Washington Park. Urban Park in Denver, Colorado

Washington Park

Urban Park in Denver, Colorado

Denver - Washington Park: Mount Vernon Garden Photo © Wally Gobetz

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Washington Park

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Wash Park Grey Skies - Washington Park
Wash Park Grey Skies - Washington Park. Photo by heidi medina
Washington Park is one of the largest urban parks in Denver, Colorado. More than a century old, it covers 165 acres and is home to many historic as well as contemporary buildings, two huge lakes; two playgrounds, a bunch of soccer fields and tennis courts; a bowling green, an indoor pool; a gym and flower gardens. One of those flower gardens is a replica of the gardens George Washington used to have at Mount Vernon (Wikipedia Article). Needless to say that this is one of the most popular green spaces in the city, among tourists and locals alike. Joggers, bikers, and in-line skaters can use the designated trails and pathways, while music lovers can take in concerts in summer. Additionally, there is great shopping and dining nearby, especially on Old South Gaylord Street.

Washington Park was declared one of the “Great Public Places in America” in 2012 by the American Planning Association. It is located in south central Denver and is bordered by Downing Street, Louisiana Avenue, Franklin Street, and Virginia Avenue. The neighborhood where it is located is often referred to as ‘Wash Park’. The park is sometimes divide into two areas, because of their different histories and because they both have their own neighborhood organizations. The western part is known as ‘Washington Park West’; the eastern simply as ‘Washington Park’. As a visitor you won’t notice that it is split up, though.

	Vernon Garden - Washington Park
Mount Vernon Garden - Washington Park. Photo by Wally Gobetz


In 1886 Denver was still a very young city, yet there, the population was big enough to create the first suburb, South Denver. The suburb merged with the city of Denver in the 1890s as development raged on. The park was designed in 1899 by the German landscape architect, Reinhard Scheutze. His design was inspired and influenced by the Olmsted brothers, the city planner Kessler, and philanthropist and survivor of the Titanic disaster, Molly Brown, and is still pretty much intact to this day. The two lakes, the pond, the meadow with a grove of trees, and the park’s carriage roads were all designed and developed by Scheutze. Later on, other landscape architects contributed additional features to the park, such as a boat house, perennial gardens and an evergreen area. Most additions were made in the earliest decades of the 20th century. The majority of the brick houses in and around Washington Park date from between 1900 and 1940.

Home to many historic buildings and a huge green space and because of its central location, the Washington Park neighborhood became a popular district in the city. The park itself invites locals and tourists to stretch their legs, relax or do an activity.

Eugene	Field House -
	Washington Park
Eugene Field House - Washington Park. Photo by Wally Gobetz


Washington Park covers 165 acres and is shaped as a long rectangle. There are several (running) trails, including a 2.6-mile jogging path that follows the park’s perimeter, a large lawn bowling lane and croquet field; ten tennis courts, several soccer fields; two children’s playgrounds, a basketball court; and a roller blade court. The recreation center that is located within the park is the busiest in Denver. It has an indoor pool, free weights and plenty of additional fitness facilities. Smith Lake has a boat house that can be rented for events and celebrations. The other large lake is known as Grasmere Lake; the pond is called Lily Pond.

Besides its recreational value, the park is also a wonderful green area. Large lawns and areas with trees and shrubs are completed by a Victorian-style perennial garden that was built in 1917. It is Denver’s largest flower garden, consisting of more than 50 flowerbeds and no less than 15,000 varieties of flowers. Another number: more than 25,000 flowers are planted in the garden on an annual basis.

Additionally, Washington Park is home to many historic brick buildings and commercial areas.

Mount Vernon
	Garden - Washington Park
Mount Vernon Garden - Washington Park. Photo by Wally Gobetz

Visiting Washington Park

As one of Denver’s greatest urban parks, Washington Park is definitely worth a visit. Whether you like to go for a walk, let out your dog, go for a bike ride, want to read a book, or simply enjoy the outdoors, the park has facilities to let you do just that. Like all parks in the city, it is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and entrance is free.

Mount Vernon Garden
	- Washington Park
Mount Vernon Garden - Washington Park. Photo by Wally Gobetz

How to Get There

Washington Park is located on south central Denver and is bordered by Downing Street, which extends all the way to Downtown Denver. There is a bus stop at the corner of Downing Street and Virginia Avenue, making it very easy to get there from the city center. There are several bus stops on Louisiana Avenue, on the other side of the park, as well.

Similar and Nearby Landmarks

Other suggested open-air attractions in and around the city are Denver Zoo, the Red Rock Amphitheatre and Larimer Square.

Urban parks elsewhere in the United States that are absolutely worth visiting include Central Park, the Boston Common, and Grant Park.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Feb 19, 2015

Pictures of Washington Park

Washington Park
Washington Park. Photo by CumulusHumilis


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