The Best Picnic Spots in DC
To celebrate National Picnic Day and the arrival of spring here in DC, we’re rounding up some great picnic spots in DC. Just grab your summer picnic essentials and head out for an afternoon of fun, food, and relaxation.
Gravelly Point Park
For a picnic and a show, head over to Gravelly Point Park in Arlington to watch the airplanes land at Reagan Airport. This wide open area is often dotted with recreational sports activity like kickball and frisbee, and sits along the Mount Vernon Trail, offering almost 20 miles of (sometimes waterfront) walking and biking trails, making this a great option for those who want to do more than lounge on a picnic blanket. Note: no kites allowed at this park.
This gem of an outdoor space in the desirable Capitol Riverfront neighborhood is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon by the water. In addition to being a great place to picnic, visitors also enjoy the shallow splash park and fountains (great for kids and pets), free Friday night concerts on the lawn, and the great selection of restaurants within walking distance (in case you decide to stay all afternoon through to dinner time!). While you’re here, don’t forget to check out one of DC’s most Instagram-worthy spots: the Yards Park pedestrian bridge.
Tucked away up in the Northeast corner of DC, the National Arboretum is a totally underrated destination for DC visitors and residents alike. In addition to acres upon acres of grounds to explore, attractions like the Bonsai Garden/Museum and the National Capitol Columns make for the perfect unexpected photo-op within the city. Note: Picnic at the designated National Grove of State Trees area to avoid breaking the park rules.
Meridian Hill Park
This oasis in the middle of bustling Northwest DC serves as a connecting point of sorts for the neighborhoods of Adams Morgan, U Street, and Columbia Heights. Situated on a hill, the upper portion of the park consists of a large field enclosed by trees and landscaping, perfect for picnics and recreational sports. The lower half of the park consists of an impressive fountain and stairway that lands this park on our Instagrammers Guide To DC. In between, there are a number of more secluded spaces where you can set up your picnic blanket under the welcoming shade of a tree. Head here on Sundays for some free live entertainment in the form of the long-standing Sunday drum circle!
Residents of DC don’t often think of this “tourist destination” unless they are playing tour guide for visiting family and friends, but why not take advantage of the incredible piece of history that we call home? Take your pick of picnic spots along the lawn and enjoy the backdrop of monuments and memorials that we’re lucky enough to see every day.