1. Lincoln Memorial – At the western end of the mall sits one of the most recognizable edifices in the country. Dedicated in 1922 to our 16th President Abraham Lincoln, the memorial has been the site of many of the nations more recent iconic moments. “The “March on Washington” (1963), the Easter concert of Marian Anderson (1939), and it remains a focal point of redress and renewal.
2. Washington Monument – At 555ft., it is the tallest free standing stone structure in the world. An obelisk of white marble, dedicated in 1885, it can be seen from almost all quarters of the city and beyond. An elevator ride to the top is well worth the wait – no other vantage lays out the vision of the city below.
3. Jefferson Memorial – Designed by John Russell Pope, and dedicated in 1943, its once controversial form is now appreciated for its simple elegance and setting on the banks of the Tidal Basin. In the springtime with the cherry blossoms in bloom, it epitomizes the cultivated beauty of the city.
4. White House – For more than two centuries, the White House has been the home of our elected presidents and their families. Completed in 1800, after a archictectural competition won by a young Irishman James Hoban, the design is that of a simple Georgian mansion. Its public rooms tell the story of the nation’s history in taste and interior design and furnishings.
5. U.S. Capitol Building – The national assembly house, with its cast iron dome topped by the “Statue of Freedom,” is Washington’s most prominent landmark. Although the building has undergone numerous reconfigurations, the original design was done by Dr. William Thornton. A tour of the building and an examination of the functions of this institution can be the highlight of a visit to the city.
6. Supreme Court – This building houses the third branch of our system of government. Until moving here in 1935, the Court had no permanent space of its own. Some say that the building is still too close to the legislative branch and it should be relocated further away. In the meantime, the Court’s term starts the first Monday of October.
7. National World War II Memorial – Dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II, the memorial consists of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a plaza and fountain. It opened in April 2004 and sits on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool.
8. MLK, Jr. Memorial – The street address for the memorial is 1964 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C., with “1964” chosen as a direct reference to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a milestone in the Civil Rights movement in which King played an important role. The memorial is located on a 4-acre site in West Potomac Park that borders the Tidal Basin. It is the first memorial to an African American on the National Mall.
9. Library of Congress – The largest library in the U.S. if not the world. it houses more than 33 million books and many historical treasures. Opened in 1897, its interior was a showcase for American artists at the time, featuring murals, mosaics, and sculptures. All combine to make the rotunda and hallways one of the most beautiful public spaces in the capital city. It is the one building that displays the grandeur and intelligence of Washington.
10. Smithsonian Institution – Established in 1846 “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” it consists of 19 museums, nine research centers, and a zoo. This includes the American History, Air and Space, Natural History, the Arts and Industries and Technology, and African American History and Culture, all administered by the United States government. Famous for its eclectic holdings of 137 million items—it is the largest such complex in the world. The Institution’s thirty million annual visitors are admitted without charge; funding comes from the Institution’s own endowment, private and corporate contributions, membership dues, and government support.
11. National Museum of African American History and Culture –The National Museum of African American History and Culture is a Smithsonian Institution museum located on the National Mall. It was established in December 2003 and opened its permanent home in September 2016 with a ceremony led by President Barack Obama.