216 US-50, Washington, DC 20520, USA
Ok! Ahead on your right is the Lincoln Memorial. It’s the huge white thing with the pillars. It’s the #2 attraction in all of Washington DC. Some of the first proposals for this memorial included a Mayan temple and a log cabin. There was also a disagreement about exactly where the memorial would be located. The speaker of the house at the time said “I’ll never let a memorial to Abraham Lincoln be erected in that damned swamp.” Sorry, but that’s where it is. Also from standing at the Lincoln memorial and facing east, you can see the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the Washington monument. More about those later.
Constitution Ave NW & 22nd St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
On your left is a statue of a 12 foot tall bronze guy sitting on a granite bench. That’s the Albert Einstein Memorial. In his left hand, Einstein is holding papers that show his most important scientific theories, like E=mc squared and the theory of general relativity
2101 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20418, USA
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located within Constitution Gardens on your right. This memorial wall was made of black granite from India.There are over 58,000 names listed on the wall, not in chronological order but in order of the dates of their deaths. There is also a women’s memorial statue depicting nurses in the war.
Constitution Ave NW & 19th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
All that pretty area to your right is known as Constitution Gardens. We will be driving around it on this tour. It’s 50 acres of grass, trees, monuments and a lake with an island. The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting pool is there as well, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech to a crowd of over 250,000. Less awesome though, is the fact that the reflecting pool was completely drained in 2017 to control a parasitical outbreak which killed a bunch of ducks and caused swimmer’s itch. So there ya go. Also at the corner of 17th street on your right is the Lockkeeper’s house, which is the oldest building in the National Mall. It was used by the Lockkeeper to collect tolls from people using the old Washington City Canal.
1600 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
You are coming up on 16th St NW. On the left is the White House. That’s where the president of the United States lives. Inside is also 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, eight staircases, three elevators, five full time chefs, a tennis court, a bowling alley, a movie theater, a jogging track, a swimming pool and a putting green. On the right is the George Washington Monument. The first elevator ride to the top took a long 20 minutes. Also, back in those days people thought that the elevator was too unsafe for women and children, so only men were allowed in. If you were standing at the Washington monument you could also see the Lincoln memorial behind you and the US Capitol building in front of you. Lots of cool stuff.
1401-1499, US-50, Washington, DC 20230, USA
Ahead on your left is the US Department of Commerce. On your right is the super awesome National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Inside you will find over 37,000 artifacts. And, unlike any other museum in the area, over half of what you will find in this museum are family heirlooms that were donated by Americans.
226 US-50, Washington, DC 20560, USA
Next up on your left is the William Jefferson Clinton West Building. On your right is the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Inside is over 3 million random objects representing America’s science, technology, society and culture. Everything from the Star Spangled Banner Flag, to Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, to Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves.
12 St & CONSTITUTION AVE NW nb, Washington, DC 20004, USA
To your left is the Internal Revenue Service - THE tax collectors. Booooooo! Not really a favorite of most Americans. On your right is the National Museum of Natural History. It is THE most visited Museum. What’s in there? Dead things. Thousands and thousands of dead things. Fossils, mummies, every possible taxidermy animal that you can think of, meteorites, gems and bugs. Yeah bugs. They have a huge bug display and a live tarantula feeding during the day which is always a hit with the kiddos.
305 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
On your left is the National Archives Museum where you can see the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. On your right is the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. There are beautiful trees and flowers and 17 cool sculptures. In the winter they turn the whole thing into an ice skating rink!
600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20580, USA
On your left is the Federal Trade Commission. On your right is the National Gallery of Art - West Building. Between this and the East building up ahead, there are roughly 141,000 pieces that stretch all the way back to the Middle Ages. Also, the only Leonardo Da Vinci painting in the entire western hemisphere is here. Be prepared to turn right on Pennsylvania AVE NW. It’s the next intersection.
401 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20565, USA
You need to turn right here and then get in the left lane to turn left on Constitution. Catty corner to your left is the Newseum. Inside you will find a dozen major galleries, 15 theaters, two broadcast studios, and the coolest interactive newsroom ever where you get to play the role of a photojournalist, editor, reporter or anchor.
400 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565, USA
On your right is the National Gallery of Art - East. Please turn left on Constitution Avenue. The George Gordon Meade Memorial will be on your left. Major General George Gordon Meade is best known as the career military officer from Pennsylvania who defeated General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg.
200 US-1 ALT, Washington, DC 20001, USA
That huge domed building ahead on your right is the United States Capitol. It’s the home of congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the United States federal government. That’s great and all but here are some fun facts you might not hear about at the visitor’s center: There’s a painting in the Capitol, OF the Capitol being burned to the ground. That’s like hanging a picture in your house OF your house being on fire. Interesting. Also there are cat paw prints embedded in the concrete floor just outside of the old Supreme Court chamber. Seriously, cats get into everything.
Russell Senate Office Building, 2 Constitution Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
You need to turn right when you get up to 1st St NE. On your left and catty corner on your left are a couple of senate office buildings - the Russell building and the Hart building. The senate is the upper chamber of congress. Each state has two representatives only and they serve six year terms.
110 Maryland Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
Court is in session!!! That building on your left with the cool pillars is the Supreme Court. It’s the highest court in the United States and consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight other justices that the president picks and the Senate confirms. Each justice gets one vote in all cases. Most cases are decided by a 5-4 margin which shows how evenly the court is politically and socially divided. There’s a lot of history in that pillared building.
112 East Capitol St NE, Washington, DC 20543, USA
Coming up on your left you will find the Court of Neptune Fountain, and behind it is the Library of Congress, which is the largest library in the world. It’s open to the public but you can only check out books and other materials if you are a high ranking government official or Library of Congress employee. So if you want to read any of the over 100 million publications they have in there, you are gonna have to do it in that building. Turn right on Independence Avenue.
Cannon House Office Building, 27 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20515, USA
To your left is the first of three House of Representatives office buildings. This one is called the Cannon House, and is the oldest congressional office building. So, the House of Representatives is the lower chamber of Congress. The number of representatives per state is determined by the state’s population and they serve for two years at a time.
Independence Ave SE & New Jersey Ave SE, Washington, DC 20004, USA
This is the Longworth building there on the left. As you keep driving toward the final House office building, if you look to the right you can see the United States Capitol through the trees. But still watch where you are going! There are usually a lot of hopeful interns running around here.
6138 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
This final House of Representatives office building on your left is the Rayburn Office and it is massive. 2.375 million square feet massive, to be exact. This place went 88 million dollars over the original budget. I guess the congressmen and women felt they needed a gym below the sub-basement that has cardio machine with TV’s, multiple weightlifting machines, basketball courts,… oh and a shooting range. Hey Americans, thanks for paying your taxes.
101 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA
Who likes plants? I do. And on your right is the United States Botanical Garden. In there you can find over 10,000 living plant specimens. Some of them are over 165 years old! The garden is monitored by computer operated sensors to maintain the proper environment, but each plant is hand watered daily. Lucky plants. On your left is the Department of Health and Human Services.
300 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA
Here comes a bunch of museums on your right. That large rock-formation looking building on your right is the National Museum of the American Indian. It all started back when Native American leaders discovered that the Smithsonian Institution held more than 15,000 Native American remains and they weren’t doing anything with them. So now you can go in there and check it all out. There’s also a pretty awesome cafe that serves indigenous inspired foods like grilled bison and Indian fry bread. The museum itself sits on 4 acres and is surrounded by simulated wetlands - kinda like the DC area used to be back when it was inhabited by Native Americans and not politicians.
4th St SW & Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA
On your right is the National Air and Space Museum. If you like things that fly, you will love this place. It’s actually the third most visited museum in the entire world! Ever heard of the Wright Brothers? Well their “Wright Flyer of 1903” is kept here.\rThe Apollo 11 Command Module which landed on the moon in 1969 is here as well. Plus a bunch of aircraft from WWI and WWII, and a moon rock. Yeah, a rock that was literally on the moon. Pretty cool stuff. And if you enjoy IMAX movies, they have a theater in there that is 5 stories tall!
700 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20591, USA
Don’t blink or on your right you will miss 12,000 pieces of artwork. I’m not kidding. That big circle shaped building is the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which is the national museum of modern and contemporary art.
Independence & 9th St, Washington, DC 20024, USA
That red brick building there on your right is called the Arts and Industries building. It’s claim to fame is being the very first United States National Mall Museum. Currently it is being used to host private events.
Independence St Ave & Lenfant Plaza, Washington, DC 20004, USA
The National Museum of African Art is next. It houses over 9,000 works of traditional and contemporary African Art, and the red castle looking building behind it is called, well, the Smithsonian Castle. There are administrative offices inside.
1050 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560, USA
Next is the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. It’s the national museum of Asian art. There’s South Asian sculptures, exquisite Chinese jade, modern Japanese pots and vases, and contemporary art. I bet you didn’t know all that. So that sure was a lot of museums, wasn’t it!
20-50 12th St Expy, Washington, DC 20560, USA
On Fridays during the summer and fall months, there will be a really cool farmer’s market on your right. You are about to drive under the first of two bridges. These are the Department of Agriculture Pedestrian Arches and they are used as pedestrian walkways between the two huge Department of Agriculture buildings. The USDA makes and executes federal laws related to farming, forestry and food. It also develops programs to distribute food, nutrition and nutritional education to those in need. The USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides healthy food to over 40 million low-income and homeless people each month. It also provides surplus foods to developing countries. Pretty cool, I think.
620 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA
On your left in that big red building is the USDA Forest Service where you can meet Smokey the Bear and learn about the history of the Forest Service. We are now coming up on the intersection of Raoul Wallenberg Place SW. Keep going straight, but just so you know when you come back, if you go left at the intersection, after you pass the USDA Forest Service building is the United States Holocaust Museum. There you will learn about one of the most dark and gruesome events in the world’s history. Just past there you will come across the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Wanna see where all the money is printed? That’s the place to go. It’s a very popular attraction here in DC. If you keep following that road south, it wraps around the Tidal Basin and will run you past the Jefferson Memorial. Thomas Jefferson was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States. Staying on that road will then take you to the George Mason memorial and if you follow along to the north you will find the Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial. It’s a really cool statue of him and his dog Fala. Who doesn’t love Fala?
1600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA
On your left is what’s called the Tidal Basin. It’s a man-made reservoir that releases 250 million gallons of water collected at high tide, twice a day. I also have a fantastic story about the tidal basin, a politician, and an Argentine stripper. But there’s no time for that right now. Keep going straight on Independence Avenue. If you were to turn right on 17th St you would find the WWII Memorial. Make sure you come back and explore it in depth sometime because it is really cool. It’s a huge memorial made of granite, bronze and fountains, all honoring the hundreds of millions of people who served in WWII. You will find cool quotes on the pillars there along with a wall of 4,048 stars. Each star represents 100 Americans who died in the war. In front of that wall is the inscription “Here we mark the price of freedom.” Kind of gives me goosebumps.
Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
On your left across the street is The Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. It is the 395th memorial in the National Park Service and it is a fantastic one. There is a line from his “I Have a Dream” speech that states “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope”. This was the inspiration for this memorial. It’s a 30 ft tall sculpture of Dr. King named the Stone of Hope, and two other huge pieces of granite that symbolize the “mountain of despair”.
Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20245, USA
Are you sick of me yet? No? Awesome. Here comes the last memorial on this tour: The Korean War Veterans Memorial. It’s on your right. It consists of a big granite wall with more than 2,500 photographic images sandblasted into it. There are also 19 larger than life stainless steel statues representing a platoon on patrol, and there’s a Pool of Remembrance. I especially love to see it at night when they have it all lit up. Very cool.
703 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20037, USA
Well, that concludes our whirlwind tour of the National Mall. I hope you remember absolutely everything I’ve said and that you took detailed notes on all of it. We are almost back to the Lincoln Memorial, which is where we started. So why don’t you find a place to park and go get a more up close and personal view of the memorials and museums, now that you know where everything is. \r\rOh, wait. I think I promised you a story about a congressman and an Argentine stripper, right? Ok, here goes: Back in 1974, married Arkansas congressman Wilbur Mills was having an affair with Fannie Fox, a local DC stripper. They had been out drinking one night and were driving near the Tidal Basin when police pulled their car over. Fannie Fox tried to run from the scene by actually jumping into the tidal basin. Obviously that whole incident went public. Mills ended up resigning from office. Fox ended up changing her name from “The Argentine Firecracker” to “The Tidal Basin Bombshell” and with her newfound notoriety was able to make 5 times more money with her stripping gigs. So basically the incident destroyed the congressman’s career and launched the stripper’s career. Now wasn’t that story worth the wait?\r\rThis has been such a fun tour for me. I hope you had a great time too. Make sure you check out more of our UCPlaces tours in DC. We have a distillery tour, a horse statue tour, a DC scandals tour, a Bridges of Arlington County tour and much, much more. We would really appreciate it if you’d give us a review and tell us just how much you LOVED this tour! Until next time, so long and happy touring!
VWRX+5P Washington, DC, USA