Whether it’s a staycation, a day trip, or a week long vacation, my book The Unofficial Guide to Washington DC can help you plan your visit to the most beautiful neighborhood gardens and blossoming trees. I hope this excerpt from the book will inspire you to explore the Nation’s Capital this spring. For more ideas, visit The Unofficial Guides blog.
The DC Wharf
The Wharf is a modern neighborhood that straddles the banks of Washington Channel in Southwest Washington. Shops, offices, apartments and restaurants border it’s mile long boardwalk, with stunning Arena Stage on one end, and the Historic Municipal Fish Market on the other. The concrete pier provides access to water taxis and sightseeing boats that cruise the Potomac River – you can also rent paddle boards and kayaks here. The Wharf is located across a narrow peninsula from East Potomac Park. There you’ll find the National Park Service-operated hiking and biking trails, golf course, tennis courts, and a 4.4-mile paved loop trail with panoramic views of the Potomac River and Northern Virginia. As you walk through East Potomac Park, you are surrounded by beautiful, mature cherry trees, which burst with color during cherry blossom season, their tiny petals blowing in the wind.
Where to Stay: Intercontinental Hotel Washington D.C. Wharf
Rock Creek Park
The great swath of Rock Creek Park – more than twice as large as New York’s Central Park – is one of the most notable recreational assets of the area. Founded 125 years ago, the National Park Service maintains this wild and untamed forest, and it serves as an oasis in the heart of the urban landscape. There are several attractions within the park including The Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens located off Beach Drive close to the Van Ness/UDC Metro Station. Also within its borders are Carter Baron Amphitheatre, National Zoo, Rock Creek Tennis Center, a planetarium, Nature Center, an equestrian center, a golf course, and numerous playgrounds. Some walking trails are paved and others are natural surface. During the springtime, Rock Creek Park’s hardwood trees begin to bud, with the tulip trees and redbud trees adding to the colorful mélange.
Where to stay: Omni Shoreham Washington DC Hotel
Georgetown is a historic neighborhood of restored 18th and 19th century Federal-style townhomes and elegant mansions that are so lovely, walking through the streets is a treat. The modern Washington Harbour complex, with its dockside restaurants and sightseeing boats, sits beside Georgetown Waterfront Park, a 10-acre green space with walking trails and picnic spots. The best place to see the trees and flowers in bloom are Georgetown’s world renowned gardens – Dumbarton Oaks Park and Tudor Place Historic House and Garden. There is a fee to enter these gardens, so check the websites for information on admission.
Where to stay: Ritz Carlton Georgetown
If you want a guidebook with a local writer’s perspective, order The Unofficial Guide to Washington D.C. It’s great for travelers and people who live in the region.
Freelance writer and photographer specializing in vivid, deeply reported stories about food, travel and family.