Interesting facts about the National Mall

national mall

The National Mall is an open park in downtown Washington, D.C.

It is located between the United States Capitol and the Washington Monument, which are about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) apart.

The National Mall is the focal point of some of the United States‘ most famous landmarks, monuments, and memorials.

Some of mall’s numerous institutions are: the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Freer Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution headquarters, the National Air and Space Museum, the Arts and Industries Building, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardenthe Washington Monument, the Sylvan Theater, a portion of the Tidal Basin, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, and the Lincoln Memorial.


There are also 15 softball fields, eight volleyball courts, two rugby fields, two multi-purpose fields, and the Washington Monument grounds for a variety of different recreation activities.

Pierre L’Enfant, the man who planned Washington D.C., wanted to have a park in the middle of the city. However, the National Mall was not always a park.

In the 19th century, there was a railroad that ran through the Mall.

Cows also grazed (ate grass) on the Mall.

There was a large market on one side of the Mall.

During the American Civil War, there were many buildings on the Mall.

There were even slaughterhouses on the Mall – places where animals are killed and turned into meat.

In 1901, the Senate passed the McMillan Plan. This cleaned up the National Mall and moved the railroad to Union Station.

national mall history

The National Mall has more than 42 kilometers (26 miles) of pedestrian sidewalks and 13 kilometers (8 miles) of bike trails.

9 tonnes (10 US tons) of grass seed and nearly 2,750 meters (3,000 yards) of sod and turf are installed and planted on over 120 hectare (300 acres) on the National Mall.

The National Mall has over 9,000 trees. Most of them are elm and cherry trees. The cherry blossom trees were given to the United States by Japan in 1912.

A number of large free events recur annually on the Mall. A kite festival, formerly named the “Smithsonian Kite Festival” and now named the “Blossom Kite Festival”, usually takes place each year on the Washington Monument grounds during the last weekend of March as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

blossom kite festival

Other large events that happen each year are the National Book Festival, an Earth Day festival, and parades on Veteran’s Day and Independence Day.

The National Mall’s status as a wide, open expanse at the heart of the capital makes it an attractive site for protests and rallies of all types. One notable example is the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a political rally during the Civil Rights Movement, at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his speech “I Have a Dream.”

The National Symphony Orchestra presents each year its National Memorial Day Concert on the west lawn of the United States Capitol during the evening of the Sunday before Memorial Day (the last Monday of May).

The park receives approximately 24 million visitors each year.

Three to 3.5 tonnes (4 US tons) of trash are collected and removed from the National Mall each day.