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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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1. Battery Kemble Park

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Chain Bridge Road
Washington, D.C. 20016

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.

2. Dumbarton Oaks Garden

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1703 32nd St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 339-6409
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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

3. Montrose Park

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3099 R St NW
Washington, D.C.

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.

4. Theodore Roosevelt Island

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Analostan Island
Washington, D.C. 20037
(703) 289-2500
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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

5. Mitchell Park

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1801 23rd Street NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 673-6871
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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.

6. Meridian Hill Park

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2500 16th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 895-6000
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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

7. Heurich House Garden

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1307 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

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

8. Franklin Square Park

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950 13th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

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

9. Crispus Attucks Park

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2000 1st St NW
Washington, D.C. 20002

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

10. Smithsonian Butterfly Pavilion

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9th St side of Natl Museum of Natural History
Washington, D.C. 20004

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

11. Enid A. Haupt Garden

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1050 Lenfant Plz SW
Washington, D.C. 20560

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

12. Bartholdi Park

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100 1st Ave
Washington, D.C. 20319
(202) 225-8333
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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.

13. Hains Point

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Ohio Drive SW
Washington, D.C. 20024

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.

14. U.S. Botanic Garden

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100 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20024
(202) 225-8333
Visit Website

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

15. The Yards Park

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10 Water St SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

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

16. Langdon Park

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2901 20th St NE
Washington, D.C. 20018

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.

17. National Arboretum

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United States National Arboretum
Washington, D.C.

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

18. Anacostia Park

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Anacostia Dr SE
Washington, D.C. 20020
(202) 889-4283
Visit Website

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.

19. 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.

20. Fort DuPont Park

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Fort Dupont Drive SE
Washington, D.C. 20019

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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1. Battery Kemble Park

Chain Bridge Road, Washington, D.C. 20016

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.

Chain Bridge Road
Washington, D.C. 20016

2. Dumbarton Oaks Garden

1703 32nd St NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
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.

1703 32nd St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

3. Montrose Park

3099 R St NW, Washington, D.C.

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.

3099 R St NW
Washington, D.C.

4. Theodore Roosevelt Island

Analostan Island, Washington, D.C. 20037
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.

Analostan Island
Washington, D.C. 20037

5. Mitchell Park

1801 23rd Street NW, Washington, D.C.

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

1801 23rd Street NW
Washington, D.C.

6. Meridian Hill Park

2500 16th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
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.

2500 16th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

7. Heurich House Garden

1307 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
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.

1307 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

8. Franklin Square Park

950 13th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
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.

950 13th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

9. Crispus Attucks Park

2000 1st St NW, Washington, D.C. 20002
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.

2000 1st St NW
Washington, D.C. 20002

10. Smithsonian Butterfly Pavilion

9th St side of Natl Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. 20004
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.

9th St side of Natl Museum of Natural History
Washington, D.C. 20004

11. Enid A. Haupt Garden

1050 Lenfant Plz SW, Washington, D.C. 20560
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.

1050 Lenfant Plz SW
Washington, D.C. 20560

12. Bartholdi Park

100 1st Ave, Washington, D.C. 20319
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.

100 1st Ave
Washington, D.C. 20319

13. Hains Point

Ohio Drive SW, Washington, D.C. 20024

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.

Ohio Drive SW
Washington, D.C. 20024

14. U.S. Botanic Garden

100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20024
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.

100 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20024

15. The Yards Park

10 Water St SE, Washington, D.C. 20003

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

10 Water St SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

16. Langdon Park

2901 20th St NE, Washington, D.C. 20018

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.

2901 20th St NE
Washington, D.C. 20018

17. National Arboretum

United States National Arboretum, Washington, D.C.
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.

United States National Arboretum
Washington, D.C.

18. Anacostia Park

Anacostia Dr SE, Washington, D.C. 20020

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.

Anacostia Dr SE
Washington, D.C. 20020

19. Marvin Gaye Park

Washington, D.C.

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

20. Fort DuPont Park

Fort Dupont Drive SE, Washington, D.C. 20019

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.

Fort Dupont Drive SE
Washington, D.C. 20019