The National Mall is an iconic landscaped park that acts as the centrepiece for several government buildings in the nation's capital. Known as America's Front Yard, the park is home to a towering obelisk, brilliant statues, and architectural marvels. You'll also find extensive walking paths as well as historical significance here, as it's been home to some of the most iconic events in US history, including celebrations and protests alike.

With museums, monuments, and landscaped greenery in virtually every direction, the National Mall holds appeal for visitors of all ages and interests. Kids and adults alike can find fun walking throughout the area and seeing all the monuments up close that are typically viewed on television or printed on money. Most people spend about 2 to 3 hours travelling from attraction to attraction within the park, but it may take multiple days to see everything the park has to offer in full.

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What are the highlights of the National Mall in Washington, DC?

Visiting the National Mall means getting close to a wide variety of attractions and monuments you can visit. The most obvious, however, is the Washington Monument. This towering obelisk meant to immortalise the country's first president presides over everything else in sight, reaching a height of 555 feet.

You can visit the Lincoln Memorial and the US Capitol on the ends of the National Mall, and you should take time to check out the national stage where MLK gave his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. Additionally, you'll find several Smithsonian Institution Museums here, but many travellers simply enjoy the tree-lined walking paths that let you take in the vibrant greenery and history of the area. You can even take a Big Bus Tour that's designed to showcase the best scenery for you.

A brief history of the National Mall in Washington, DC

The National Mall began as a vision in 1791 that was a part of L'Enfant's plan for DC. It wasn't until 1802, however, that Mathew Carey's plan gave this park its name, which derives from The Mall in London. The Washington City Canal, which was completed in 1815, gave shape to the park, but it didn't properly exist at that time. Andrew Jackson Downing developed a proper landscape plan for the Mall in the 1850s that rapidly took shape.

Much of the modern National Mall looks the way it does because of the McMillan Commission's plan from 1902, which valued wide, open spaces. The park housed temporary war buildings during both World Wars, but they were eventually all taken down. It wasn't until 1966 that the park finally made it on the National Register of Historic Places.

What else is good to know about the National Mall in Washington, DC?

The National Mall is one of the easiest places in DC to get around. Once you've arrived, you can access all the top attractions in the area on foot. Getting to the park in the first place is easiest if you don't drive yourself. Parking is often outright unavailable, and when it is, it's not free. A better alternative is taking the Metro Rail, which has quite a few stations within walking distance of the park.

When visiting the National Mall, you may want to take time to visit some other local attractions as well. The East Potomac Golf Links can be found to the south, and the National Portrait Gallery is located to the north in Chinatown. Additionally, city centre is located just to the north and boasts numerous delicious restaurants.

National Mall in Washington DC

Location: Washington, DC, USA

Open: 24/7

Phone: +1 202-426-6841