Monuments to Visit in Washington D.C. (I)
Monuments to Visit in Washington DC: African American Civil War Monument – A special slice of US history. This underappreciated monument and accompanying museum, located two blocks west, commemorates the sacrifice of African-American soldiers in the Civil War, offering an unusual peek at a special slice of U.S. history. The ten-foot-tall Spirit of Freedom sculpture shows uniformed black soldiers and a sailor, and the surrounding Wall of Honor lists the 209,145 United States Colored Troops (USCT) who served in the Civil War. The accompanying museum around the corner at 1925 Vermont Avenue houses photos, media clippings, and replicas of period uniforms and weapons.
Monuments to Visit in Washington DC: African American Civil War Monument – Nearby: This monument is about a block from the 9:30 Club, where music shows are playing just about nightly. It's also on the eastern edge of the U Street Corridor, where you can find good dining and nightlife, including the venerable city institution, Ben's Chili Bowl.
Monuments to Visit in Washington DC: African American Civil War Monument – Transit: Several blocks' walk west on U Street will bring you to the U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo metro station (green, yellow). There are bunches of buses to choose from as well, including the 63, 64, 90, 92, 93, 96, and X3.
Monuments to Visit in Washington DC: Arlington National Cemetery – A profound monument to bravery and sacrifice. Leave yourself several hours for this visit; the cemetery is huge and the emotional impact is profound. There is no experience quite like standing among the sea of white grave markers to bring home the reality of what we sacrifice in war.
You may well see a graveside service taking place; almost 100 are conducted each week. Though this is a beautiful outdoor space (see an interactive map here), show respect by keeping your voice low, especially at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where you should ideally stay silent.
Monuments to Visit in Washington DC: Arlington National Cemetery – Nearby: There's not much you can walk to from here, unless you want to schlep across Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial on the other side of the river. If you have a car or a bike, though, you might enjoy a ride on the George Washington Parkway, a very pretty road along the river that passes by the cemetery. It will lead you through Old Town Alexandria and on to George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate.
Monuments to Visit in Washington DC: Arlington National Cemetery – Transit: The cemetery is serviced by the dedicated Arlington Cemetery (blue) metro stop. If you prefer the bus, the 13F and 13G lines run right to the gates and then continue in a loop that encompasses the National Mall and Ronald Reagan National Airport.