Happy 4th everyone!
As I blasted my Hamilton CD a little louder than usual today, I only saw it fit to write an article about this nation’s beautiful capital: Washington D.C.
So if you’re planning a trip up to D.C. and don't want to break the bank, this one’s for you. I give you my D.C. for FREE guide.
If you’re in the nationals capital, there’s a few things you just can’t miss. This is one of them: The Mall. No, I’m not talking about a shopping spree at DC’s most extravagant shops and stores. I’m talking about the National Mall. You know, where all the monuments and memorials are located? Yes, and lucky for you, most of them are all located within the same general vicinity. And it’s a beautiful walk too—especially in spring when the fluffy, cotton-candy flowers of the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom.
The Washington Monument
Modeled after the shape of an ancient Egyptian obelisk. His memorial stands as tall—like his memory—rising an impressive 555 feet above the ground. At the time of its completion in 1884, Washington’s monument was the tallest building in the world. Due to a lack of funding, the building actually was completed in two phases, which can be seen in the distinct coloring of the monument’s bricks. The lighter shade can be found
Make your way over to the 169 year old monument and marvel at its height.. Rising an impressive 555 feet above the ground, Wahington’s monument stands tall—just like his memory. Modeled after an ancient Egyptian obelisk, this monument commemorates the strength and ahiehg of America’s most famous Founding Father: George Washington.
Be sure to note the different color stones scaling the sides of the monument. Due to a lack of funding, the monument was completed in two phases which can be seen in the color variation of the stones toward the top of the tower.
Take the elevator up the monument and enjoy the birds eye view of the city. *Note, this feature is closed for refurbishment until 2018* :(
*Fun fact: Though damaged, the monument survived a 5.8 magnitude earthquake back in 2011. Click here to learn more. https://www.nps.gov/wamo/learn/historyculture/earthquake.htm
The Lincoln Memorial
Visit the Lincoln Memorial and find yourself instantly transported to Athens, Greece. The memorial was modeled after the Athens’ most famous sites, the Parthenon—symbolizing Lincoln’s commitment to democracy which was founded across the sea in ancient Greece.
As you walk up the famous memorial’s steps to enter the building, remember you are walking where history once stood. The steps of this memorial have been the home to several famous events, including but not limited to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” speech. Brush up on your American history and count the 36 pillars representing the 36 states in the Union at Lincoln’s time—find the friezes located above the columns and read which states are included in the mix.
Upon entering the memorial, gaze up in wonder at the 19’ tall statue of Lincoln inside the memorial chamber. He's quite a wonder, that honest Abe, isn't he?
Stop by the famous Jefferson Memorial too while you're at it--or at least just admire it from afar fro across the water. The memorial was modeled after Jefferson's own house Monticello along with UVA's Rotunda; be sure check out the similarities. The monument was dedicated to Jefferson on the anniversary of his 200th birthday back in April of1943. Pretty special, don't you think?
I mean, he did write the Declaration of Independence, after all..
Korean War Veteran’s Memorial
Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial
Don't forget to venture over to the Vietnam Veteran's memorial where the names of over 58,000 soldiers who died in combat during this controversial war are etched into the black, reflective, gabbro stone.
Make your way over to the WWII memorial and stand in the midst of 56 granite pillars, each representing a US state or territory during the time of the war. Find your state or territory (if you are indeed from this great nation) and take a picture with its corresponding pillar. If you're not from the states, don't fret, just find your favorite state or simple marvel at the design and pool located within pillars' semi-circle.
Fun fact: Try to find a little hidden drawing on the side of the memorial called "Kilroy was here."The drawing mimics a popular graffiti piece at the time of the war that American soldiers frequently drew on various surfaces. Can you find him?
Walk over to West Potomac park and go through the two pieces of granite, symbolizing, "the mountains of despair," and make your way out and over to the 30 foot tall carving of King, representing, "a stone of hope."
Fun fact: The design for King's memorial comes from a line of his most famous speech, "I Have A Dream" speech: "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope."
Be sure to take advantage of DC's wide array of FREE--that's right I said FREE-- museums. Whether you like modern art, classic art, planes, trains, stamps, or portraits of the presidents, there is definitely a museum out there for you.
My personal favorite is Renwick Gallery, filled with incredibly funky exhibits like this one--all for free of course!
For more free attractions in D.C. be sure to check out this website!