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DC Sites to Enjoy While Social Distancing
August 28, 2020

DC Sites to Enjoy While Social Distancing

by Korrea Johnston

For several months, restrictions have been in place to reduce the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community. The District government understands that it’s important for businesses and individuals to responsibly resume normal activity. The Mayor’s reopening plan allows that, phase by phase.

As more people are getting out, it’s important to remember to still recreate responsibly. This means you need to wear a face covering or mask whenever you leave home and maintain six feet of distance from others to keep everyone safe.

Many gems in DC, such as national parks and memorials, allow you to remain socially distant. Go for a solo bike ride or take a walk with family or your furry friend(s) to sightsee in DC. This is the perfect time to rediscover all the city has to offer and use the amazing network of transportation options to get you there.

Find out the best way to visit some of DC’s landmarks using active transportation modes like biking, walking, and public transit. Information listed below is subject to change.

Anacostia Park

Address: 1900 Anacostia Drive SE, Washington, DC, 20020

Open from sunrise to sunset, Anacostia Park is a neighborhood national park in the heart of Washington, DC. This urban oasis borders the Anacostia River and provides a space for exercise, recreation, and relaxation from the bustling city. The park even has a swimming pool, fitness station, playgrounds, and an outdoor skating pavilion with FREE skate rentals through Labor Day.

How to get there:

  • Biking
    • Take a short ride along the paved Anacostia Riverwalk Trail that continues across the bridges into downtown DC.
  • Capital Bikeshare (nearest docking stations)
    • Anacostia Park
  • Metrorail (face coverings or masks are required)
    • Blue/Orange/Silver Line – Get off at Potomac Avenue station and walk or bike about 2 miles to the park.
    • Green Line – Get off at Anacostia Station.
  •  Walking
    • Take a stroll along the 3.5-mile Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and stop at the park along the way.

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (C & O Canal)

Address: 29th Street NW (south of M Street, Georgetown DC), Washington, DC, 20007

With nearly 185 miles of canal to explore, it’s no wonder that over five million people visit this park every year. The 100-year old historic C & O Canal serves as a pathway for discovering stories of America’s westward expansion, transportation, engineering, the Civil War, immigration, industry, and commerce all while walking, running, or biking. The DC portion of the canal starts in Georgetown and extends to the Palisades.

How to get there:

  • Capital Bikeshare (nearest docking stations)
    • C & O Canal and Wisconsin Avenue NW
    • 34th and Water Street NW
    • 48th Place and MacArthur Blvd NW
  • DC Circulator
    • Georgetown – Union Station route
    • Rosslyn – Dupont route
  •  Metrobus (face coverings or masks are required)
    • 30N/30S/31/33/38B – Get off at M Street NW.

Fort Dupont Park

Address: 3600 F and Minnesota Street SE, Washington, DC, 20019

At 400 acres, Fort Dupont Park is one of the District’s largest parks, boasting lush forestry and plant life as well as a community garden. It’s also an important sub-watershed of the Anacostia River. Popular activities include picnics, nature walks, hiking, biking, gardening, environmental education, music, and ranger-led programs. Fort Dupont Park is just one of the many historic Civil War Defenses located in Washington, DC.

How to get there:

  • Capital Bikeshare (nearest docking stations)
    • Randle Circle and Minnesota Avenue SE
    • 37th and Ely Place SE
    • Ridge Road Community Center
  •  Metrobus (face coverings or masks are required)
    • V4 – Get off at one of the Minnesota Avenue SE stops between Randle Circle and Ely Place SE.
    • U5/U6 – Get off at Ridge Road and Ely Place SE.
  •  Metrorail (face coverings or masks are required)
    • Blue/Silver Line – Get off at Benning Road station and walk 1.5 miles along Texas Avenue SE.
    • Blue/Orange/Silver Line – Get off at Potomac Ave station and walk or bike about 3 miles along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
    • Orange Line – Get off at Minnesota Avenue station and walk or bike about three miles south toward the park.

Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens

Address: 1550 Anacostia Ave NE, Washington, DC 20020

From 8am to 4pm daily, you can get a wetlands experience right here in Washington, DC. Discover lotus and lily flowers, wildlife, and more at the oasis that is Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens. The park also contains the Kenilworth Marsh — the only remaining tidal marsh in the District, along with an adjacent recreational area.

When planning your visit, please note:

  • All buildings (including the restrooms) are closed to the public; only porta potties are available.
  • No vending services are available.
  • On busy days, the park may temporarily close its gates to limit the number of visitors.
  • Pedestrians will follow a different signed path to enter and exit the park.
  • New pedestrian patterns are in place in the garden to maximize social distancing; please observe all posted signs.
  • Some areas are closed because they do not allow space for safe social distancing (e.g., boardwalk).

How to get there:

  • Capital Bikeshare (nearest docking stations)
    • Kenilworth Terrace and Hayes Street NE
  • Metrorail (face coverings or masks are required)
    • Orange Line – Get off at Deanwood station and take the lower Polk Street Exit.
  • Walking
    • Make a stop along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.

National Arboretum

Address: 3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC, 20002

On average, over 600,000 people visit the National Arboretum every year, and now you can, too. The facility opens its gates Monday through Friday from 1pm to 5pm and Saturday to Sunday from 8am to 5pm. Visitors must follow posted guidelines to maximize the safety and health of all visitors and employees. This includes social distancing rules, entering the grounds via dedicated access points, and acknowledging that there will be limited services and amenities during this time.

When planning your visit, please note:

  • The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum and Administration Building/Visitor Center are currently closed.
  • Fern Valley and the Washington Youth Garden are currently closed.
  • The R Street Gate entrance is open to cars and pedestrians from 1pm to 2pm on weekdays and 8am to 5pm on weekends. From 2pm to 5pm on weekdays, the R Street Gate is pedestrian only.
  • Restroom facilities are available in the Friendship Garden’s Arbor House, the Asian Collection, and in Lot B.
  • There is limited access to water for bottle refills only; no food vending is available at this time.
  • Trash collection is limited.

How to get there:

  • Capital Bikeshare (nearest docking stations)
    • 24th and R Street NE/National Arboretum
  • Metrorail/Metrobus (face coverings or masks are required)
    • Blue/Orange/Silver Line – Get off at Stadium-Armory station. Transfer to ride the B2 bus and get off on Bladensburg Road NE.

Theodore Roosevelt Island

Address: George Washington Memorial Parkway (between Roosevelt Bridge and Key Bridge), Arlington, VA 22209

Built as a memorial to America’s 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt Island boasts miles of woodland trails to honor the legacy of a great outdoorsman and conservationist. While the only way to reach the island by land is from the Virginia side of the Potomac River, the island is actually part of Washington, DC!

How to get there:

  • Biking
    • Ride on Mount Vernon Trail toward the northern terminus at Theodore Roosevelt Island. Bicycles are not allowed on the island, so be sure to lock your bike at the racks located near the footbridge.
  • Capital Bikeshare (nearest docking stations)
    • Roosevelt Island
  • Metrorail (face coverings or masks are required)
    • Blue/Orange/Silver Line – Get off at Rosslyn station and walk about 10-15 minutes to the island toward the Key Bridge and follow a short connecting trail.
  • Walking
    • You can travel by foot on the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and take in all the history and nature as you pass by the island.

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