Points Of Interest

Point #1
Welcome

1695 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20418, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Welcome

You made it! Great job. We need to walk up the path that is on the right hand side of West Basin Drive. Get going!

Point #2
Directions

262 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

We are going to walk alongside West Basin Drive for a little bit. This is West Potomac Park, by the way. On any given day during good weather you will see hundreds of people here playing frisbee or baseball or having a picnic and just relaxing. How are the cherry blossoms looking today? Did you ever wonder how all of the cherry trees got to Washington, DC? Well, in 1910 a Japanese mayor sent 2,000 trees to the United States. Unfortunately they were diseased and filled with insects so US President William Taft had a huge bonfire with them. The Japanese felt badly about it and sent another 3,000 healthy trees which were planted all around DC. The trees bloom for around 2 weeks, depending on the weather, typically around the beginning of April. Peak bloom lasts four to seven days.

Point #3
Directions

1850 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

By the way, if you need a restroom, turn right here and you will get to one. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is over there as well, and I promise to take you over there after we see a few other things first. If you need a bathroom break now, make sure you come back to this spot and continue following the trail.

Point #4
Directions

262 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

We are headed toward one of my favorite memorials. It’s time to take the path to the right.

Point #5
Directions

262 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

We are almost to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Follow the path to the left and meet me by two huge granite slabs.

Point #6
Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

127 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20418, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Memorial
https://www.nps.gov/mlkm/learn/building-the-memorial.htm

These huge slabs of granite symbolize the “mountain of despair.” You’ve probably already noticed the 30 ft tall sculpture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This statue is named the “Stone of Hope.” So how does this group of statues go together? Well, there is a line from Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech that says “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” That quote was the inspiration for this memorial. Dr. Martin Luther King played a huge role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent resistance to racial inequality. Interesting fact here - this statue of Dr. Martin Luther King was created to make it look as if he is gazing across the Tidal Basin toward the horizon. Every year the cherry trees here will bloom during the anniversary of his death. When you are done appreciating the beauty here, please walk down to the water

Point #7
Tidal Basin

262 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Tidal basin
https://www.nps.gov/articles/dctidalbasin.htm

From this viewpoint you can look out over the Tidal Basin and see the Thomas Jefferson Memorial directly ahead and the Washington Monument off to the left. We are going to visit both of them! For now though, go ahead and turn right and follow the path. By the way, that body of water that we have been calling the Tidal Basin, is a man-made reservoir that releases 250 million gallons of water collected at high tide, twice a day. We will talk a little more about it later. How about these views, right? Make sure to get lots of pictures.

Point #8
Directions

262 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

I have some more interesting facts for you about the Tidal Basin if you are interested. It covers about 107 acres and is right around 10 feet deep. The water from the Tidal basin is used to regulate the water levels in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

Point #9
Directions

1850 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

How are the blossoms looking? Did we hit peak bloom with our timing? “Peak bloom” is defined as 70% or more of the cherry blossoms in full bloom. What do you think? Hey, do you wanna go see my favorite memorial? Yes? Awesome. We are almost there.

Point #10
Directions

1850 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Please turn right so I can take you to see my favorite memorial. By the way, if anyone needs a restroom again, there’s one in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Bookstore which will be a grey building off to your right. You may want to grab some information there about the FDR memorial if you really want to get all the details.

Point #11
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

1850 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Memorial
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Delano_Roosevelt_Memorial

Ok, here we are in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Yes I said “in” the memorial. This memorial is so huge that it feels like you are in it, not looking at it. It covers 7.5 acres and takes you through the history of the United States. Well, 12 years of history anyway. 12 years is how long FDR was in office. The memorial breaks it down into four outdoor rooms. There’s a lot to see here so I’m gonna turn you loose to explore. Just continue to make your way heading east, or away from the bookstore.

Point #12
FDR and Fala Statue

1850 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Statue
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fala_(dog)

Ok, I told you that this is one of my favorite memorials, right? Within this memorial is one of my favorite statues. It’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his dog Fala. Go take a picture of you and Fala, post it on social media and tag UCPlaces!! Now go ahead and follow the path around to the left. Don’t forget to enjoy the cherry blossoms as you walk!

Point #13
Japanese Pagoda

Japanese Pagoda, 1850 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Statue
https://dcphotoguide.com/japanese-pagoda-tidal-basin/

As you keep following the trail, look off to your left for what’s known as the Japanese Pagoda. It’s a stone statue with a bunch of platform squares that get smaller as the statue gets taller. This was a present from the mayor of Yokohama, Japan in 1957. The thing that I really love about this gift from Japan is that it was sent in five different crates, completely disassembled and with absolutely no instructions on how to build it. It took specialists from the Smithsonian Institute to figure out how to put it together. Good stuff. Take the trail to the left and let’s get back down next to the Tidal Basin and turn right.

Point #14
Directions

Japanese Pagoda, 1850 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Don’t forget to turn right here. I’m gonna be nice and quiet for a while so you can enjoy a peaceful walk. I’ll meet you by the Ohio Drive Bridge. Just keep following this trail and you will get there.

Point #15
Directions

24 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Ok, I’m back, and wow did I miss you! How was your peaceful walk? And did you take lots of pictures? I’ve got a great spot for picture-taking coming up. Please take the trail to the right. The trail has handrails on both sides and will take you up to the Ohio Drive Bridge.

Point #16
Inlet Bridge

1420 Ohio Dr SW, Washington, DC 20418, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Inlet Bridge
https://www.loc.gov/resource/hhh.dc0621.sheet/?sp=1

Turn left here and I’ll take you across a pretty cool and historic bridge. Remember when I told you that the Tidal Basin is a man-made reservoir that releases 250 million gallons of water collected at high tide, twice a day? How do you think that water gets in and out of the Tidal Basin? Well you are about to walk right over the inlet bridge, or Ohio Drive Bridge and later we will walk across the outlet bridge. This bridge has gargoyles and balustrades but they just look cool. It’s the gates underneath that open and close depending on the pressure of the tide that take in the water when needed. The US Corps of Engineers figured out that was needed way back in 1881 when a huge flood covered most of the national mall. I’m glad they got that figured out, aren’t you? Take some pictures and meet me on the other side of the bridge.

Point #17
Directions

24 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

You made it across! Great job. Now keep following the trail. Stay to the left as the trail splits. We want to stay along the Tidal Basin shore so we can appreciate the beauty of the water and the blossoms.

Point #18
Washington Monument

East Basin Drive SW at Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Washington Monument
https://www.nps.gov/wamo/index.htm

In case you were wondering, I’m taking you to see the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Keep following the path. As we walk though, take a look across the water. You might already know this, but the super tall pointy building you see on the other side of the Tidal Basin is the Washington Monument. It was constructed in honor of the first President of the United States, George Washington, obviously. It’s made of three different kinds of granite and sandstone and there’s actually no cement holding the bricks together. The first elevator ride to the top took a long 20 minutes. Also, rumor has it that back in those days people thought that the elevator was too unsafe for women and children, so only men were allowed in.

Point #19
Directions

16 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Keep following the path nearest the Tidal Basin. Follow the stairs there on the path and I’ll meet you just past them.

Point #20
Thomas Jefferson Memorial

16 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Memorial
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Memorial

Here is the beautiful Thomas Jefferson Memorial. I’m going to tell you a little about it, turn you loose to explore, and then meet you at the path that is straight ahead. If you were to stay on this path as it follows the curve of the Tidal Basin, it will get you there. So the cornerstone of this memorial was actually laid by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Remember we walked through that memorial a little while ago? Yeah, that guy laid the cornerstone here. The monument is made of marble steps, columns and a dome. Inside the structure is a 19 foot, 10,000 pound bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson. There are also excerpts from the Declaration of Independence. Run inside and check it out if you want. Then maybe take a seat on the steps and take in all the breathtaking views of the Tidal Basin and cherry blossoms. Don’t forget to take pictures! Then please meet me on the path. Follow your navigation for help.

Point #21
Directions

16 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Did you get enough pictures? Good. By the way, did you know that the area where the Thomas Jefferson memorial sits was actually made from dredging the Potomac River and piling up the sludge to form a mound. Sounds kinda gross. Anyway, keep following the trail to the east.

Point #22
Bathing Beach

1 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Beach
https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/08/26/once-upon-a-time-the-tidal-basin-was-a-swimming-beach/

So here’s a little bit of trivia for ya. This area here used to be a “whites only” beach complete with a diving platform and a cabana. The beach closed in 1925.

Point #23
Indicator Tree

1 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Tree
https://cherryblossomwatch.com/indicator-tree/

There is a special tree here. It grows almost inside of a large holly tree. There is a numbered post that should help you find it. This special tree is known as the “indicator tree” because it blooms just about a week earlier than most of the cherry trees in DC. When this tree starts blooming, we know that the big cherry blossom season is just a few days away. Interestingly enough, no one knows who planted this tree or when it was planted or even what kind of cherry tree it is but it sure is an important one. Keep walking until you get to the road.

Point #24
Outlet Bridge

Ohio Dr SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Bridge
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tidal_Basin_Outlet_Bridge_2015.JPG

Go ahead and turn left here and let’s cross over the bridge. Remember the 250 million gallons of water that flow in and out of the Tidal Basin? So this is the outlet bridge. The Tidal Basin empties extra water into the Washington Channel right under this bridge. Don’t forget to enjoy the view as you walk across!

Point #25
Directions

Ohio Dr SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Great job crossing the bridge. Let’s get back down to the water. Take the path to the left.

Point #26
Directions

559 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

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  • Attraction : Directions

Are there any paddle boats on the water today? How many? Keep following the path along the Tidal Basin. Isn’t it just so beautiful?

Point #27
Tidal Basin Paddle Boats

1500 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Boats
https://boatingindc.com/boathouses/tidal-basin/

Are you jealous of the people out on the pedal boats enjoying the gorgeous views? Don’t be. You can go rent one right here! They have both two passenger and four passenger pedal boats, plus their motorized swan boats for those who don’t wanna pedal. Go try it out if you want to and then get back on the trail and keep walking the direction we are walking now.

Point #28
Directions

1540 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

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  • Attraction : Directions

Did you try out the boats? If not, just remember you can come back later. There’s a parking lot to your right for easier access. Keep walking.

Point #29
Floral Park/Yoshino Cherry Trees

1540 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Park/Trees
https://www.gardenia.net/plant-variety/prunus-yedoensis-yoshino-cherry-tree

So if you look away from the Tidal Basin and across the parking lot, you will see what’s known as the Floral Park. The trees in Floral Park are mostly Yoshino Cherry Trees. Yoshinos have single white flower blossoms that make the entire Tidal Basin look like it is being hugged by soft, fluffy clouds. There are over 2500 Yoshino Cherry Trees on the Washington Monument Grounds and East Potomac Park. The Yoshino is a hybrid cherry tree that first made its appearance in Tokyo in 1872. Interestingly enough, no one knows what the parent trees were that were used to create the Yoshino hybrid. Oh well. If you feel like crossing the parking lot to get a closer look, go for it. Just make sure you come back here to the path and keep following it to the north.

Point #30
Directions

9810 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

What did you think of the Floral Park? Did you go check it out? Did you skip it altogether? Whatever you want - This is YOUR tour. Keep walking north along the trail. We are going to follow it all the way up to Independence Avenue.

Point #31
Floral Library

9810 Kutz Bridge, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Flower garden
https://cherryblossomwatch.com/floral-library/

Please keep walking straight ahead on this main path. In case you thought that cherry trees were the only thing blooming right now, check out the Floral Library that is across the parking lot again to your right. This was Lady Bird Johnson’s idea as part of the Capital Beautification Project of 1969. This library doesn’t have books, but instead has 93 flower beds. Every year the National Park Service is in charge of planting 10,000 tulip bulbs. But you won’t just find tulips here. There are also multiple varieties of annuals such as daffodils and hyacinth. If you want to visit these flowers up close and personal, go right ahead! Just meet me at the end of this path when you are done, right at Independence Avenue, just before the bridge.

Point #32
Kutz Memorial Bridge

9810 Kutz Bridge, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Bridge
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kutz_Memorial_Bridge

Let’s turn left and cross over Kutz Memorial Bridge. It is named in honor of Charles W. Kutz. He is known for writing Washington DC’s first zoning law. That seems kind of lame, I know. But he also managed the building of 15 different bridges in DC. I’d say that’s pretty cool. Speaking of bridges… Did you know that UCPlaces has a driving tour that takes you across the major bridges in Arlington County and DC? It’s a pretty great tour full of fun facts and beautiful views all from the comfort of your own car. It’s called “Bridges of Arlington County and Washington DC” and it’s not one to be missed. Join me on that tour later, ok? Promise? Good. Now make sure you get lots of pictures from THIS bridge and I’ll meet you on the other side.

Point #33
Directions

9810 Kutz Bridge, Washington, DC 20024, USA

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  • Attraction : Directions

Did you get some good pictures? Hope so! We are heading to the last stop of this tour, which will be the Japanese Lantern statue. Turn left, and then take your first right.

Point #34
Japanese Lantern

9810 Kutz Bridge, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Statue
https://www.nps.gov/subjects/cherryblossom/japanese-stone-lantern.htm

Can you see it? The big stone lantern. It's Called the Japanese Lantern and it was a gift from Japan to the United States back in 1954. Yup, an 8 foot tall, 4,000 pound gift that is older than the United States itself. It was given as a gift representing everlasting peace and friendship. I think that’s a pretty great way to end this tour - with peace and friendship. I hope you learned a thing or two and enjoyed some beautiful views. I know I really enjoyed my time with you. Remember there are many more UCPlaces tours that you can take right here in Washington DC. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Until then, so long and happy touring!