Meridian Hill Park, isolated from the hustle and bustle of 16th St NW, is a gem waiting behind the concrete walls along the Street. Read about the park here. The upper portion is a French garden.
Yes, that’s Joan of Arc, surmounting the dramatic overlook out over the city.
The park was one of the first places in the world to use decorative, aggregate concrete. It took years to complete, but turned out amazingly.
The lower part then moves into an Italian style garden, with dramatic cascades and stepped fountains, which is inspired by the Villa d’Este in Tivoli.
See it from the air here. The name comes from a senator’s wife’s efforts to rename 16th Street the Avenue of the Presidents (which is was for one, unpopular year) and have the Prime Meridian moved from Greenwich, England to 16th Street in Washington, DC. That failed too. The park is built just outside the original plan L’Enfant envisioned for the city, and takes advantage of the steep terrain that rises up north of Florida Avenue NW.