Delicious food, good company, and beautiful scenery – what more could anyone ask for? Picnicking is one of our favorite outdoor activities, and no matter what time of the year it is, DC always has a perfect picnic spot for you to try. If you don’t have your go-to picnic location in DC yet, then we’ve got you covered with this list of the six best picnic spots in DC. From scenic parks with nearby takeout options, to wineries that let you bring your own food, you’re sure to find a picnic spot that fits your needs. 

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The Best Picnic Spots in DC:

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens 

Best for: Birdwatching and exploring nature

Go picnic at: 1550 Anacostia Ave. NE

Outside food allowed: yes

Kenilworth park was founded in an effort to preserve DC’s natural waterways, but eventually it evolved into a mesmerizing display of nature’s beauty, making it one of the best picnic spots in DC. If you want to eat while being treated to a (nature) show, this area is perfect for birdwatching and learning about wildlife. The best time to visit is anywhere between July and August, as lily pads and lotus flowers bloom here. We suggest planning an early lunch if you want to see the blossoms, as the flowers close up when the sunlight hits them, typically around 2 pm. 

Locals love bringing snacks from nearby takeout options like Ivy City Smokehouse (the smoked fish platters are a great choice), or chicken sandwiches from Farmbird. Once you’re done relaxing and enjoying your lunch, you can go on a two-hour ranger-led tour to explore the grounds. Or take your camera and go exploring while you snap photos of the vibrant wildlife all around. 

Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard 

Best for: Rainy days and fun activities

Go picnic at: 8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC

Outside food allowed: yes

If a rainy day is ruining your picnic plans, then head to the Robert Arlene Kogod Courtyard. The glass ceiling will protect you from the weather while you enjoy your meal at one of the cozy tables in the courtyard. We also love it here because of the fun events and activities that are always taking place. From musical performances, to art programs, to an array of children’s activities, you’ll never have a boring meal here.

Once you’re done snacking, you can take a walk through the two museums that are attached to the courtyard. Locals love learning about the impact of women in the civil war era at the National Portrait Gallery. There is also plenty of contemporary art to gape at in the American Art Museum.

Georgetown Waterfront Park 

Best for: Urban park goers

Go picnic at: 3303 Water St NW, Washington, DC

Outside food allowed: yes

For those who want to enjoy an authentic picnic experience, look no further than one of DC’s oldest neighborhoods. Georgetown Waterfront Park is one of the best picnic spots in DC, thanks to its ten acres of portside land where you can lay out a blanket and enjoy a relaxing meal. 

After you eat, you can take a splash in the popular fountain on the park’s eastern edge. There’s also an option to rent your own canoe and head out for an afternoon paddle! If you want to stay dry, take a walk through the labyrinth, or use the active pathways for cycling, dog walking, or strolling. For those planning to stay until the sun sets, locals recommend resting in the shade of the pergola and watching regattas glide past as the sun goes down.

Waredaca Brewing Company

Best for: A relaxing afternoon with a beer

Go picnic at: 4017 Damascus Rd., Laytonsville, Md

Outside food allowed: yes, on the patio and in the tasting room

The name Waredaca comes from “Washington Recreational Day Camp,” which is what this brewery used to be. Now, it’s a great place for Washingtonians to escape the rush of the city with a beer in hand. At this farm brewery, you can find unique offerings like honey wheat ales or saisons brewed with peach tea leaves. Outside food is welcome on the patio and in the tasting room, while small plates and snacks are available for purchase in the tasting room. 

Despite being a brewery, Waredaca is still a kid-friendly spot. We recommend making a two-hour reservation to explore the patio, eat at the picnic tables under umbrellas, or sit under the tall trees near the grassy fields. The brewery is only open Thursday through Sunday, so make sure to plan your picnic a little in advance. If you’re looking for a good beer to enjoy with your food, then Waredaca is one of the best picnic spots in DC. 

Big Cork Vineyards

Best for: An authentic picnic experience with flavorful wine

Go picnic at: 4236 Main St., Rohrersville, Md.

Outside food allowed: yes, everywhere except for the Tasting Room Bar

Pack a big picnic basket to take to Big Cork Vineyards, where outside food is welcomed almost anywhere on the property. The grassy space alongside the vineyard is perfect for setting up your picnic spot, whether you want to lay out a blanket or set up a makeshift table and chairs.

Their name might be ‘BIG,’ but what makes them special are their small grapes full of concentrated flavor. The result is intensely flavorful wines that you can indulge in on the premises. Locals recommend walking through the vineyard while enjoying a glass of Petit Verdot to experience the true beauty of this place. For an extra adventure, walk into their state-of-the-art Tasting Room Bar. Outside food isn’t allowed in the bar because they take you on a culinary journey that transports you into another world!

West Potomac Park

Best for: A little bit of everything!

Go picnic at: North & South of Jefferson Memorial & Tidal Basin, Washington, DC

Outside food allowed: yes

This lunch spot is perfect for picnickers who want to enjoy waterfront views, national history, and some classic Washington real estate. You can get a taste of history (and good food!) by enjoying your picnic near one of the museums by the Lincoln Memorial. The Memorial is located at the western end of the National Mall, where you’re bound to run into some kind of fun activity, whether it’s witnessing a marathon or getting swept away by a festival.

For those who enjoy picturesque views, this is one of the best picnic spots in DC during the spring.  Here, you’ll be able to sit under the blossoming cherry trees and gaze at the beautiful flowers all around you. If the leaves have already started to change, then you can bask in the sun and take in the views of America’s front yard.