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National Mall

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United States


National Mall

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A 16 minute walk through Washington DC connects the National Mall, to the National Botanic Garden and to the Supreme Court. Three major attractions that are not to be missed when visiting the US capital.

Located on the Potomac River, Washington DC is a remarkable city offering its visitors a plethora of attractions and activities to follow. The National Mall and Supreme Court are two of the most historical sites, while the US National Botanic Garden offers a perfect respite for the mind to wander off in nature.

National Mall House Of Representatives 1600

After the White House, the National Mall is possibly the most iconic location in all of the US, featured in thousand of movies, series, documentaries and not to mention Presidential Inauguration Ceremonies. The green landscape and the tall obelisk are recognizable by almost anyone around the globe.

The National Mall and Memorial Parks offer visitors an enriched experience, with a good balance of history and nature. The park is home to over 20,000 trees as well as countless varieties of flowers, shrubs and plants, this includes American Elms and Japanese Cherry Trees.

Covering 107 acres of land and being 10 feet deep, the Tidal Basin is a popular landmark. The basin that was built in 1800s, is filled at high tide with water flowing from the Potomac River. A relatively easy 2.1 mile looped trail leads around the Tidal basin and moves around the nearby cherry blossoms, in fact in Spring visitors can also appreciate the Cherry Blossom Festival. From March to September, visitors can also explore Tidal Basin by paddling around the waters with views of the memorials. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck at catching fish at the Tidal Basin and also at both the East and West Potomac.

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Interestingly prior to the opening of the National Mall in 1965, the area was still protected as parkland, and some of these spaces are still present today. The Constitution Gardens commemorate the countries foundation, by remembering not only presidents but even soldiers during the wars. Prior to the 19th century, the area covering the Potomac Park was concealed beneath the river bearing the same name, it was through excavation that this park was formed. During World War I the park was used as office buildings and it was president Nixon in 1970s who removed the structures and created the Constitution Gardens. Twelve years later, Ronald Reagan proclaimed the Gardens ‘a living legacy tribute to the constitution’.

National Mall and Memorial Parks host some of the country’s important memorials, honoring presidents, veterans and Americans who contributed to the America we know today. The African American Civil War Memorial, celebrates the 200,000 African-American soldiers who served during the civil war, and whose service in the army and navy contributed to ending the war and save millions of slaves. The Korean War Veterans Memorial honors 1.5 million American war veterans who joined the Korean forces to fight for freedom and democracy in 1950s when South Korea attacked North Korea. The Martin Luther King Jr Memorial takes a look at the efforts undertaken by this racial civil rights advocate and leader to bring about freedom, equality and justice.

National Mall White House 1600

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, celebrates the president’s four terms in office. A number of his quotes are carved on the marble walls of the four roomed memorial. The Washington Monument, is a 555 foot marble Egyptian like obelisk built in honor of the first US president, whose leadership aided the formation of the US. Located in line with the White House. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, looks back at the man behind the Deceleration of Independence. Celebrating its centenary, the Lincoln Memorial’s architecture takes inspiration from the Parthenon in Athens. Lincoln will always be remembered for reuniting the country after the civil war as well as for liberating close to four million slaves. Visitors may also visit Ford Theater, the place where President Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. The theater looks back at how his death was dealt with by the public at the time, as well as explores how much this head of state loved the arts, including poetry particularly, Edgar Allan Poe.

The National Mall and Memorial Parks are open all day long, and entrance is free of charge for all memorials. Rangers are available for tours, interpretive activities and to offer explanations between 9:30am and 10pm. Pre-booking timed slots are required for the Washington Monument and Ford’s Theater.

National Mall Tomas Jefferson Memorial 1600

There are plenty of leisure activities to follow, such as playing golf on the 3 different golf courses at the East Potomac Golf Course, or playing Tennis at the East Potomac Tennis Center. Similarly the East Potomac Aquatic Center offers a heated public Swimming pool close to the golf course open from end of May to beginning of October. If you get hungry there are two catering options, the East Potomac Grill situated at the golf course on Hains Point as well as one of the 9 food kiosks around the park operated by Guest Services. The NPS app is an ideal way to get information about the park as well as get access to interactive maps of the area, including trails, amenities such as restrooms, directions, transportation, shopping and other points of interest.

A 15 minute walk leads from the National Mall to the Supreme Court. This massive, highly decorated building is the country’s highest court and is hard to miss. On days where there are no sessions the building can be visited weekdays from 9am to 3:00pm, the premises are closed on holidays. Interested visitors may wish to attend one of the courtroom lectures, however while there is a calendar they are offered on first come first served basis, since these lessons are sought after it is recommended to go ahead of time.

There are a number of exhibitions to follow on ground floor, including an exhibit looking at the architecture of this wondrous building. Two other exhibits reflect back on women’s role in law at the court including that of Sandra Day O’Connor the first woman on the supreme court. Another exhibit looks back at forgotten legacies through portraits. There are even 25 minute guided explanations about the courts role, its judicial functions and its architecture. There is also a gift shop and cafeteria for a light snack.

National Mall Orange Flowers 1600

A couple of stops on the DC Circulating Bus on the way to the National Mall, leads to the United States Botanical Garden. From Roses to Orchids, to more endangered plants, the botanical garden is home to a large variety of flora. The Botanical Garden is made up of three areas, outdoor gardens, the conservatory and the Bartholdi Fountain. The conservatory that shelters desert and tropical forests, is open daily between 10:00 and 5pm, while the outdoor gardens are open 2.5 hours earlier at 7:30am with extended hours in spring and summer. There are three entrances to the outdoor gardens, the Independence avenue, Maryland Avenue and Conservatory Terrace. The outdoor gardens are decorated with Mid-Atlantic Plants and Roses among other varieties.

These three remarkable landmarks are a must visit for anyone visiting Washington DC, especially to anyone interesting in learning more about the history of the country. Visiting all three landmarks in one day will be a challenge, especially if you’d like to explore all there is to see at each of the landmarks. The area is very busy so it is recommended to use public transport to reach the center, especially as the botanical garden doesn’t even have a parking lot.

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National Mall Address & Directions

National Mall, Washington, DC

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