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I am a Denver-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

The National Mall at Night: A Photo Essay

The United States Capitol at Night

The United States Capitol at night

The National Mall in Washington, D.C. is beautiful, particularly lit up as I discovered last night. No sooner had I checked into my hotel and dropped off my bags than I was hoofing it around the mall, seeing all of the monuments, memorials, and attractions. It was a lot of extra walking since I didn’t exactly do it in a sensible order, so this photo essay – The National Mall at Night – is laid out with a better route in mind than my hopscotch craziness. Feel free to devise your own, I just suggest downloading the National Park Service map to get started; I instead relied on a crappy hotel map I picked up before heading out.

Starting from the steps of the U.S. Capitol, go…

Part of the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial by the Capitol Reflecting Pool

Part of the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial by the Capitol Reflecting Pool

The National Archives, home to the Charters of Freedom

The National Archives, home to the Charters of Freedom

The Washington Monument is the center point of the National Mall

The Washington Monument is the center point of the National Mall

The Washington Monument from the World War II Memorial

The Washington Monument from the World War II Memorial

Walking around the World War II Memorial

Walking around the World War II Memorial

The Washington Monument from the Declaration of Independence Memorial

The Washington Monument from the Declaration of Independence Memorial

The Women's Vietnam Memorial

The Women’s Vietnam Memorial

The Vietnam Memorial's Faces of Honor

The Vietnam Memorial’s Faces of Honor

The Vietnam Memorial Wall

The Vietnam Memorial Wall

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial

Inside the Lincoln Memorial

Inside the Lincoln Memorial

The Korean War Memorial

The Korean War Memorial

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

A wall of Martin Luther King Jr.'s quotations encircles the memorial

A wall of Martin Luther King Jr.’s quotations runs the length of the memorial

Quotations and sculptures at the FDR Memorial mark significant periods in his presidency

Quotations and sculptures at the FDR Memorial mark significant periods in his presidency

One of many waterfalls and quotations throughout the FDR Memorial

One of many waterfalls and quotations throughout the FDR Memorial

A sculpture of the president at the FDR Memorial

A sculpture of the president at the FDR Memorial

The George Mason Memorial

The George Mason Memorial

The Washington Monument across the Tidal Basin from nearby the Jefferson Memorial

The Washington Monument across the Tidal Basin from nearby the Jefferson Memorial

Inside the Jefferson Memorial

Inside the Jefferson Memorial

The Washington Monument from the Jefferson Memorial

The Washington Monument from the Jefferson Memorial

After walking the length of the National Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, stopping to see the various memorials and monuments, go south to the Korean War Memorial, across the street to the MLK Memorial, and then around the Tidal Basin to the FDR, George Mason, and Jefferson Memorials as I detail above. Follow the path around north and go to and beyond the Washington Monument, ultimately ending the night at the White House. It’s possible to spur off the trail at the Washington Monument and see the White House first, but why not save one of the most famous residences in the world for the crescendo? In essence, when you’ve finished the path, you’ll have taken a lovely stroll of several miles in the shape of a giant “4.”

The White House

The White House

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18 Comments on “The National Mall at Night: A Photo Essay”

  1. The Guy January 7, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Some amazing photos there. So great to see them at night time, clear and uncrowded. I was there last year during the day and it was almost impossible to get a photo of anything without crowds in the way.

    The Korean memorial will always stick in my memory, it was very striking and effective.

    • Jason's Travels January 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks so much. And yes, the bonus of coming in January is the lack of crowds. Thankfully the weather is warm, too.

  2. RobRob January 7, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    Great piece! I love the Mall at night – As stunning as it is in the day, it’s just as magical in the dark, and some of my favorite DC photos I’ve taken “after hours.” Thanks for sharing!

    • Jason's Travels January 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks! And it’s a close call, but I think the Mall might be even more moving and powerful at night with all of the dramatic lighting.

  3. Laurel Avery January 9, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    The population of American elm trees planted on the Mall and its surrounding areas in accordance with the McMillan Plan has remained intact for the past 70 years because of disease management and immediate tree replacement. Dutch elm disease (DED) first appeared on the Mall during the 1950s and reached a peak in the 1970s. The NPS has used a number of methods to control this fungal epidemic, including sanitation , pruning , injecting trees with fungicide , replanting with DED-resistant American elm cultivars and combatting the disease’s local insect vector , the smaller European elm bark beetle ( Scolytus multistriatus), by trapping and by spraying with insecticides . Soil compaction and root damage by crowds and construction projects also adversely affect the elms.

  4. Tary Aunel January 23, 2013 at 2:44 am #

    Amazing photos. These places are great when they are not overcrowded with tourists.

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