garden

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This site is a must-see for horticulture lovers. Tour the 1933 greenhouse, with its roughly 29,000 square feet of growing space.

Plants grow at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Shutterstock

The Yards Park

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In Navy Yard, The Yards Park offers a water feature, a bridge, and green space. It often hosts outdoor events like yoga and concerts.

Langdon Park

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You can find a public swimming pool and a wide expanse of green space in Northeast’s Langdon neighborhood. A chunk of this park is dedicated to the late, great Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown.

National Arboretum

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The National Arboretum gives visitors a chance to see some D.C.' history: the original columns from the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol. This sprawling green space also hosts a bonsai garden and a wide variety of other fauna.

The old U.S. Capitol columns at the National Arboretum, seen from the grass. Shutterstock

Anacostia Park

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One of the best bird-watching locations in Washington, D.C., is located in Anacostia Park. This 1,200-acre green space features spaces for picnicking, basketball, and tennis. There is also a pavilion where you can roller-skate.

Marvin Gaye Park

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Located in Northeast, Marvin Gaye Park stretches 1.6 miles. It commemorates the Motown hero and D.C. native with a mosaic.

Fort DuPont Park

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This is one of the District’s largest parks and most popular locations for picnics, biking, and walking. The park also hosts concerts and park ranger-led Civil War programs.

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Battery Kemble Park

Tucked between Palisades and Woodley Park, you can find Battery Kemble Park. It was formerly the site of a Civil War-era encampment where Union soldiers staked out to defend the city from Confederate raids. Now, it's a peaceful plot of land, great for relaxing and dog-walking.

Dumbarton Oaks Garden

A statue urn in the middle of a garden, with bricks and trees in the background. Getty Images

The more than 100-year-old Dumbarton Oaks estate in Georgetown offers a blissful garden designed by Beatrix Farrand, who also helped design the White House's East Colonial Garden and West Garden. New greenhouses are planned for the estate.

A statue urn in the middle of a garden, with bricks and trees in the background. Getty Images

Montrose Park

Montrose Park, also located in Georgetown, was once home to rope-making tycoon Richard Parrott, who would allow others to picnic on the grounds. The federal government bought the property in 1911 to turn it into a park.

Theodore Roosevelt Island

A footbridge leading to Theodore Roosevelt Island on the Potomac River. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Theodore Roosevelt Island is located on the Potomac River between Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Accessible by a footbridge, the island features a statue of the former American president as well as various hiking trails. Sorry, cyclists, but bikes are not allowed.

A footbridge leading to Theodore Roosevelt Island on the Potomac River. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Mitchell Park

In Kalorama, you can find this park and longtime neighborhood amenity outfitted with a fountain, a fenced-in garden, and an area for dogs.

Meridian Hill Park

A bench and trees along a path at Meridian Hill Park. Shutterstock

Just off 16th Street NW in Columbia Heights, Meridian Hill Park provides a serene escape from the bustle of the city. It features a central water cascade, lots of trees and benches, and impressive statues of Joan of Arc, Dante, and President James Buchanan.

A bench and trees along a path at Meridian Hill Park. Shutterstock

Heurich House Garden

A group of people enjoy lunch in the back garden of the Heurich House in Dupont Circle. The Washington Post/Getty Images

You can find the Brewmaster's Castle, otherwise known as the Heurich House, right in Dupont Circle. This underrated museum hosts beer-focused events, often in its a grassy rear courtyard.

A group of people enjoy lunch in the back garden of the Heurich House in Dupont Circle. The Washington Post/Getty Images

Franklin Square Park

Franklin Square Park, a city square in downtown D.C., with people laying in the grass. The Washington Post/Getty Images

Franklin Square is the largest urban park in downtown D.C. and serves as a convenient spot for having lunch, not least because food trucks regularly line its perimeter. The park is due to undergo a series of improvements thanks to a public-private partnership.

Franklin Square Park, a city square in downtown D.C., with people laying in the grass. The Washington Post/Getty Images

Crispus Attucks Park

Crispus Attucks Park, amid rowhouses and alleys in Bloomingdale. The Washington Post/Getty Images

This serene park is located in the middle of alleys and rowhouses in Bloomingdale. It was named after a black man who was killed during the Boston Massacre in 1770 and is said to be the first casualty of the American Revolution.

Crispus Attucks Park, amid rowhouses and alleys in Bloomingdale. The Washington Post/Getty Images

Smithsonian Butterfly Pavilion

A yellow butterfly lands on a red flower at the Smithsonian’s Butterly Pavilion. Shutterstock

At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History along the National Mall, this butterfly garden houses roughly 300 butterflies in a climate-controlled environment. The butterflies represent species from around the world.

A yellow butterfly lands on a red flower at the Smithsonian’s Butterly Pavilion. Shutterstock

Enid A. Haupt Garden

The Enid A. Haupt Garden viewed from above. It has landscaped hedges. The Washington Post/Getty Images

After peeking at the Smithsonian Castle, head over to the adjacent Enid A. Haupt Garden. This 4.2-acre space was designed to be a modern representation of American Victorian gardens and opened in 1987.

The Enid A. Haupt Garden viewed from above. It has landscaped hedges. The Washington Post/Getty Images

Bartholdi Park

A fountain with an iron sculpture in the middle. The fountain is surrounded by landscaping.

Located along the National Mall, Bartholdi Park boasts a 15-ton, 30-foot-tall cast-iron fountain designed by the same French sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty. The fountain is lit up at night.

A fountain with an iron sculpture in the middle. The fountain is surrounded by landscaping.

Hains Point

Enjoy waterside views and the sight of planes taking off from Reagan National Airport at Hains Point, situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. Biking, running, and picnicking are common activities here.

U.S. Botanic Garden

Plants grow at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Shutterstock

This site is a must-see for horticulture lovers. Tour the 1933 greenhouse, with its roughly 29,000 square feet of growing space.

Plants grow at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Shutterstock

The Yards Park

In Navy Yard, The Yards Park offers a water feature, a bridge, and green space. It often hosts outdoor events like yoga and concerts.

Langdon Park

You can find a public swimming pool and a wide expanse of green space in Northeast’s Langdon neighborhood. A chunk of this park is dedicated to the late, great Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown.

National Arboretum

The old U.S. Capitol columns at the National Arboretum, seen from the grass. Shutterstock

The National Arboretum gives visitors a chance to see some D.C.' history: the original columns from the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol. This sprawling green space also hosts a bonsai garden and a wide variety of other fauna.

The old U.S. Capitol columns at the National Arboretum, seen from the grass. Shutterstock

Anacostia Park

One of the best bird-watching locations in Washington, D.C., is located in Anacostia Park. This 1,200-acre green space features spaces for picnicking, basketball, and tennis. There is also a pavilion where you can roller-skate.

Marvin Gaye Park

Located in Northeast, Marvin Gaye Park stretches 1.6 miles. It commemorates the Motown hero and D.C. native with a mosaic.

Fort DuPont Park

This is one of the District’s largest parks and most popular locations for picnics, biking, and walking. The park also hosts concerts and park ranger-led Civil War programs.