Admire the memorials dedicated to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, or relax in the immaculately kept gardens of D.C.’s most recognizable strip. With its wealth of monuments, museums and grand gardens, the National Mall can easily occupy two or three days of your visit to Washington.
Join reverent Americans of all ages at the pantheon-like memorials to the early American presidents Lincoln and Jefferson. The Washington monument is impossible to miss. Standing 555 feet (169 meters) high, the needle-like obelisk commemorates America’s first president and is the tallest stone structure in the world. Consider lingering until late afternoon and evening as the marble and granite light up against the darkening sky.
Evocative monuments to other figures who have shaped American history are also found along the mall. Pause to reflect on the role Martin Luther King Jr. played in the aspirations and lives of African Americans, or on the determination and leadership President Ulysses S. Grant displayed in winning the American Civil War.
Once you’ve paid your respects to the many monuments and memorials, spend a few hours, or days, exploring some of the nation’s premier museums. The National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Air and Space Museum should be near the top of everyone’s list.
Time your visit to coincide with one of the many festivals held in the mall throughout the course of the year. Blossom Kite Festival and Earth Day are two major spring events, while Independence Day and Labor Day feature parades and fireworks displays that the entire family will enjoy.
Monuments and history aside, the National Mall is the perfect place to unwind. Go for a jog through the tree-lined paths and gardens, take to the waters on the paddle boats, or enjoy a game of Frisbee on ”America’s front lawn.”