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20 Incredible Sights You Must See in DC’s National Mall

 The National Mall and Memorial Parks is an official US National Parks unit located in the downtown area of Washington DC. The National Mall is far from your stereotypical mall and constitutes the entire 250 acre stretch across downtown DC. Within the geographic boundaries of the National Mall lies major historical monuments and landmarks like Capitol Hill, Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument. It is also home to the famous Smithsonian Natural Museum of History and the National Air and Space Museum, among many other incredible museums dedicated to different forms of art and significant events and industries.

This stunning landscape is also peppered with beautiful sculpture gardens, grassy lawns, reflecting pools and plenty of places for fun-filled meals and photo opportunities. It’s impossible not to enjoy the energy and history of America’s capital city. No wonder the National Mall gets over 24 million visitors a year! Here are 20 must-visit locations in this unorthodox “mall” you wouldn’t have expected to be so fascinating! 

1. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, the most recent addition to the National Gallery of Art

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, the most recent addition to the National Gallery of Art

(By AgnosticPreachersKid, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

2. Thinker on a Rock by Barry Flanagan, 1997, in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden 

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, Thinker on a Rock by Barry Flanagan, 1997, in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

(By Barry Flanagan, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

3. The Folger Shakespeare Library, an independent research library, east of Capitol Hill, home to the largest collection of the printed works of William Shakespeare in the world

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Folger Shakespeare Library, an independent research library, east of Capitol Hill, home to the largest collection of the printed works of William Shakespeare in the world

(By Tom Wachs and Erica Abbey, Wikimedia Commons)

 buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Folger Shakespeare Library, an independent research library, east of Capitol Hill, home to the largest collection of the printed works of William Shakespeare in the world

(By Julie Ainsworth, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

4. The Smithsonian Institution Building, affectionately nicknamed “The Castle”, built in the late Romanesque and early Gothic styles, housing the administrative offices for the entire Smithsonian Institution

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Smithsonian Institution Building, affectionately nicknamed “The Castle”, built in the late Romanesque and early Gothic styles, housing the administrative offices for the entire Smithsonian Institution 

(By © Túrelio, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

5. The Enid A. Haupt Garden, a beautiful public garden adjacent to the Castle, stretching across 4.2 acres  

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Enid A. Haupt Garden, a beautiful public garden adjacent to the Castle, stretching across 4.2 acres

(By Jeff Tinsley, Wikimedia Commons)

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Enid A. Haupt Garden, a beautiful public garden adjacent to the Castle, stretching across 4.2 acres

(By Eric Long, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

6. The Butterfly Habitat Garden, lying between the Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Butterfly Habitat Garden, lying between the Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden 

(By DC Gardens, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

7. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, a Smithsonian Museum with a focus on Asian art

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, a Smithsonian Museum with a focus on Asian art

(Wikimedia Commons)  

 

8. The Freer Gallery of Art along with the Sackler Gallery constitute the Smithsonian Asian Art museums 

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Freer Gallery of Art, along with the Sackler Gallery constitutes the Smithsonian Asian Art museums

(By Quadell, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

9. Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, a decorative masterpiece by James McNeil Whistler, one of the most famous exhibits in the Freer Gallery of Art

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, a decorative masterpiece by James McNeil Whistler, one of the most famous exhibits in the Freer Gallery of Art

(By Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M Sackler Gallery, Wikimedia Commons)

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, a decorative masterpiece by James McNeil Whistler, one of the most famous exhibits in the Freer Gallery of Art

(By Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

10. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, endowed with the permanent art collection of Joseph H. Hirshhorn showcases art made in the last 50 years 

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, endowed with the permanent art collection of Joseph H. Hirshhorn and emphasizes on collection of art made in the last 50 years

(By Gryffindor, Wikimedia Commons)  

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, endowed with the permanent art collection of Joseph H. Hirshhorn and emphasizes on collection of art made in the last 50 years

(By Gryffindor, Wikimedia Commons)

 

11. The Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Memorial at the base of Capitol Hill 

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Memorial at the base of Capitol Hill

(By Remember, Wikimedia Commons)  

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Memorial at the base of Capitol Hill

(By USCapitol, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

12. The Capitol Reflecting Pool in front of the Capitol Building and Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Capitol Reflecting Pool in front of the Capitol Building and Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

(Wikimedia Commons)  

 

13. The United States Botanical Garden (USBG), on the grounds of the Capitol Building

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The United States Botanical Garden (USBG), on the grounds of the Capitol Building

(By Farragutful, Wikimedia Commons)  

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The United States Botanical Garden (USBG), on the grounds of the Capitol Building

(By Dconnellledwon, Wikimedia Commons)  

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The United States Botanical Garden (USBG), on the grounds of the Capitol Building

(By Ingfbruno, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

14. At the foot of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, facing the Washington Monument

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, At the foot of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, facing the Washington Monument 

(By Hu Totya, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

15. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial 

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

(By Mariordo, Wikimedia Commons)  

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

(By Ingfbruno, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

16. The Three Soldiers, part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, created by Frederick Hart, and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Three Soldiers, part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, created by Frederick Hart 

(By Brandon Oh, Wikimedia Commons)  

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial

(By G0T0, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

17. The Constitution Gardens, a 50-acre park that lies west of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial 

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The Constitution Gardens, a 50 acre park that lies west of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial

(By MusikAnimal, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

18. Located within the Constitution Gardens is the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, Located within the Constitution Gardens is the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence

(Wikimedia Commons)  

 

19. Near the Constitution gardens is the renovated and newly opened Lockkeeper's House, C & O Canal Extension, the oldest building in the National Mall and now a National Parks Service education center

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, Near the Constitution gardens is the renovated and newly opened Lockkeeper's House, C & O Canal Extension, the oldest building in the National Mall and now a National Parks Service education center

(By Yuhan Zhang, Wikimedia Commons)  

 

20. The National Sylvan Theater, an outdoor theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument and a popular venue for musicals, plays, and military concerts

buildings, monuments, memorials and gardens from the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC, The National Sylvan Theater, an outdoor theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument and a popular venue for musicals, plays, and military concerts 

(By Bellczar, Wikimedia Commons)  

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