You don’t have to search long and hard to find good picnic points in Islamabad. Known as the ‘Green City’ of Pakistan, the meticulously planned federal capital is home to some of the most beautiful natural attractions in the country. Be it the lush green hiking trails on Margalla Hills or the well-maintained parks in Islamabad, the residents of the city have access to some of the best recreational spots one can ask for.
Islamabad Capital Territory, which is divided into eight zones, has specified a portion of land as Green Area. In fact, parks in Islamabad cover an area of approximately 85 square miles, which is almost just as big as the urban area at present. The Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation and Capital Development Authority are responsible for their planning and maintenance.
Here are some of the most popular parks in Islamabad that are perfect if you want to spend some quality time with your family and kids.
Let’s take a further look at the location, timings, nearby restaurants and main attractions inside these parks, which you must add to your list of fun things to do in Islamabad.
The stunning Fatima Jinnah Park in Islamabad is easily one of the most visited places in the city. Named after the younger sister of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, it is also known as F-9 Park and considered one of the largest recreational places in the country.
Although trees and shrubbery cover most of the park’s area, there are quite a few man-made structures scattered around the place – including a white marble monument at the entrance. Fatimah Jinnah Park was designed by Michael Japero and inaugurated in 1992. Most parts of the park, particularly the ones closest to the residential areas, have a well-laid network of walkways and jogging tracks with benches and trimmed grass. There’s also a children’s play area towards the northern part of the park, drawing a large number of people every day. However, other parts of the park, especially the ones less frequented by visitors, serve as a wildlife sanctuary.
So, if you’re looking for a place to relax while enjoying the serene view of the beautiful Margalla Hills, this park is certainly one of the best places to visit in Islamabad.
Furthermore, a steel fence surrounds the entirety of this park with several entrance doors allowing easy access to the residents. Fatima Jinnah Park in Islamabad is also a popular place to hold sports competitions, exhibitions and music festivals among other events. In addition to that, given its location near Air University Islamabad, you are also bound to see a lot of students here.
Some of the nearby restaurants include McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Subway, Naan Stop and Italian Pizza.
Hours: 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Closes on Mondays)
Location: Jinnah Avenue, Sector F-9, Islamabad.
Constructed right next to the beautiful Rawal Lake, Lake View Park has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in Islamabad ever since its inauguration.
Some of the main features of this park include lush green camping grounds, play areas for children, boating facilities, horse riding facilities, paintball battlefield, picnic areas, sitting areas, food kiosks, rock climbing area, festival arena and much more. The picnic area has several grills for barbecue, but you can also take your home-cooked food with you and eat it there.
This park in Islamabad is also home to one of the biggest bird aviaries in twin cities, housing a large number of multi-colour birds. Given the size of the park, the Capital Development Authority has also provided the visitors with an option to ride passenger train or golf cart to reach the lake from the entrance for nominal charges.
The park also holds music festivals and other events throughout the year.
There is also a popular amusement park right opposite the Lake View Park, boasting an ATV track, 4D cinema and several other rides. You can also find small refreshment stalls and eateries within the park.
To put it simply, Lake View Park is one of the must-visit places in Islamabad for an outing. So, even if you are visiting the city for a few days, make sure to spend a few hours at this picnic place.
Hours: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Location: Murree Road, Islamabad.
Being one of the oldest tourist attractions in Islamabad, Shakarparian Hills has always been a popular picnic spot in the federal capital. Located near Zero Point interchange, this park is home to the famous Star and Crescent Monument. The stunning Pakistan Monument and its adjoining museum are also situated in the premises of the park along with the Lok Virsa Heritage Museum. These are also some of the most famous places in Islamabad.
Filled with beautiful trees and flowers, this terraced garden was built at an altitude of 609 meters and offers magnificent views of the city, especially at night. In fact, when it comes to popular places to visit in Islamabad at night, Pakistan Monument on Shakarparian Hills tops the list.
There are also a few cafes and restaurants within the park, which means you don’t have to go anywhere else for refreshment. The popular Yogi Haus restaurant and 1969 Café are also located in the vicinity. Shakarparian Park also has well-maintained jogging tracks and walkways that are usually filled with tourists – both domestic and foreign.
A small section of this park in Islamabad is reserved for foreign dignitaries who plant a tree here during their visit Pakistan as a sign of goodwill. There is also a parade area inside the park.
Hours: 24 hours
Location: Near Zero Point, Islamabad.
Situated next to Islamabad Zoo, Japanese Park in Islamabad is considered a token of friendship between Japan and Pakistan.
Nestled in the foothills of Margalla, this park boasts one of the best play areas for children in the city. It has a number of swing sets, monkey bars, tree houses, slides, horse riding facilities and other attractions meant solely for kids. The vast green gardens at this popular picnic spot have a number of colourful trees like the ones found in Japan. The walkways and tracks in the park are ideal for an evening walk while the vast playgrounds are perfect for kids to run around and have a good time. You can even play cricket or football inside the park or take your bicycle along.
Japanese Children’s Park in Islamabad also has a small refreshment area that provides snacks and drinks to visitors. However, if you’re looking for more fun things to do in Islamabad, you can check out Islamabad Zoo, which is situated right next to it. Moreover, the historic Saidpur Model Village is located at a short drive from this serene park.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Location: Khayaban-e-Iqbal, Saidpur, Islamabad.
Who doesn’t love flowers?
The captivating Rose and Jasmine Garden is among the top places in Islamabad for an outing. As is evident by its name, this park is famous for its captivating displays of roses and jasmines.
Spread over an area of over 40 kanal, this garden in Islamabad is famous among tourists for its 200 exotic varieties of roses as well as a dozen types of jasmines. The Capital Development Authority and Islamabad Horticulture Society, which are responsible for its maintenance, also organize seasonal flower and bird shows in the park, attracting a large number of visitors.
The best time to visit Rose and Jasmine Garden is during spring and early autumn when the flowers are in full bloom. However, it remains one of the most popular picnic places in Islamabad throughout the year. Apart from beautiful flowers and picnic grounds, this botanical garden also has cycling and jogging tracks.
Some of the nearby restaurants include Ravi Restaurant, Nirvana Café, Subway, Royal Afghan Restaurant and more.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Location: Garden Avenue, Aabpara, Islamabad.