Every year, millions of tourists flock to Washington D.C. to experience the history of our nation's capital. From the Smithsonian and White House, to the National Mall and Arlington Cemetery, there are plenty of great sites to keep visitors busy for days. I've been lucky to visit D.C. several times, and my favorite attraction is one that's overlooked by the overwhelming majority of sightseers.
|Honest Abe watching over the city...|
It is safe to say that the Lincoln Memorial will find itself at or near the top of every visitor's "things to do in Washington D.C." list. Most will climb the memorial's 58 steps, pause to take in the view of the reflecting pool and Washington Monument, snap a photo of the giant statue of the man who saved our Union, and then walk back down the steps, moving on to the next site. I also followed this routine the first couple times I visited the memorial, but a few years ago I discovered that the shrine to Honest Abe has a secret...
|The only side of the memorial most see...|
The interior of the Lincoln Memorial is inset by several feet on all four sides, creating a marble path all the way around the main level of this gorgeous structure. As I reached the top of the memorial's famous steps on a visit not long ago, I was struck with a curiosity to walk around this marble path. We reached the back side of the memorial, and there I found the most overlooked spot in Washington D.C.
|The path to my secret spot...|
In total contrast to the noisy, crowded front, there was not a soul to be found on the memorial's opposite side. We sat on the edge of the worn marble, and took in the view of the Potomac River and Arlington Cemetery. As the sun began to set, it was possible to see the eternal flame at President Kennedy's grave site flicker in the distance, and the aviation buff in me enjoyed watching the planes on approach to National Airport. I enjoyed this spot so much, we returned the next evening with a pair of hot dogs for dinner and soaked up some rare solitude at one of the most popular attractions in the country.
|Best spot in the city...|
I really hate to use the phrase "hidden gem," because I feel it gets thrown around way too much on outlets like this one, but in this case I think it's appropriate. So the next time you're in D.C., grab a hot dog, climb the steps, skip the statue, and enjoy the view. But let's keep this between us, shall we?
~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~