Visit The National Mall! The best way to see most of Washington’s monuments and museums is to stroll down the Mall, a greenway crowned by the Capitol and lined with treasure all the way to the Lincoln Memorial. Start by taking the Metro there (orange or blue line to Smithsonian; take the Mall exit out of the station), as parking is impossible. Then choose your own adventure, rambling in and out of museums and staying only as long as you’d like. If you have kids with you, take a break at the old-fashioned carousel in front of the Arts and Industries building, about halfway down the Mall. Or duck into the sculpture garden at the Hirshhorn Museum nearby. There’s a lot to see, so you’ll have to prioritize — or chill out and assume you’ll be back one day.
The National Museum of American History is one museum not to be missed on the Mall. Reopened on Nov. 21, 2008, after a two-year renovation, it is a massive collection of all things American — from Abraham Lincoln’s top hat to the Nintendo Game Boy. Another sure thing on the Mall, the National Museum of Natural History has something for everyone in the family, from the femme to the fierce. The Hope Diamond is here, along with an insect zoo, an IMAX cinema and a hall full of dinosaurs.
Things to skip: the National Museum of the American Indian, which feels like a museum designed by committee, and the World War II Memorial, an eyesore that offers little to inspire.
The National Mall is located at 900 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC; 202-426-6841 nps.gov/nacc
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