Stretching from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial, the grassy, tree-lined National Mall is a hub of activity in Washington DC. The open space—America’s most-visited national park—between Constitution and Independence avenues is fringed by Smithsonian museums, numerous monuments, and attractions, such as the National Archives.
With at least a dozen museums spread along 11 blocks (plus all the other monuments and memorials), there’s a lot to see and do at the National Mall. As a hub of so many attractions, the National Mall features on just about every guided tour of the city.
Walking tours of the National Mall hone in on the history of America’s “front yard,” while evening tours on foot, by coach, or Segway allow visitors to see the monuments and museums illuminated after dark. Some tours combine the National Mall with a trip to Arlington National Cemetery.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Mall is a must-visit for all first-time visitors to DC.
- Bring comfortable walking shoes; it’s a 1.9-mile (3-kilometer) walk from one side of the National Mall to the other.
- The National Mall and many of its major monuments and memorials are wheelchair accessible.
- Don’t forget to bring sun protection and plenty of water.
How to Get There
The National Mall is well-connected via public transportation. Ride the Orange, Blue, or Silver Metro lines to the Smithsonian stop, or hop from one attraction to the next aboard the DC Circular National Mall route.
When to Get There
The National Mall itself is open 24 hours a day, though some of the attractions in the area have their own hours. Fall (September to November) and spring (March to May) bring the best weather for enjoying the National Mall’s outdoor spaces.
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
One of the most prominent features of the National Mall is the 2,028-foot (618-meter) glass reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The pool was built in the 1920s, and today, it uses water from the Tidal Basin, treated and filtered to up its reflection factor.