A visit to the monuments on the National Mall is a chance to step back in history. Maintained by the National Park Service, the Mall features over 70 statues and monuments. They are located along 26 miles of pedestrian sidewalks and 8 miles of bike paths, paying tribute to famous people and events. Wisconsin Senator James McMillan initially organized the National Mall following a plan created earlier by Pierre Charles L’Enfant. Nowadays, it’s one of the most dynamic ways to learn about centuries of American history.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
There are over 3,000 festivals and events held on the National Mall annually, and a favorite place to host them is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Back in 1943, Congress spent a little more than $3 million on this memorial that President Roosevelt dedicated on Thomas Jefferson’s 200th birthday. The monument stands on soil dredged from the Potomac River. If you stand with your back to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, then you will see the Alexander Hamilton statue on the south patio of the U.S. Treasury Building. These two were top political rivals, so it is fitting that they are still keeping their eyes on each other.
The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most recognized monuments in the world. Within two years of John Wilkes Booth assassinating Abraham Lincoln, plans were underway for the building of the Lincoln Memorial. Political debates and World War I kept the monument from being built for more than 50 years. Finally dedicated on May 30, 1922, the current monument is awe-inspiring, but the original plan called for a much more elaborate monument. Lincoln’s hands are resting on piles of wood that were seen by the Romans to represent power. This monument also has Greek and Italian influences that visitors should look for when visiting it on the National Mall. One of the largest groups to ever gather at the Lincoln Memorial heard Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech from its steps.
Martin Luther King Jr. Monument
Within steps of the Lincoln Memorial, officials dedicated the Martin Luther King Jr. monument on October 16, 2011. The official address of this monument that shows Dr. King rising above mountains of despair is 1964 Independence Avenue as a tribute to the 1964 Civil Rights Act that he helped get passed. Over 900 applicants from 52 countries competed for the right to design this monument. Artisans carefully positioned the statue so that Dr. King is gazing directly at the cherry trees.
Find a Hotel
Getting a hotel near the National Mall can sometimes be challenging since over 25 million people visit the monuments on the mall annually. Therefore, hotels near the National Mall often fill up very early regardless of the time of year.
One hotel that you will want to check out is the Grand Hyatt Washington. Located less than 1 mile from the mall, this hotel features 897 contemporary guest rooms that have been carefully designed to mirror the urban landscape found just outside their doors. After a full day of sightseeing, relax by dining on locally sourced farm-to-table items at Cure Bar & Bistro.
The Eaton DC is another hotel on the National Mall, and it offers a truly unique experience. Founded by Katherine Lo, an activist and filmmaker, it is a purpose-driven property that seeks to inspire innovators and creators in socially-conscious ways. The rooms are eclectic and aimed at inspiring everyone from artists to entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for something different on your trip to the National Mall, the Eaton DC should be top on your list of hotels.
One of the benefits of staying so close to the National Mall is that you can visit it any time of day. It’s so great to easily visit when there are fewer people since the National Mall never closes.