Our stay in Maryland was interrupted by a curious trip to the capital of the United States. We were so close to the National Mall and with the election quickly approaching, it seemed like an ideal stop along our travels. We stayed with out friends Haley and Tyler in Virginia for a fun-filled weekend. The National Mall is located in the middle of Washiongton D.C. and is made up of a number of museums, memorials, and monuments. Tons of history to explore in a 5-mile radius.
We were only able to visit this area for one day but it was a very full one and had many attractions to see. At first we went by foot but soon decided to rent bikes in order to see many of the sites. We used Capital Bikeshare and had a worthwhile ride around. They have comfy seats and were great to ride around the distances between monuments. We visited quite a lot on our visit, but not everything we wanted to. If you just want to check it out 1-2 days will suffice, but if you are a history buff and want the full experience I’d plan 3-4 days to take it all in. I’ve linked most everything with links to the National Park Service or Smithsonian for you to plan a trip of your own!
Attractions – Museums, Memorials, & Monuments
- Washington Monument
- Lincoln Memorial
- World War II Memorial
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
- Korean War Memorial
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
- DC War Memorial
- National World War I Memorial
- African American Cival War Memorial
- Belmont-Paul National Women’s Equality National Monument
- George Mason Memorial
- John Ericsson Memorial
- Andrew Jackson Downing Memorial Urn
- Constitution Gardens
- The White House
- Smithsonian Institution Building
- National Museum of American History
- National Museum of Natural History
- National Air & Space Museum
- Hirschhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
- National Museum of American Indian
- National Museum of African Art
- Arts and Industries Building
- Freer|Sackler Galleries
- Freer Gallery of Art
- Arhur M. Sackler Gallery
- Old Post Office Tower
- Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site and Park
- Ford’s Theatre
Purposes of the National Mall
- Provide a monumental, dignified, and symbolic setting for the governmental structures, museums and national memorials as first delineated by the L’Enfant plan and further outlined in the McMillan plan.
- Maintain and provide for the use of the National Mall with its public promenades as a completed work of civic art, a designed historic landscape providing extraordinary vistas to symbols of the nation.
- Maintain National Mall commemorative works (memorials, monuments, statues, sites, gardens) that honor presidential legacies, distinguished public figures, ideas, events, and military and civilian sacrifices and contributions.
- Forever retain the West Potomac Park section of the National Mall as a public park for recreation and enjoyment of the people.
- Maintain the National Mall in the heart of the nation’s capital as a stage for national events and a preeminent national civic space for public gatherings because it is here that the constitutional rights of speech and peaceful assembly find their fullest expression.
- Maintain the National Mall as an area free of commercial advertising while retaining the ability to recognize sponsors.
I’m sure I’ve missed some attractions along the way but this should be a decent list to follow and will most definitely keep you busy on a weekend visit. We LOVE the National Park Service and try to visit everything we’re able to along our travels. To see scheduled events, guided tours, etc, check out their website here –> NPS. The National Park Service turned 100 years this year, celebrate that here –> NPS Turns 100!
Enjoy your visit to Washington D.C. and the National Mall
Cheers and thanks for reading!