The National Mall is one of Washington, D.C.’s most iconic landmarks. Located in the center of a precisely organized city, the Mall is literally the heart of D.C. Serving as a site for picnics, Frisbee games, and dog walking in the warmer months, and snowball fights for local kids and college students in the winter, the Mall is also just a fun place for D.C. residents to hang around. For visitors, it’s most significant as the location of a large concentration of the city’s top museums. Prominently featuring the Smithsonian family of museums, famous monuments and political landmarks, as well as few other historic institutions, the National Mall is a one-stop-shop for all things cultural in Washington, D.C. If you plan on seeing some museums and other D.C. attractions while you’re in town, be sure to pick up a Washington DC Explorer Pass® to save up to 40% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

Getting to the National Mall

the-national-mall-washington-dcGetting to the National Mall from elsewhere in the city or from the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia couldn’t be easier. Hop on Metro and take a train to the Smithsonian Station (Blue/Orange/Silver), or, the Archives/Navy Memorial Station (Green/Yellow). If you’re working your visit to the National Mall into a larger itinerary, try using a Hop On Hop Off Washington DC bus to get around the area.

Museums in the National Mall

Image credit: National Gallery of Art Facebook page. The National Mall is the home of many of the city’s top museums, from the National Air and Space Museum to the popular Newseum. You’ll also find art galleries like the National Gallery of Art and the Freer & Sackler Galleries, home to an impressive collection of Asian art and artifacts. Fans of history will want to put the Museum of American History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on their must-do list. Nature lovers shouldn’t miss out on the Museum of Natural History.

Monuments & Memorials

The World War II Memorial. The World War II Memorial.
You’ll also find a number of the city’s most prominent monuments in the vicinity of the National Mall, with the United States Capitol at one end, the Lincoln Memorial at the other, and the Washington Monument right in the middle. You can also find the Jefferson Memorial a little to the south, the Korean War Veterans Memorial a little north of that, and the World War II Memorial near the reflecting pool. History nerds and architecture buffs alike should be sure not to miss the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, either! If you’re looking for a convenient way to tour many of these monuments without the stress of walking, check out the monuments cruise that glides along the Potomac past the National Mall.

Other Attractions to Visit

The Smithsonian Castle. Image credit: Smithsonian Facebook page. The Smithsonian Castle. Image credit: Smithsonian Facebook page.
Of course, the National Mall holds many more attractions, landmarks, and hotspots that visitors can enjoy. From the United States Botanic Garden to the Hirschorn’s sculpture garden, there is plenty of creativity and beauty to be found. If you’re interested in a scenic tour of the Mall, consider renting a bike for a leisurely ride. Visitors also often enjoy a stroll past the Smithsonian Castle, which has to be one of the coolest places in the country to work. Just a little bit north of the Washington Monument you’ll find the Ellipse and the White House’s South Lawn, which are adjacent to the Mall itself. All are lovely greenspaces that attract locals year round.

Save on Admission

Remember, if you want to explore a few D.C. attractions while you’re in town, you can save up to 40% on combined admission to top tours, museums, cruises, and more with the Washington DC Explorer Pass®! Washington DC Explorer Pass