Today, I want to share with you this park that had witnessed many historic events. The National Mall is located right smack in the middle of the Washington DC downtown area. I am amazed with the foresight of the city planners to create such a huge expanse of park land and conserve this place from indiscriminate development.
No visit to Washington DC is complete without having stepped in the National Mall, don’t you think so? In many respect, the National Mall can be referred to as America’s Front Yard.
All the green expanse that you see above is the National Mall. From one end to the other, the distance is about 2 miles. On a clear day you could see the Lincoln Memorial from the US Capitol.
The layout is quite simple. I’ve marked the map above in red. The map is a bit small but click on it to see a bigger view of this. In the center is the Washington Monument. Way to the west is the Lincoln Memorial, to north is the White House and towards the east is the US Capitol.
Between them are peppered with a lot of monuments and museums. Most monuments are located west of the Washington Monument while the Smithsonian Museums are located east of it. Suanne and I spent a day covering the museums and another for the monuments.
At (almost) the center of the National Mall is the Washington Monument. This is perhaps the most important monument in the National Mall, dedicated to the founding father of the United States of America. Until today, no building is taller than the Washington Monument.
Here is looking east from the top of the Washington Monument. At the far end is the US Capitol. The buildings you see on both sides along the strip of green are the museums — Washington has lots of museums … and they are all free!
The air was quite muggy as you can see. Washington DC was unbearably hot and humid when we were there.
Looking north is the White House. I covered that just yesterday here.
Looking west are a string of monuments, the most imposing of all are the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. If my memory serves me correct, this part are land reclaimed from the Potomac River many, many years ago.
This park is the most important public spaces in America. For some it is just a park and for others it is a playground. Yet, this place is also a platform that launches the ideals of a nation. It is also memorial as a whole with some of the nation’s greatest memorials. In short, the National Mall tells the story of America.
There are an average of 50 events held here every day … some lasting just hours and some that lasts for weeks. So, the wear and tear is showing quite clearly here. Coincidentally, just a few days before we left for Washington DC, we saw a feature on CNN that described how bad some areas of the National Mall had become and in dire need for action to save the park.
The above is the famed Reflecting Pool. I find it so embarrassingly yucky. You have to know that there are not many washrooms around here and so you need to really plan your kidney breaks. Also, food is almost non-existent. We brought snacks and drinking water when we were here.
So … with this introduction to the National Mall … we headed next to the Smithsonian Museums …