Best New Public Space

Yards Park
There’s never been much reason to visit the so-called “Capitol Riverfront.” It’s got Nats Stadium, empty lots, glassy monoliths, and a Starbucks that closes at 3 p.m. on the weekends. Now, things have changed. Yards Park, which opened to great fanfare in September, is a destination in itself. The elegant landscape of spacious lawns, terraced slopes, a broad wharf-like deck, an almost sculptural waterfall, and a functionless—but visually stunning—footbridge create a multipurpose playground that’s as fun to look at as it is to spend time in. It’s also a smart move for developer Forest City, which desperately needed to create some buzz for the area before finishing the big condominiums all around it and renovating adjacent warehouses for retail. Yards Park, now the best piece of public waterfront D.C.’s got, is a hell of a selling point.
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