When exploring the buildings and green spaces that make up the US Capitol Complex, such as the Library of Congress or the US Botanical Gardens, the Spirit of Justice Park does not come to mind. In fact, it’s not even listed on the Architect of the Capitol’s website because, in actuality, it’s the roof of a semi-underground parking garage.
Unfairly deemed “DC’s most useless park,” this area takes up two city blocks (or squares in DC parlance). The garages were built in 1968. The site slopes southwesterly so the parking garage is not completely below ground, thus elevating the park beyond normal eye level.
There are four entrances, two facing the congressional offices, one in the middle that’s closed off to traffic, and one in the southwest corner that isn’t marked. Visitors walking by will get a glimpse of the park as well as seeing walls, garage doors, and guard rail blocking the street that bisects the park.
However, once inside, the park is quite nice, child- and dog-friendly. It’s extremely quiet and peaceful, especially on the weekends or when Congress is not in session. There are lots of flowers and flowering trees. There are also two fountains, one in each section, but they are turned off on the weekends.
Know Before You Go
Head west from Capitol South Metro on D St SE, toward downtown. You can enter the park at the southeast corner or through the center at Capitol St SE (Note, this road is closed to vehicle traffic).