Monument Walk
A DIY walking tour to see the classics of the National Mall, with notes from a local.
9 Places • 2 Saves • ago
Free

The Monuments

Here are two alternate routes for taking in the classic sights of the National Mall. I prefer the first Route, because it hits more of the classics, but in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full view, the second route takes full advantage. If you really want to get your steps in, do both! In that case, start with Route 2, then finish with Route 1.

Route 1: Lincoln Memorial to the capital

Lincoln Memorial
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Be sure to walk up the steps and look at the inscription from the Gettysburg address on the wall.
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Vietnam Veterans Memorial
@abby
A striking memorial designed by Maya Lin.
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Constitution Gardens
@abby
This little hidden pond off to the north of the reflecting pool is a beautiful, more tranquil area to walk around than the sometimes-crowded reflecting pool area.
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Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
@abby
It's nice to look at the reflecting pool from the steps of the Lincoln - or to walk along it to get the feeling of approaching the Washington Monument, with it rising out in front of you. There's an open-air path directly next to the pool or a shaded path a little further to the side.
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World War II Memorial
@abby
A bit controversial when it was created (mainly because the style has a bit of a Fascist undertone), but it pays homage to the two distinct theaters of the war - Pacific and Atlantic - and each state that sent its sons off to fight in the war. The fountains are nice!
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Washington Monument
@abby
You can ride an elevator up to the top to have views -but note that you need to book that in advance. It's also nice just to walk around its base. Note the two different colored stones making up the monument - this is beacuse they had to stop work on it when the building committee ran out of money in 1854 and then re-started construction after the end of the Civil War in 1884. The second part was constructed with stone from a different quarry, which has aged differently.
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Route 2: Around the Tidal Basin

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
@abby
As often happens with newer monuments (see: The World War II monument), there was some controversy about this monument when it was first put up - everything from the design to the choice of stone to the paraphrasing of the quotes including caused a stir. But, as also tends to happen, over time people have come to appreciate the imposing, powerful statue.
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Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
@abby
One of my favorite monuments! It's a bit more of a walking experience than a single statue or building - and there are beautiful plantings and waterfalls. This is also a beautiful area to visit at night.
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Thomas Jefferson Memorial
@abby
A bit out of the way from other monuments, so I often skip it, but it is a beautiful monument to walk to and then take in the full beauty of the Tidal Basin - especially around cherry blossom season (Mar/Apr)!
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* * *
CURATED BY
Cofounder @ Thatch 📍Washington, DC My favorite way to get under the skin of a place is to eat! I always seek out new dishes and ingredients that are local to the place I'm visiting. My ideal day in a new city involves wandering the streets of a new neighborhood to get a feel for its energy, ducking into an art gallery or museum to see something inspiring, and then stopping for an afternoon coffee and chocolate chip cookie. At night, you'll more likely find me in a cocktail bar than a club. I also love to hike, camp, and be near the ocean! I lived for 8 years in San Francisco, and spent extended time in Lima, Peru and Mombasa, Kenya. Even though I've moved back to my hometown of Washington, DC, I still stay up to date on the SF food scene and travel back often for work! I'm pretty tapped into the DC food and coffee scene. Conversational in Spanish. Have some rusty Swahili.
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Monument Walk
A DIY walking tour to see the classics of the National Mall, with notes from a local.
9 Places • 2 Saves • ago
Free

The Monuments

Here are two alternate routes for taking in the classic sights of the National Mall. I prefer the first Route, because it hits more of the classics, but in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full view, the second route takes full advantage. If you really want to get your steps in, do both! In that case, start with Route 2, then finish with Route 1.

Route 1: Lincoln Memorial to the capital

Lincoln Memorial
@abby
Be sure to walk up the steps and look at the inscription from the Gettysburg address on the wall.
Add to
Details
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
@abby
A striking memorial designed by Maya Lin.
Add to
Details
Constitution Gardens
@abby
This little hidden pond off to the north of the reflecting pool is a beautiful, more tranquil area to walk around than the sometimes-crowded reflecting pool area.
Add to
Details
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
@abby
It's nice to look at the reflecting pool from the steps of the Lincoln - or to walk along it to get the feeling of approaching the Washington Monument, with it rising out in front of you. There's an open-air path directly next to the pool or a shaded path a little further to the side.
Add to
Details
World War II Memorial
@abby
A bit controversial when it was created (mainly because the style has a bit of a Fascist undertone), but it pays homage to the two distinct theaters of the war - Pacific and Atlantic - and each state that sent its sons off to fight in the war. The fountains are nice!
Add to
Details
Washington Monument
@abby
You can ride an elevator up to the top to have views -but note that you need to book that in advance. It's also nice just to walk around its base. Note the two different colored stones making up the monument - this is beacuse they had to stop work on it when the building committee ran out of money in 1854 and then re-started construction after the end of the Civil War in 1884. The second part was constructed with stone from a different quarry, which has aged differently.
Add to
Details

Route 2: Around the Tidal Basin

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
@abby
As often happens with newer monuments (see: The World War II monument), there was some controversy about this monument when it was first put up - everything from the design to the choice of stone to the paraphrasing of the quotes including caused a stir. But, as also tends to happen, over time people have come to appreciate the imposing, powerful statue.
Add to
Details
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
@abby
One of my favorite monuments! It's a bit more of a walking experience than a single statue or building - and there are beautiful plantings and waterfalls. This is also a beautiful area to visit at night.
Add to
Details
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
@abby
A bit out of the way from other monuments, so I often skip it, but it is a beautiful monument to walk to and then take in the full beauty of the Tidal Basin - especially around cherry blossom season (Mar/Apr)!
Add to
Details

* * *
CURATED BY
Cofounder @ Thatch 📍Washington, DC My favorite way to get under the skin of a place is to eat! I always seek out new dishes and ingredients that are local to the place I'm visiting. My ideal day in a new city involves wandering the streets of a new neighborhood to get a feel for its energy, ducking into an art gallery or museum to see something inspiring, and then stopping for an afternoon coffee and chocolate chip cookie. At night, you'll more likely find me in a cocktail bar than a club. I also love to hike, camp, and be near the ocean! I lived for 8 years in San Francisco, and spent extended time in Lima, Peru and Mombasa, Kenya. Even though I've moved back to my hometown of Washington, DC, I still stay up to date on the SF food scene and travel back often for work! I'm pretty tapped into the DC food and coffee scene. Conversational in Spanish. Have some rusty Swahili.
Send A Tip
Support Abby West’s work.
Select your tip amount
$5
$10
$20
$50
Or type in other amount
Powered by Thatch
The home for unique & authentic travel
Powered by Thatch: Where great trips are made.
© Abby West Privacy Terms