Best Big Park: Druid Hill Park

Best Big Park: Druid Hill Park (Jefferson Jackson Steele / September 19, 2012)

2600 Madison Ave., (410) 396-6106

Aka the ideal place to go through those uncomfortable, red-faced, wheezing stages of getting back into shape. Home to the Maryland Zoo, the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens, an 18-hole disc golf course, basketball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds, a city pool, and a gently paved 1.5-mile track around the reservoir, Druid Hill offers a wide assortment of winding, tree-lined, hilly roads to cover by bike or foot, refreshingly low-trafficked by fast-moving cars. And after you spend those uncomfortable weeks-OK, OK, months-getting your legs back, the park is easily connected to enough surrounding neighborhoods to direct you toward more varied, longer rides and jogs. Or just bring the family or friends and grab a table to enjoy an afternoon taking in one of the best places to escape the city's sometimes suffocating hustle.