The very popular in the USA word "mall" usually goes with "shopping". The mall alone means large space, broad street for pedestrians in an US town. The National Mall is an open-area public park in downtown Washington, D.C. which formally stretches from the grounds of the Washington Monument to the United States Capitol directly to the east. However in spoken language the National Mall also includes area west of the Washington Monument up to the Lincoln Memorial by the Potomac River together with multiple Smithsonian Institution museums and various national monuments and memorials along.
The number of tourist attractions in and around the Mall highly exceeded my expectations and encouraged me to stay longer in DC than I planned in the beginning. That's why I almost skipped Georgia :-( and South Carolina :-( in the end of my Southern Oddysey. Forgive me, Chris (balfor).
The public park didn't look American, never. First of all, to my suprise people kept away off grass and crossed the mall walking on asphalted sidewalks. Maybe they were Europeans, or what? You know, in Europe grass is to amaze and look at while in the USA it's to walk/sit/play on. Is DC Mall European? For sure in this small thing and in all those copied ancient Greek/Roman architecture around the Mall.
Futher on, the meadow with yellow, poor grass (unusual in US parks) was scorched by the sun or it might be damaged before by marching crowds as I was told that the Mall was an attractive site for protests and rallies of all types. Next European custom? As I noticed Americans tends to change "the world" rather changing law than by frightening politicians with large protests and rallies. Their strong local comminities always support something or protest against something trying to influence those in power by numerous votings pro/against as I could easily see in front of many Wal-Mart supermarkets for example.
You might think the Mall is a one biiiig national monument, but it's meant to be fun too.
I got a kick seeing this merry-go-round in the Mall right by the Smithsonian Castle. If only I had been younger, haha!
There were clearly preparations for some fiesta in the National Mall, right in front of the Smithsonian Castle. I was sorry we were not staying for the weekend, it could have been fun!
I was glad to have a chance to see how the big green area in the Mall could be used for festivals and outdoor events. I hope there will be some event going on when I visit the city again some day :-)
While traveling in other cities, I have found with great displeasure that I have to pay for what I take for granted as being free. The Smithsonian Institute museums in Washington DC are free to domestic and international travelers. Most museums are open daily, 10am-5:30pm and closed on December 25.
They have so much to offer everyone from everywhere of every age. This is a list of their wonderful museums:
African Art Museum
Air and Space Museum and Udvar-Hazy Center
American Art Museum (Closed for renovation)
American History Museum
American Indian Museum on the Mall
Anacostia Museum (African American History and Culture)
Freer and Sackler Galleries (Asian art)
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (modern and contemporary art)
Natural History Museum
Portrait Gallery (Closed for renovation)
Renwick Gallery (American crafts)
Smithsonian Institution Building, the Castle (visitor information)
So go wild and visit as many of the museums as you can. I am certain that you will be quite busy with the exhibits in Washington DC!!! Visit their website for more detailed information www.si.edu.
Fondest memory: My favorite reason for visiting the museums is that it reminds me of my childhood. Since it was so close to our schools, we always made yearly trips to see the museums downtown. I attended college nearby as well and had the wonderful opportunity to go to them as part of my curriculm. These museums have always been a part of my life and I hope they bring knowledge, enlightenment, and joy to yours.
The National Mall.
Where is located Washington Monument,is where starts the area called the Mall.Here you can see all Smithsonian Museums,including:Museum of America History,Museum of Natural History,National Gallery of Art,Air and Space Museum,Hirston Museum,Arts and Industries,and Freer Gallery.The visitors center are located in the Smithsonian Castle.
Some of most importants places to see in DC are:
ALL SMITHSONIAN MUSEUMS.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.
This is a picture of WASHINGTON MONUMENT.
This reflecting pool is 2,000 feet long and the reflections of the Lincoln Memorial on one end and the Washington Memorial on the other are both reflected here.
There are also lots of families of ducks :-)
Here in the year 2,000 building work started on a WWll memorial. This was still being carried out when we visited in July 2002 and also when my husband went in June 2002.
Favorite thing: Washington as a town is laid out fairly simply, but interstate access is often a little daunting. However most of the important landmarks are situated within an easy walk of or actually on the National Mall, 133 acres of flat ground with reflecting pools commanding much of its space. Arlington National Cemetery, no less considerable than anything in the US capital, is situated directly across the Potomac River due west from the Lincoln Memorial. You can easily reach most of the places of interest by subway.
Make sure you don't get swept away all at once by the museums, memorials and monuments. It can be overwhelming at first sight, but they all have their own story to tell.
If you don't have to worry about your budget or can afford to splurge for a night, you might want to try and stay at the Hay Adams Hotel, which from the roof has a beautiful view of the White House, Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial.
Fondest memory: Strolling through the National Mall and going up the Washington Monument just before it was to be restored in 1998.
Downtown Washington is very pleasant, especially the Mall, a long wide avenue where dozens of interesting buildings are. Of special interest for me was the National Geographic Museum, the Obelisk, the Museum of Natural History, the CIA headquarters, the Air & Space Museum...
Of course Capitol Hill and the White House should be seen.
Outside downtown, I heard about very unsafe places...so I ran away from there.
To find 'affordable' accomodation I recommend the cities of Alexandria and Arlington (Virginia), across the Potomac river. Of course you'll need to have a car or take public transportation from there, but it's worth to do it.
Get an aerial view of the city. One option is going to the top of the Washington Monument. An alternative is the tower at the Old Post Office. If you don't have kids in tow, take the elevator to the top of the Hotel Washington, near the White House. The view from the Bar Terrace is wonderful, and a beer or cocktail there is a fitting end to a day of sightseeing.
Fondest memory: The Jefferson Memorial is the best thing on the mall. While other monuments are about wars and men it is about the ideas that gave birth to our nation.
The Mall deserves a walk along it. you can see the Washington monument at the end. the white marble shaft rises 555 feet and stands on the Mall, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol.
See all general tips for all monuments sited in the Mall, in both lanaguages!
Fondest memory: El mall se merece un paseo. Al fondo se puede ver el monumento a Washingotn, la columnoa de marmol blanco que alcanza los 555 pies y situada en medio del maal entre el capitolio a un extremo y al otro el memorial a Lincoln.
Favorite thing: Anything on the mall - walking around and seeing the monuments and memorials, stopping in the various Smithsonians, absorbing so much tradition and history in this bustling city...it's just incredible.
Go to the mall. It is the obvious place for tourists to meet. It is an overwhelming place because of the grandeur and majesty of the buildings, but there are also cool corners like the contemporary sculpture Garden in front of the National Archives building.
Fondest memory: The severe classical lines of the buildings on the Mall give to this place a great feeling of solemnity.
If you go to DC for only a few days then just hang around the US Capitol Mall and visit the monuments, Smithsonian museums and federal buildings.
Fondest memory: My favorite monument is the Lincoln Memorial because it is a very romantic place to take a date at night ;-)
Attend a National gathering in support of , or protesting for your favorite cause.
Fondest memory: Million Man March; Who can forget that exciting day, October 16th 1995,
when a million Black Men descended upon our nations capital.