Monuments to Visit in Washington D.C. (II)

Tag: Washington D.C.

Monuments to Visit in Washington D.C. (II)

Monuments to Visit in Washington D.C.: Capitol Building – Book your tickets early. You need forethought to visit the Captiol; tours must be booked in advance, and as you'd expect, slots fill up fast. You can book your tour through your Senator, Representative, or on your own online. 

 

There are a limited number of same-day passes available each day, distributed at the information desks in Emancipation Hall on the lower level of the recently completed Capitol Visitor Center (for which all visitors should thank the U.S. taxpayers, who footed the exorbitant $621 million bill — more than double the original projected cost). Tours begin and end here at the Visitor Center and continue through the Crypt of the Capitol, the Rotunda, and National Statuary Hall.

 

Monuments to Visit in Washington D.C.: Capitol Building – Nearby: Next door you'll find the charming Botanic Garden, and on the other side the formidable National Gallery of Art. And don't miss what's behind: the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress (which you may, like me, find more appealing inside than the Capitol itself) and the Supreme Court. If you're hungry, try the native-foods cafeteria at the American Indian Museum, two doors down.

 

Monuments to Visit in Washington D.C.: Capitol Building – Transit: The Capitol South metro (blue, orange) is just a few blocks south of the Capitol Building. (Unsurprisingly, it seems to have the most reliable escalators in the metro system.) As for buses, the Union Station-Navy Yard Metro Circulator goes right by, connecting Union Station metro (red) with Navy Yard metro (green). Regular routes that run around the Capitol are 96, 97, A11, 32, 34, and 36.

 

 

Monuments to Visit in Washington D.C.: FDR Memorial – The best memorial in DC. This is, according to one humble opinion, the best memorial in the city. Visitors experience the monument from the inside, strolling through a series of outdoor stone "rooms" representing the various stages of an important presidency that stretched a remarkable 12 years. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to four terms in an era without a two-term limit (he died a few months into his fourth term), and the monument offers an intimate and thought-provoking journey through that time. 

 

Besides, there are waterfalls cascading over carefully disheveled rocks, profound quotes carved tastefully into the walls, and life-size bronze statues of downtrodden depression-era people standing in breadlines (great photo op: you in breadline). The waterfalls are lit up at night, making this a romantic and serene place to take someone special.

 

Monuments to Visit in Washington D.C.: FDR Memorial – Nearby: You're next door to the monument to MLK Jr., established in 2011. You're just up the road from the hidden George Mason Memorial and the not-so-hidden Thomas Jefferson Memorial. At a certain time of year, this is a good place to see some cherry blossoms.

 

Monuments to Visit in Washington D.C.: FDR Memorial – Transit: Driving is the easiest option, though parking is limited (on street). The D51 bus is another good way to get here. If you're up for a walk, from the Smithsonian metro station (blue, orange), walk west past the Washington Monument and south around the Tidal Basin.

 

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.