The Mall – Free D.C.

By Michael Macaulay

There are so many free things to experience along The Mall in Washington D.C. The capital of America wants her visitors to have access to some of the country’s greatest treasures. And the city’s cultural heart is dressed up with buildings designed to impress! So, lace up your running shoes and prepare to enjoy. 

The Capitol Building

https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/

Located at the east end of The Mall, it is literally the centre of the city and is the start of the District’s street-numbering system. The beautiful dome is visible from a great distance, but its intricate marble carvings are worth a close-up look. You can book a tour to get a look inside, and it’s right across from the Canadian Embassy, in case you want a glimpse of America’s northern neighbour. 

Front shot of the Capitol Building and a close-up of intricate marble carvings

Lincoln Memorial

https://www.nps.gov/linc/index.htm

At the west end of The Mall is the gravity of the Lincoln Memorial. Climb the same stairs that hosted the “I Have a Dream” speech and the Marion Anderson concert, to admire the huge statue of Lincoln and his surrounding words on the walls. Make sure you take a moment to savour the view back over the city when you leave. 

Facing Lincoln statue with his quote on the wall behind him

National Gallery of Art

https://www.nga.gov/

So much art, and such a majestic building. Art treasures from around the world pack the many rooms of this building. From a raft of Rembrandts to the floating Calder mobile, there are a great variety of pieces to catch your eye. The trippy light show in the tunnel between the old and the new buildings makes a great lasting impression.

Abstract multicoloured painting

National Museum of African American History and Culture

1400 Constitution Avenue NW  https://nmaahc.si.edu/  

The NMAAHC, one of the most powerful cultural experiences in Washington D.C. is full of sorrow, power and joy. The crowns of the metal lattice are a strong focal point on The Mall. And do not forget the Sweet Home Cafe downstairs – the food will be one of the best parts of your visit.

The streets

There’s lots of space between the buildings for a vibrant street life. Americans come to visit their capital, share their views of the country, and other nationalities come to join the experience. It’s quite a mix, and make sure that you take time to enjoy what you come across by chance. 

Cowboy on a horse with an American flag on the street