A visit to the National Mall is good bang for your buck. Everything’s free, of course, but at America’s most-visited national park, you’ll see 14 national memorials and iconic monuments all in one place, tributes to America’s great leaders and historical events. What started as an idea for green space at the center of the city by Pierre L’Enfant in his 1791 plans for the city is now more than 1,000 acres of parkland, spanning from the United States Capitol to the Potomac River, and from the White House to the Jefferson Memorial.
Stroll through the 19 sculpted soldiers at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the face of non-violent activism in the civil rights movement, the World War II memorial, and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. Ford’s Theater, where President Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, is now a National Historic Site.
Perhaps the most striking and recognizable is the Washington Monument, the Egyptian 555-foot marble obelisk honoring the United States’ first president. Climb the 896 steps (or yes, take the elevator) and take in the 30-40 mile views. The Lincoln Memorial is not only a prominent feature, it has been the site of some of the nation’s most important social demonstrations, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. And the tribute to one of America’s most influential founding fathers, the Jefferson Memorial may be more famous for the cherry blossom trees that surround it and the Tidal Basin, home of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
In addition to this monumental amount of history to take in, you’ll also find a number of world-class museums including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Gallery of Art.