United States

Washington, D.C.

See also our companion guide Maryland & Virgina suburbs, plus our guides for Columbia, Annapolis, & Baltimore

Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States and a popular visitor destination. Running in Washington, D.C. is wonderful. It’s one of our favorite running cities in the United States, beautifully laid out, with wide streets and sidewalks radiating from the Capitol, miles of multi-use trails around its most visited destinations, and numerous paths waterfront & park paths. And no buildings higher than the Washington Monument in D.C.!

A run on The National Mall and the Lincoln Memorial, and then out the Tidal Basin memorials, is one of the most inspiring runs in the world. Catching the Ellipse during Cherry Blossom season the first two weeks in April should be on any runner’s bucket list. Also in that area are paths along the Potomac and out to Arlington National Cemetery. In northwest D.C., we love Embassy Row for its hills and posh neighborhood, and Rock Creek Park for some wooded running. Historic Georgetown features some great running options too. In the northeast part of the city, we love running on the newish Anacostia River Trail and the National Arboretum. For longer distances, we recommend the C&O Canal Trail and the Mount Vernon Trail, which bridges into our companion guides for Virginia & Maryland just over the D.C. border.

Good transportation infrastructure helps the running scene in the greater D.C. area, with its excellent Metro system, Capital Bike Share system, and an extensive network of paved, well-signed bike paths. Note: runners should be aware of Washington’s famously hot and humid summers. If you’d like to have an in-person guided running experience in Washington, D.C., we highly recommend our friends at Go! Running Tours.

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in Washington, D.C.

The Memorials

A truly inspiring run, incorporating scenery, history, and beauty. The core “Memorial Run” incorporates the Washington Monument,... more...

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  • Iconic Routes
  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

Georgetown: Waterfront, Wooded Trails, & ‘Runseeing Tour’!

Washington, D.C.: Central

Wonderful running options in this historic neighborhood that can be mix & matched: waterfront running on the Capital Crescent/C&O Canal Trail, or east along the Potomac to the National Mall; our Gerorgetown 'runseeing' tour; Glover Archibold Trail.

Washington is a good city for running year-round. The biggest issue is the height of summer, where temps average near 90F (32C) during the day and stay in the 70s at night. It’s humid. Running from mid-June through mid-December can be a challenge. Autumn is gorgeous and holds on well into November. Winters are cool but rarely frigid, with temps dipping below freezing at night. It snows a few times a year and the roads/pathways can get icy. Spring is known for the famous cherry blossoms, which peak in the first two weeks of April.


The map below provides a good idea of where the areas to stay are in proximity to the best running routes. Try to stay within a mile or so from some point along the National Mall, if you can. Basically the rectangle west of the Capitol/Union Station and south of K Street. If you end up a little beyond that, you can always use the Metro or do a Capitol Bike Share drop off. If you are staying in the Dupont Circle area or further north, Embassy Row and Rock Creek Park are good running bets. If in the Georgetown area, lovely sections of the C&O Trail and the Rock Creek trail are accessible. If you are staying over the border in the Alexandria, Virginia area, connect to the Mt. Vernon trail.


Running Stores

Potomac River Running Store. The best option near the Mall/Memorial area. Super helpful folks. Also numerous suburban locations

Georgetown area
Georgetown Running Company. Best independently owned running store in the Georgetown area.

Nike Georgetown. Numerous group runs, training runs.

Athleta, Nike Store, Lululemon are also all in Georgetown.

North area
Best bets in Dupont/Rock Creek/Embassy row area are:

Pacers Running Company. On 14th St. They also have locations in the Navy Yard, Arlington, and Alexandria. Numerous free group runs throughout the week and also paid coaching/training runs.

Fleet Feet DC.  In the Rock Creek/Adams Morgan area. Numerous group runs.

Road Runner Sports Iconic, family owned running store with locations in Rockville, MD, Elkridge, MD, Falls Church, VA, and Sterling, VA

Run Groups and Run Clubs

North area
Pacers Running Company has group runs throughout the week, nearly every morning and evening and on Saturday morning. Schedule

Fleet Feet has group runs in the Adams Morgan/Rock Creek park area. Sundays at 9am, and Ladies Night Wednesdays at 6pm. Schedule

Mall/Memorial area
Potomac River Running Company has “all comers” fun runs and on Wednesdays at 6:30pm and other events throughout the week from their F St. store. Schedule

Georgetown area
Nike Georgetown has numerous group runs throughout the week. Registration required. Schedule

DC Road Runners is the most important running club in the area. They require membership but anyone can try their Saturday morning long runs.

Looking for road or trail races in this area? Find them on RaceRaves, the best online race calendar and reviews community for runners!

Find races in Washington, D.C.

Marine Corps Marathon. October. The “Marathon of Monuments” is of the more famous marathons in the country. 20,000+ runners annually. Loved in part because it’s flat and takes place entirely in D.C. A 10k takes place simultaneously.

Brewery Running Series. Numerous fun run events throughout the year that all start and end at local breweries.

Navy Airforce Half Marathon and Navy 5-miler. September. Popular race along Rock Creek trail and monuments.

Rock and Roll Series. March. DC version of popular series. Marathon, Half, & 5k. Course goes up into Maryland.

Cherry Blossom Festival 10-miler. First Sunday in April. Very popular, occurs during height of Cherry Blossoms. Lottery.