My wife and I had to visit DC to turn in some travel documents and wanted to spend the rest of that day exploring the National Mall. I’d been there before as a teenager, but I don’t remember my parents and I walking around the whole thing. This is the route we took this time, which covers all of the essential monuments:
Starting at the Washington Monument in the center, we headed west towards the World War II memorial, then cut northwest past the Constitution Garden pond towards the Albert Einstein memorial. His statue isn’t actually part of the National Mall; it’s across the street at the National Academy of Sciences. But it’s worth the detour, because it ended up being one of my favorite stops:
From there, we headed south through the Vietnam Veterans memorial, the Lincoln memorial, and the Korean War Veterans memorial. At that point, you have to backtrack east a little bit to see the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, which marks my second highlight:
This is where the tour starts to dry up a little bit, since there’s not a whole lot to see as you wrap around the Tidal Basin. Make sure you go through the FDR memorial, though. It rounds out my top three favorite things here:
The George Mason memorial is also interesting, which is the last memorial you’ll see before ending at the Thomas Jefferson memorial on the other side of the water from the Washington monument. Unfortunately, going out that far does kind of put you in the middle of nowhere. That’s why we decided to append a visit to the nearby ARTECHOUSE digital art exhibit so it didn’t feel like we walked the whole thing for nothing. But it’s not that much farther to complete the loop, anyway.