- Type: Biking
NileGuide Expert Says:
One of the best ways to see all of the monuments, this tour is a must for those who have limited time in DC and enjoy biking.
NileGuide Expert tip:
Downtown DC gets crowded - and extremely hot - in the summer. Make sure you prepare accordingly!
- Depart Thompson's Boat House heading south toward the Kennedy Center, past several volleyball courts and through two small underpasses. Turn right continuing on the bike path to Ohio Drive passing the John Ericsson Monument and views of the Lincoln Memorial. Continue along the Potomac paralleling Ohio Drive. Notice the famous Tidal Basin beyond the polo fields on your left. At the northwest corner of the Basin, along the famous Cherry Tree Walk, one of D.C.'s newest monuments pays tribute to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his times. Twelve years of American history are traced through a sequence of four outdoor gardens, each devoted to one of FDR's four terms in office. Sculpture inspired by photographs depict the 32nd President. A 10-foot statue shows him in a wheeled chair; a bas-relief depicts him riding in a car during his first inaugural. Just ahead lies the ornate 1909 Bridge. Cross the bridge and turn right, remaining on Ohio Drive. Pass under four bridges reaching the beginning of a 3-mile loop around East Potomac Park. This is a very popular recreation area highlighting botanical bounty and featuring one 18-hole and two 9-hole golf courses, a pro shop, driving range, putting green, lessons, miniature golf course, and snack bar. There is even an Olympic-sized pool at the park and numerous picnic tables. After soaking up the sights including Fort McNair and Hains Point return to the beginning of the 3-mile loop but do not cross the 1909 Bridge. Instead, head right to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. This circular, colonnaded structure in the classic style introduced in this country by Jefferson, memorializing the author of the Declaration of Independence and President from 1801 to 1809. Incidentally, one of the best times to enjoy this bike route is during the month of April when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, however, the streets are crowded with tourists especially during the Cherry Blossom Festival. This is a time each year when the gift of 3,000 cherry trees by the city of Tokyo to the people of Washington, DC in 1912 is celebrated. From the Jefferson Memorial parking area, look for the bike path leading over the Fourteenth Street Bridge. This foot and bike path is a relief from heavy vehicular traffic. You'll want to pause to enjoy the panoramic view of the area. With or without camera, majestic memories are created. Upon reaching the other side of the bridge, bear right onto the Mount Vernon Trail making an immediate left at a T trail intersection. Continue along the Mount Vernon Trail paralleling the Potomac. You'll pass the Navy and Marine Memorial and also Lady Bird Johnson Park. The memorial park consists of two parts. The first area, commemorative in nature, is a granite monolith surrounded by a serpentine pattern of walks and trails. The second area is a grass meadow and provides a tranquil refuge for reflection and rejuvenation of the spirit. The trails are shaded by a grove of hundreds of white pine and dogwood trees, and framed by azaleas and rhododendron. After a lingering visit, proceed toward the Arlington Memorial Bridge, a symbolic bridge built linking the Arlington House and the Lincoln Memorial. It was meant to reunite the North with the South after the Civil War. Bear left to reach Arlington Cemetery crossing three crosswalks. From here, hop on the sidewalk passing two memorials, one to the veterans of the Spanish-American War and the other to the Seabees. Arlington Cemetery features a visitor center with restrooms and drinking water. After exploring Arlington Cemetery, once again cross the three crosswalks to reach the sidewalk. As you approach the other side of the bridge, you can't miss the two fabulous statues symbolizing Valor and Sacrifice. From here, bear right crossing a significant amount of fast-moving traffic. This can be really tricky and unfortunately, few drivers are willing to yield to pedestrians or bicyclists. Once you reach the Lincoln Memorial and catch your breath, enjoy the grounds and the outstanding architecture of the memorial. It is based after a Greek temple bearing 36 Doric columns, one for each state at the time of Lincoln's death. A sculpture by Daniel Chester French of a seated Lincoln is in the center of the memorial chamber. The Gettysburg Address is inscribed on the south wall of the monument. Above it is a mural painted by Jules Guerin depicting the angel of truth freeing a slave. Guerin also painted the unity of North and South mural on the north wall.
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