Devote a day to wandering the National Mall and experiencing life in the heart of D.C.

The National Mall stretches from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument and encompasses acres of grass, reflecting pools, and national monuments. No trip to D.C. is complete without photos there, and there are plenty of things to do within its borders. Take the Metro to the Smithsonian station and start exploring!

Lincoln Memorial

The Memorials

Take your time and visit all of the memorials that surround The Mall. Take photos, but remember to be respectful—you never know who might be visiting the memorial of a loved one lost in combat. Each memorial has its own rules and regulations, so be on the lookout for signage about what is prohibited. For example, electric scooters are welcome on The Mall in general but not near the individual memorials.

Get Your Steps In

The Mall is a great place for a walk or a jog. You'll find many people striding along to their favorite music, especially early in the morning when it's cooler out.


Bring a snack or visit one of the many food trucks along its perimeter. The Mall is prime people-watching territory so you should definitely make time to sit on a bench and have an outdoor lunch. If the weather is bad, each of the museums has some sort of restaurant to try. Freeze-dried ice cream, anyone?

Get Out on the Water

Head down to the Tidal Basin and rent a paddleboat to get a different view of D.C. It's a leisurely way to pass the time, and you can get some of your daily workouts in while still sitting down!

paddle boats

Take Photos

Grab your camera (or your phone), and practice your photography skills. Capture those iconic D.C. shots, like pinching the Washington Monument or panoramic views of the reflecting pools. Sometimes the best shots are landscapes, and The Mall is full of historic sites. Remember to stay until sunset to get some spectacular nighttime photos, too.

MLK Junior Memorial

The Mall should be as much of a destination as the Smithsonian museums that edge it. Take at least a few hours to appreciate the national treasures in D.C.'s backyard.

For more information about the National Mall and upcoming events, visit the official National Mall Facebook page.

**All of the photos in this article are courtesy of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.