in partnership
Yards Park (Yards Park)

Nine perfect places for a picnic in the DMV

What could be more fun when the sun is shining and the sky is blue than going on a picnic? Grab a blanket, pack your basket with goodies - crusty French bread, a bottle of wine, cheese, delicious sandwiches, and don’t forget a yummy dessert.

The DMV has so many special places to spread out and dine alfresco.

Hillwood Estate

If you’d like to picnic on the sprawling grounds of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, head to Hillwood Estate. Hard to believe, but the 25 acres of magnificent gardens and unspoiled woodlands are open to the public for picnicking. And they will even lend you a blanket plus give you a picnic map (at the visitor center). Bring your own food (or buy at the cafĂ©), but beer and wine must be purchased there. (Suggested donation: adults $18, students $10.) The donation also gets you into the mansion where Merriweather Post’s treasure are. Open Tuesdays – Sundays.

Meridian Hill Park

Located in Columbia Heights, Meridian Hill Park was built between 1912 and 1940. Done in the traditional Italian Garden style with monuments and a cascading fountain, it’s described as a garden fit for an aristocrat, open to the public. Choose between the upper level with lawn, benches, statues, and trees or if you prefer the sound of cascading water, head downstairs where benches overlook an incredible fountain and a reflecting pool. Little known facts – the cascading fountain is longest in North America and Union troops encamped on the grounds during the Civil War.

Mandarin Oriental

You don’t have to be staying at this ultra-luxurious hotel, to enjoy a gourmet picnic in their garden. Feast on: lobster bun with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado; pebble potato salad, old bay chips, spring lettuce salad with shaved vegetables and soy truffle dressing; and for dessert Mandarin-citrus mousse with yuzu marmalade). Choose from a traditional wicker basket (must be returned by 10 p.m.) or a to-go-bag. Alcohol cannot be taken off property. Take your picnic in to the garden with views of the Washington Marina and Jefferson Memorial or on the patio.

Yards Park

Think Navy Yard, think Nationals. That’s the area you’ll find Yards Park. Located along the Anacostia River waterfront, Yards Park provides lots of activity. Besides green space, it has water features, and is the perfect for recreation, special events, and festivals. Bring your food or buy it here.

Georgetown Waterfront Park

Love water views? Well, this is the place. Lay out your blanket along the Georgetown Waterfront Park overlooking the Potomac River or sit on the steps. More than grass, the park has a labyrinth, fountain and rain gardens (collects and holds rainwater and stormwater runoff). It’s great for people and boat watching. See ducks, bicyclists, joggers, kids playing in the fountain, kayakers, rowing regattas, and larger boats.

Gravelly Point Park

Don’t mind loud noises and love the thrill of planes coming in for a landing or taking off, right overhead? Gravelly Point might be your go-to picnic place. Just off the GW Parkway next to Ronald Reagan Airport picnic, play ball, bike or walk along the river.

Washington National Cathedral

For a peaceful, spiritual place to picnic, head to the Washington National Cathedral. Discover acres of grounds, native woodlands, and the walled Bishop’s Garden with herbs, roses, and perennials. Bring your blanket and food, but no alcohol.

Founders Park in Old Town, Alexandria

Founders Park along the Potomac River is steps away from vibrant Old Town Alexandria - stores, a slew of restaurants, and the Torpedo Factory. Besides beautiful vistas, play volleyball, walk your dog and, of course, picnic.

Wheaton Regional Park

Wheaton Regional Park has a lot going for it-- a miniature train, historic carousel, Brookside Gardens, hiking trails, and five-acre Pine Lake that’s an ideal area to picnic.