Friday, October 21, 2011

Where to Run in the District

I must preface this post by saying that my recommendations pretty much stick to Northwest D.C. Why? Because that is where I live. What I hope is that others will weigh in with comments on other cool places to run in and around the DMV.

The National Mall
Distance: approximately 3 miles

Every single time I run on the National Mall I feel lucky. Lucky to live in this city. Lucky to be surrounded by beautiful monuments that commemorate and honor our founding fathers, our democratic system, and our military. Man, I sound sentimental right now. But, seriously, go for a run on the mall and you will, too.

I like to start off on 3rd Street, right near the Capitol, and then run up the mall, around the Washington Monument, down to the World War Two Memorial, and back. The loop is about three miles. In addition to the monuments, there is always a lot to take in-- people watching, beautiful architecture, Members of Congress huffing and puffing, kick ball and softball games...cute men.

The run itself is mostly flat and all of you DC runners know that this can be hard to come by in our hilly city. My favorite time of day? Either early morning or right before dusk. There are less tourist during these times and on sunny days the monuments just seem to shine all around you. It is lovely :)

Not a runner? The mall is also a great place to go walking with a friend after a long day at work. And walking dates have far less calories than happy hour drink specials...just sayin.

Embassy Row, upper Massachusetts Avenue
Distance: approximately 4 miles

As the nation's capital, D.C. is home to over sixty foreign embassies. Most are clustered together, and located on Massachusetts Avenue between Dupont Circle and Wisconsin Avenue. This is one of my favorite run routes for two reasons.

First, the architecture on this route is gorgeous. It feels very European and it's fun to glance at the different flags and plaques that indicate different embassies. Second, if you start from Dupont Circle and run up Mass Ave, it is a challenging run because it is up hill pretty much the entire way. For about two miles. But all the hard work pays off when you get to turn around and run back down the hill.
Pretty decent view, huh?

Jefferson Memorial/ Tidal Basin 
Distance: 1.8 miles

Looking for a short, quiet run? If yes, this is the place to do it. The Jefferson Memorial has a small path that runs around the perimeter of the tidal basin. It is a peaceful and and wonderful little two mile run. The Jefferson Memorial is my favorite monument because I love going inside and reading the inscriptions on the wall. I often times will do this after I finish up the run. Note: do not attempt this run during cherry blossom season. The path gets completely packed with tourists.

Potomac River/ Memorial Bridge
Distance: approximately 4.5 miles

This run starts at the Georgetown Waterfront and follows the Potomac River past the Kennedy Center, and then across the Memorial Bridge to the gates of Arlington National Cemetery. Why do I love this run? Oh, so many reasons.

First, it is another *mostly* flat run. Second, it is cool to stop mid-way over the Memorial Bridge and take in our gorgeous city. Third, there are always, and I mean, always, hot men running without shirts on along the Potomac. I don't know why this is where they all run, but they do. And you won't hear this girl complaining about that. At all.

The final reason I love this run is bragging rights. Once you finish the run you can tell all your friends that your run spanned multiple states. Or at least that is what I do every time I run this route. 

So, there you go- my top places to run in the District! Do you have a favorite route to run? If yes, please share it below!

1 comment:

  1. I think the male component to the Potomac running is due to its proximity to the Pentagon and other DoD-centric places (Crystal City and Rossyln).

    I generally run on the Mt. Vernon Trail (the VA side of the Potomac) since my office is literally across the street from it. I usually cross over the 14th st. Bridge, go up on the DC side then cross back on the Memorial Bridge. The trail is pretty flat and has great views, but I hear it is packed with people on the weekends, especially when the weather is nice.

    Embassy Row is a good idea, I should do that sometime.