Wanderlust America

Explore the National Mall in Washington D.C.

If you have been wondering what to see and visit at the National Mall in Washington D.C., you have come to the right place. The National Mall is a landscaped park in the downtown area of Washington D.C. Every year the park expects at least twenty-four million visitors. The National Mall is filled with historical monuments that honor the iconic legacy of the United States of America. There is so much to see and do around the National Mall that it could take a person many days. Let us look at some of the top tourist attractions to see at the National Mall.

Korean War Veterans Memorial located in National Mall scaled
  • Korean Memorial – Established in 1995, the Korean Memorial honors the legacy of 50,000 American Soldiers who fought in the Korean War from 1950-53. There is a triangular garden that is supposed to emulate a battlefield. Nineteen stainless steel carvings portray the soldiers in poncho. There is also a slogan that says “Freedom is Not Free” at the top of the memorial.
  • Washington Monument – The Washington Monument was built to honor the legacy of the first U.S. president George Washington. Standing tall at 555 feet, it is the tallest structure in Washington D.C. If you wish to go to the top of the Monument, you need to buy a ticket and go through security.
  • White House – If you visit the National Mall, you can catch a glimpse of the White House as well. You can take photos and videos but to enter the premises you need to book far in advance.
  • National Air and Space Museum – Founded in 1876, The National Air and Space Museum has since been one of the most visited museums in the United States. The museum has provisions for both adults and children, including IMAX movies and planetarium shows. You can book a 2-hour tour of the museum and check out its twenty-three exhibition galleries.
  • Lincoln Memorial – Built as a tribute to America’s 16th President Abraham Lincoln. Inside the memorial, you will find Lincoln seated on a chair with his hands rested and in deep contemplation. This was the location for Martin Luther King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” monologue in 1963. The steps of the memorial are a great site to enjoy the view and rest.
  • National Museum of Asian Art – It is a great museum that exhibits Asian art that helps us to understand Asian culture more profoundly. The National Museum of Asian Art is home to more than 40,000 artifacts from the past to the present. There is also the famous Peacock Room which highlights the works of painter James McNeil Whistler.
  • World War I Memorial – In April of 2021, more than a century after World War I ended the World War I Memorial was officially inaugurated. It is right outside the White House Visitor’s Center. The memorial honors the legacy of 4.6 million Americans who had served in World War I. Although a great site to visit, it is still unfinished with a 60-foot-long sculpture titled “A Soldier’s Journey” still under construction.
National Mall Washington DC scaled
  • Vietnam Memorial – Designed in 1982 and a heartfelt addition to the National Mall. Vietnam Memorial is easily the most famous and visited memorial on the National Mall. The memorial is composed of two adjoining walls in the shape of a lengthy V-shape granite wall and contains seventy-two black granite panels. It accounts for the names of 58,000 who were dead or missing in action during the war. Visitors often leave flowers by the memorial.
  • S. Botanical Garden – It is an indoor garden that houses approximately 4,000 varieties of plants. The Botanical Garden tries to educate young people and adults on the fragile and important relationship between humans and plants. Established by George Washington in 1820, it is the oldest known botanical garden in the United States of America.
  • United States Capitol – It is just one mile away from the Washington Monument. It was first built under the supervision of William Thorton in 1793 In the war of 1812 it was  burned by the British Troops, and has since been rebuilt. You need to book a ticket which is free to visit the Capitol. The tour starts at 9:30 am and ends at 4:00 pm from Monday through Saturday.
  • World War II Memorial – The memorial has a fountain at its center and the main columns represent the fifty states and territories. Decorated with 4,000 gold stars which signify the 400,000 American soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. There are daily tours available for the memorial at every hour.
  • Constitution Gardens – It is an island that has a lake in its park. You can roam around and bask in nature’s glory, or you appreciate the garden itself.
Lincoln Memorial National Mall scaled

Some Tips Before you Visit.

Location – It is situated south of downtown and the White House in Washington D.C. It will not be hard to find it as it is one of  the most famous and well-known parks in the United States.

DirectionsBeing one of the busiest areas, parking at the National Mall is very pricy and expensive. Therefore, it is best suited for you to take public transportation. Here are the metro stations near the National Mall – Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Capitol South, Federal Center SW, and Arlington National Cemetery. Parking near the area is usually confined to only 2 hours and extremely hard to find as well.

Tour and Guides – Make sure you are wearing comfortable footwear as you might be walking a lot around the National Mall. If you do not feel like walking, there are always bike and bus tours available. National Mall also has night tours because the monuments are beautifully illuminated at nighttime.

Stay – There are several hotels available for your lodging options if you are not a local. Some of these hotels include St. Regis, Grand Hyatt, and Willard Intercontinental.

Timings – The National Mall is a crowded place throughout the year. Having said that, the best time to go for a visit would be spring or fall although you can get a sunny days in winters too. For timings, the most suitable time for you would be early morning or later afternoon as you can also go paddle boating at that time.

Lincoln Memorial National mall scaled

Other attractions near the National Mall

  • Jefferson Memorial – It was built as a dedication to the third president of the United States Thomas Jefferson, a great politician, and a philosopher. Jefferson was the original author the Declaration of Independence. There is a 19-foot statue of Thomas Jefferson looking at the White House.
  • Portrait Gallery – it is located just to the north of the National Mall. It revisits the story of America from the pre-Revolutionary War to the present America. Other than that, it houses portraits of Presidents outside the White House.
  • Tidal Basin – Once you have visited the mall, you need to head straight over to the Tidal Basin. You can either paddle a boat over there or catch a glimpse of the wonderful cherry blossoms. At the Tidal Basin, you will also find other important monuments such as the Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

Hence, as detailed above the National Mall is a distinct and vast park to visit which should be on the itinerary of every traveler.

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