Explore DC’s Core at the National Mall
September 18, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC, USA – When it comes to frolicking around our nation’s capital, there’s no place we’d rather be than the National Mall. With close to 310 acres to roam, it’s no wonder this one-stop-cultural-shop has become a must-see for millions of tourists from around the globe. From museums to memorials to Beaux-Arts style buildings, this Elm-lined green expanse has it all.
Of course, its origins are as old as Washington, DC itself. Though Peter L’Enfant’s grandiose vision of the so-called “Grand Avenue” never came to pass, the 1901 McMillan Plan used some of L’Enfant’s core ideas to inspire the present-day Mall. Long-forgotten were the more naturalistic gardens of the Civil War era; this geometric space included a 300-foot wide vista inspired by some of Europe’s most elite cities.
Now, visitors can roam around the city’s core at ease. Highlights include the Smithsonian’s vast holdings throughout the park as well as the numerous noteworthy historic monuments nearby. Art aficionados will enjoy the National Gallery of Art and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden while history buffs can savor the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History.
Naturally, it goes without saying that this area is home to DC’s most celebrated memorials. When we’re looking to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle, these thought-provoking monuments are the perfect place to ponder (and, admittedly, rest your feet for a few!). Tributes include those to US presidents Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt, as well as the more somber commemoratives to World War II and Vietnam vets. While some of these monuments are not on The Mall itself, all are within walking distance.
And though you might already be well-acquainted with DC’s rich history, we like how there are rangers on duty to answer our questions daily from 9:30am-11:30pm at many of the nearby monuments. Plus, nearly all of the sights around these quarters are — gasp! — free, so we don’t feel as guilty splurging on some of the capital’s more refined hubs (or maybe spending the day pampering ourselves at the nearby Spa at the Mandarin Oriental — ooh la la!).
What with its numerous tributes to America’s past and present, it’s not surprising this tantalizing expanse is a must. This is a showcase of many of our nation’s leaders and their awe-inspiring ideals, after all!
Read more about the National Mall in our Washington, DC guide.