Can You See the D.C. Monuments in One Day?

Many of you know I live near to Washington, D.C. Over the years I have explored D.C. with and without kids. I am now writing for Oyster Local Blogs as the D.C. Locals Correspondent. Come check out my tips for what to see in D.C. In my first post, I write about touring the Washington monuments in one day. Is it possible?

Short on time and want to see every monument in just one day?! It may sound undoable, but here’s how to tackle it!

The basics:

  • The National Mall, located between Constitution and Independence Avenues, stretches from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Whether you are traveling to D.C. alone, with a spouse or friend, or with children, a visit to Washington, D.C., would not be complete without walking the Mall.

Getting started:

  • If you’re taking the Metro to the Mall, you’ll want to take the Blue or Orange line and get off at the Smithsonian Station stop. You’ll need a Metro card for each member of your group.
  • If you’re in need of a place to stay, there are many hotels close to the Mall, including Holiday Inn Washington-Capitol and the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel.

Walking Tour of Presidents’ Monuments

  • When you ascend the escalator at the Smithsonian Metro station, you will see the Mall all around you. Walk west towards the Washington Monument (the tall obelisk)  in the direction of the Potomac River. Marvel at its height, and be sure to take a free tour!
  • Afterward, continue west towards the Lincoln Memorial (which is on the far end of the Mall). You will walk past the Reflecting Pool, made famous in part by the movie Forrest Gump.
  • At the end of the Reflecting Pool, you’ll reach the Lincoln Memorial. On my family’s last trip to the Lincoln Memorial, my husband read the inscriptions at the top of the monument. As crowded as it was  during Spring Break (not to mention peak cherry blossom season), my children stood rapt listening to their dad recite Lincoln’s words.
  • Once you exit the Lincoln Memorial, head to the Tidal Basin which is directly southeast of the Memorial. Walk along the southern edge of the Tidal Basin (heading southeast) towards the Jefferson Memorial. If you’re lucky enough to be in D.C. when the cherry blossoms bloom (roughly late March to early April), you’ll be in for a beautiful treat.
  • The pathway around the Tidal Basin leads to the Jefferson Memorial, a magnificent, white structure in honor of the country’s third president. My family spent close to an hour at the monument while our teen photographed the inside, our tween read the inscriptions, and our youngest child rested.
  • My kids learn about the Great Depression by lining up for some bread
  • Next and last stop: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, dedicated not long ago in 1997. To get here from the Jefferson Memorial, backtrack along the Tidal Basin. This memorial is massive, so I’ve saved it for last. It depicts several scenes and honors both FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt for their commitment to their country during the Great Depression and World War II.

It’s time to sit down, relax, and congratulate yourself for making it through many of the city’s main monuments in one day!

[Photo courtesy of Jill Berry]

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