We recently visited Washington DC. We arrived on a Saturday but get there late in the morning. About the time we dropped our bags off at the hotel and jumped on the Metro, we arrived downtown closer to 1 PM. Seeing as (almost) all the museums close around the same time (during the winter months they close at 5:30 PM), we decided to stroll around the National Mall and view the monuments, perfect of you are only hanging out for several hours. We first stopped by the most obvious monument, the Washington Monument. Clear as day, you can see this monument from miles away. Center within the National Mall, the Washington Monument stands tall at 555′. Of course once we were standing in front of it questions arose. Like, I knew that it used two different kinds of stone because the original stone wasn’t available when the finished it. But did you know that construction began in 1848, stopped until 1854 and finished in 1888. Due to funds, war and having issues within the National Monument Society. I found that interesting, that it just stood there half complete for so long. Unfortunately, you can NOT go inside the Washington Monument until 2019. They are performing repairs on the elevator, so I say thank you for keeping me safe and not having my child and I in some old school elevator.
Thanks National Parks!
So on our way we went. To visit the monument we wanted to see the most.
Or as you may call it, the Lincoln Memorial.
But on the way to Big Abe, you have to pass the Reflecting Pool and the WWII Memorial. Gorgeous view to see. The Reflecting Pool is tree-lined, with walking path on both sides. You can help but hear the words of Dr. Martin Luther King all the while envisioning Forest Gump jumping in. There are so many iconic moments that happened throughout DC, and a pleasure see and touch it in person versus reading it on a book.
We had a comical moment as we walked to Big Abe. There was a man doing push-ups on a bench, my son and his father often workout together. So he jumped right in and they had a little “match”. My son said he wanted to keep going because he couldn’t “feel the fire”. LOL. It was cute.
But back to Big Abe.
The Lincoln Memorial is grand, to say the least. And crowded, and I really wanted to sit in his lap.
Apparently that’s prohibited. Haters gonna hate.
Lincoln is quite notably a huge figure in American history, and his memorial speak volumes. The Gettysburg Address aligned the walls while Lincoln sits center. I totally learned something new too. I didn’t know this, so don’t judge. But, “4 scores and 7 years ago” pertains to the Declaration of Independence. 1 score is 20, so 80 and then of course 7 years, so 87 years prior was 1776. Again, don’t judge me. Clearly I was a dreaming in school.
Here would be a great place to eat a snack while sitting on the steps. You can a great view looking towards the Washington Monument. This is exactly what we did. I can’t imagine how busy it is during the Summer, it was quite busy the weekend we were there, and this was in February.
We decided to move on, and at this point didn’t have a clue of where were we going. Luckily there were signs throughout the area that pointed you into the direction of monuments and museums. Standing tall just a few short blocks away from where Dr. King recited one of his most notable speeches, I Have Dream, was our next stop, the Martin Luther King Memorial. Carved out of stone, Dr. King’s massive statue was created from a verse with his I Have a Dream speech in mind.
“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King
Behind the monuments is a wall of quotes of Dr. King throughout his career.With a legacy of Dr. King, the monument is quite moving.
The monument sits along the bank of the tidal basin, directly across the water from the Jefferson Memorial.
If you are visiting DC while the Cherry Blossoms are in season, then you are in for a treat. While we walked to the Jefferson Memorial, we could see the buds that are about to blossom. Along the walk, we learned that the Cherry Blossoms were gifts from Japan in the early 1900’s. I have to return during the Cherry Blossom Festival. It looks like such a gorgeous view to see.
Surrounded my columns, the Jefferson Memorial is a bronze statue of Jefferson himself. With excerpts of some of his famous writings (including his most notable, The Declaration of Independence) are inscribed into the walls of the memorial. As we were walking around, we noticed an elevator. We had no idea where it led, but we got in it anyway. Little did we know, there is another level to the monument. Below, there is additional information, in addition to two gift shops and restrooms. Perfect break area if you are visiting in the summer and want to get out of the sun. As the sun was beginning to set, we decided to take in the view and sit on the marble and granite steps of the memorial. Here was a great view in general, but it seems like one of the best views if you are visiting when the Cherry Blossoms are in bloom.
At this point, we decided to get to the food trucks to fill us up before headed back to the hotel. No problem finding food here. There is something for everyone. Decently priced, we were all pleased with out selections.
When we arrived in DC, I realized that we wouldn’t be able to even scratch the surface of everything that we wanted to do and see. I highly recommend staying here for at least 5 days. This isn’t all we did while in DC, we visited several museums while we were there. Stay tuned for more on visiting the museums!