One of the highlights of visiting the nation’s capital is the ability to view and explore the National Mall and Memorial Parks for free. It’s a rare this day in age to be able to spend a day or even a week explore a place with rich history and significance without having to pay entrance fees everywhere you go. With numerous monuments and memorials to explore in addition to over 1,000 acres of greenspace, there is plenty to keep you busy.
There are many options to get around to all the different sights. A great option is on bike. Guided tours are available from different outfitters that can take you around to the sights while providing more in-depth information about each place. Another fun way is to go by foot. The National Park Service has offered programs such as ranger-led walks and even ranger-led runs. These walks and runs are a great way to view the sights, learn a little history and add to your adventure. Check with the National Park Service for current program offerings.
Washington Monument: Built to honor the first president of the United States, the Washington Monument stands 555 feet tall and is made out of marble.
Lincoln Memorial: Symbolizing unity, strength, and wisdom, the Lincoln Memorial sits directly across the reflecting pool from the Washington Monument, which allows for some amazing photo opportunities.
World War II Memorial: Honoring those who served.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial: Recognizing the contributions of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial: The almost 250-foot-long wall with over 58,000 names etched in it honors those who served in the Vietnam War.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope,” is just one of the many quotes from MLK, Jr. around this memorial that emphasizes the great legacy he left behind.
Korean War Veterans Memorial: Depending on the lighting, these stainless steel statues can appear ghostly, but it depicts those who fought during the Korean War.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial: FRD was an iconic president, and the memorial site is just one of many dedicated to his legacy.
D.C. War Memorial (WWI): The marble structure was built with the intention of holding the entire U.S. Marine Band, and concerts held there would be a tribute to those who served or had fallen during the war.