As a child I would come to Washington, DC randomly due to school trips or family events however these instances were spread out over time and while I could recall sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for the Fourth of July, I could see the Washington Monument in my minds eye, and I could list what memorials I had and hadn’t seen – it had been an awful long time since I actually went to these places.
A week shy of my 21st birthday my cousin and I adventured through DC on our own; this was the first time I visited Arlington Cemetery and saw the newly opened World War II memorial. It was enjoyable and fun – up until I nearly passed out due to the triple digit temperatures.
But that was a handful of years ago and the monuments are beautiful and well worth returning to every few years to appreciate the architecture of it all. So, aftermoving to the area I took two different excursions to the area to revisit all I could.
The monuments are together and yet spread out. Going from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol alone is a little over 2 miles to walk so if you intend on seeing all of the memorials in one shot – wear comfortable shoes. Also make sure you have enough time and water on hand. The heat in the summer is very humid and sticky which can be very uncomfortable for some (example: my near passing out experience!) and much of the mall is in direct sun. There are trees, granted, but you can guarantee a lot of other people will be seeking the shade.
Also, you can always opt to rent a bike from the Capital Bikeshare which will get you from point A to B without quite as much time wasted. You’ll see a lot of tour buses dropping people off at different memorials and if you attempt to see the memorials during a specific event in DC, good luck, because a lot of other people will have the same idea in mind.
Currently (July 2012) the reflecting pool between the WWII memorial and Lincoln memorial is closed off due to construction and access to the Washington memorial is unavailable as it is closed because of damage from an earthquake. The National Mall near the Capitol building is closed as well as they repair the grounds. However, you can still see the memorials you are nearby and hopefully everything will be back to it’s beautiful conditions soon.