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How To Navigate the DC Mall on Foot - An Easy Primer That You Should Memorize

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1 hour ago, DonRocks said:

You know, I was driving down 14th Street NW today, at the Mall between Madison and Jefferson Drive, and it's almost funny how many food trucks there are on that block. I wonder if people know that these trucks are largely coming in from the suburbs and exurbs, often from restaurants that nobody of culinary conscience would frequent - I mean, these are God-awful restaurants, but their food trucks have names like "Bombay Delight!" with subtitles like "Arabic skewer meats and veggies" (that's a fictional example, but it's one of dozens-upon-dozens). Someone (me?) should walk up-and-down that block, take pictures of each truck, and post them here - it would make for a pretty funny post.

Yes, they're better than the dreaded hot-dog carts, but in cases, only marginally better. But you know what? It would be of value to ferret out the quality operators from the dreck that most of them almost surely are.

Of importance to tourists:

Many people know that Consitution Avenue runs east-west on the north side of the Mall, and Independence Avenue runs east-west on the south side of the Mall.

But just south of Constitution Avenue runs Madison Drive, and just north of Independence Avenue runs Jefferson Drive. Witness:

Screenshot 2019-06-16 at 01.02.14.png

This is the rectangle delineated by:

3rd St NW on the east side
15th St NW on the west side

Constitution Ave NW on the north side
Independence Ave NW on the south side

Many locals know this, but very few people know *this*, and it's absolutely essential for tourists to memorize:

Running parallel on the south side of Constitution Ave is Madison Drive (one-way, east-to-west)
Running parallel on the north side of Independence Ave is Jefferson Drive (one-way, west-to-east)

You can see this clearly on the map, but how on earth do you memorize the street names?


Madison hugs Constitution, and James Madison largely wrote the Constitution
Between Constitution and Madison, running east-to-west, are:
 * National Gallery of Art, East Building
 * National Gallery of Art, West Building
 * National Gallery of Art, Sculpture Garden
 * Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
 * Smithsonian National Museum of American History
 * Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History 

(The Washington Monument is just west of this point.)

Jefferson hugs Independence, and Thomas Jefferson largely wrote the Declaration of Independence
Between Independence and Jefferson, running west-to-east, are:
 * U.S. Department of Agriculture (not a tourist attraction)
 * Smithsonian Metro Station
 * Freer Gallery of Art
 * Smithsonian Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Asian Art
 * Smithsonian S. Dillon Ripley Center (not a tourist attraction)
 * Smithsonian Castle (only a minor tourist attraction, but a nice building from the outside)
 * Enid A. Haupt Garden (an absolutely lovely place to sit for a rest)
 * Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
 * Arts and Industries Building (not a tourist attraction) 
 * Hirshhorn Museum of Art
 * Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
 * Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Do this tour, and you'll have pretty-much done the Mall.

If you still have trouble, just think top-to-bottom, and think of Michael Jordan (Madison / Jefferson).

For tourists walking the mall, the streets from 3rd St NW to 15th St NW go *up* in numbers as you're walking east-to-west.

You've got this down now. Write me if you need more information.



PS - If you're on foot (which you should be), stay on Madison and Jefferson, and *do not walk on Constitution and Independence* - there's absolutely no need to do so, as the entrances to all the attractions are in the middle of the Mall.

There are other things nearby you can see, such as the Archives, the Capitol, and if you're really ambitious, the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, the White House, the Einstein Memorial, etc., but this rectangle will keep you busy for two full days, I promise you.

Need food? Eat at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History (trust me, and get tickets in advance for reservations in order to get into this museum).

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