Best relaxing nature spot: Meridian Hill Park

Media Credit: Donna Armstrong | Hatchet Photographer

Skaters use the dry fountain basin at Meridian Hill Park to practice in the winter. The fountains are generally refilled in late spring.

Location: 16th and W streets NW
Readers’ pick: Theodore Roosevelt Island

In a city ridden with business casual attire, stop-and-go traffic and relentless political banter, Meridian Hill Park is a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the workweek.

Settled between Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights, the 12-acre park is the perfect springtime spot to take a breath of fresh air, appreciate nature and put your responsibilities on pause. A few blocks up from the U Street Metro stop on the green and yellow lines, the small residential space has two rows of steps parallel to a fountain that extends up the park’s incline.

The park is reminiscent of a European aristocratic garden, with columns of towering trees, carpets of silky grass and a cascading fountain that ushers crystalline water in a cascade down its 13 tiers in the warmer months of the year.

The top of the hill presents a view of the city and the National Mall below. As you venture down, you’ll encounter grand stone archways that lead into little enclaves of stillness and silence, insulated by branches and leaves. At the south end of the park, you can chill by the reflecting pool at the end of the fountain steps, or enjoy the company of Joan d’Arc and Dante in statue-form.

The true draw of Meridian Hill is the hip culture and community that it attracts. You can regularly find people practicing yoga, creating art and even flailing around on tightropes on a sunny afternoon. The main event occurs every Sunday at around 3 p.m. when musicians and music-lovers from all corners of D.C. gather in a drum circle to dance and sing.

Meridian Hill Park is considered a National Historical Landmark and a favorite oasis for locals. So the next time you feel like having a picnic or jamming out to local musicians, trek up the hill and be prepared to lounge outside.

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