The nation’s capital (pop. 632,000; metro area: 5.8 million) is better known for museums and memorials than parks. But the driven young professionals who live here have 7,617 acres of parkland at their disposal—more natural space per person than in any other city this size. Rock Creek Park, which bisects the northern end of the city, is the perfect choice for everything from running on the Western Ridge Trail to long out-and-back road rides.
And that’s just within city limits. “They’re a little farther afield, but Great Falls Park and Annapolis Rocks are also great escapes for climbing the Argonaut route, biking along the C&O Canal, and kayaking the Potomac Gorge,” says Ben Wessel, an environmental campaigner. Bonus: through the ambitious, more than $7 million Sustainable DC initiative, the city is attempting to increase renewable-energy use by 50 percent by 2032 and increase park access so that no resident is more than a ten-minute walk from green space.