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East Capitol Clockwise: Fountains and Gardens

Say, the rain has cleared off Sunday's weather forecast, so let's enjoy a walk through the east end of the National Mall and Capitol Grounds!

The route: Starting from Columbus Circle in front of Union Station, we'll walk south past the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain into Senate Park, where we'll pass the Senate Garage Fountain to arrive at the Summer House, a small brick rest stop built on the Capitol West Front Lawn during 1879-1881. Turning east to skirt the north face of the Capitol Building, we'll make a brief visit to the steps of the Supreme Court before continuing south, past the Court of Neptune Fountain and west into Bartholdi Park to see Bartholdi Fountain and enjoy the surrounding gardens.

Leaving the Bartholdi Park, we’ll cross Independence Ave into the gardens west of the US Botanic Gardens, and then walk west along Jefferson Drive to the grounds of the Smithsonian Institution Building. After walking through Mary Livingston Ripley and Enid Haupt Gardens, we'll pause for a pit stop before continuing north across the Capitol Mall, through the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden, to the fountain at the U.S. Navy Memorial. Turning back southeast, we'll walk along Philadelphia Ave towards the Capitol Building, turning south to visit the Gallery of Art's east face fountain, and turn west through the National Mall to enjoy the Capitol Reflecting Pool and the Peace Monument at Pennsylvania and 1st Street NW. From there we’ll walk north to visit the Japanese-American Memorial and return northeast along Louisiana Avenue NW to our start point at Columbus Circle.

Total walk distance is almost 5 miles of smiles. It’s an easy walk and the surface is mostly paved, with steps here and there. Because of all the wonderful sites, we’ll do a moderate pace at best, and the walk should take at least two hours.

Google map:

How to get there: Metro is recommended, but if you must drive, the street address is Columbus Circle NE, Washington DC 20002. Your best bet for parking is probably parallel parking to the east of Union Station, in the area bounded by 2nd and 7th Streets NE (east/west) and D and G Streets NE (north/south).

What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired (leashes, please). The forecast is mostly sunny and a high of 84 degrees, so sunscreen and cool sunglasses are a good idea. A camera is a handy accessory.

Administrative stuff: There are restrooms and drinking fountains at the Botanic Gardens, the Smithsonian Institution Building, and Union Station. The Smithsonian Building also has a snack bar. As a reminder, this is a kids-free zone, no one under 18 years of age is permitted.

After the hike: There is an extensive food court at Union Station for anyone who would enjoy lunch.


• Bartholdi Fountain:
• Christopher Columbus Fountain:
• Enid Haupt Garden:
• Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden:
• Japanese-American Memorial:
• Neptune Fountain:
• Peace Monument:
• Ripley Garden:
• Senate Garage Fountain:
• The Summer House:
• US Botanic Garden:
• US Navy Memorial:

Join or login to comment.

  • Tracy

    Angelica, sorry I followed the wrong car and waited her for 15 mins. I am leaving now.

    May 17, 2014

  • Kerrie C.

    nice group of people - good exercise, good pace, interesting sites.

    May 12, 2014

  • Kerrie C.

    Thank you John for a great day! Its so cool to learn the city with nice, fun people!

    May 12, 2014

  • Selden

    Beautiful day, beautiful people.. I had a great time. Thank you John, and thank you everyone else :-)

    1 · May 12, 2014

  • Martin B.

    Very enjoyable

    1 · May 12, 2014

  • Jim

    Thanks for leading another five-star tromp around the Capitol, John. Perfect weather & rattlin' good conversation with a bunch of fine folks made for an ideal morn.

    1 · May 11, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Terrific, everyone was so friendly. Interesting area. I already want to go back. Great choice John.

    1 · May 11, 2014

  • Cindy

    John, thank you for taking us on a fun hike around DC to see the fountains. Beautiful flowers, pretty day, had a great time.

    1 · May 11, 2014

  • Louise

    The best!

    1 · May 11, 2014

  • John M

    Beautiful day with my favorite friends! Thanks!!

    May 11, 2014

  • lynn m.

    looks like i am unable to join. Enjoy!

    May 11, 2014

  • Kris L.

    Will be hiking with my grand kids in Ohio. Have fun.

    May 10, 2014

  • ML M.

    Sorry, needed to change plans. For those going on the Saturday hike, I will see you then.

    May 9, 2014

  • Christine

    Looks like a very "photo-rific" walk - to borrow your word.

    1 · May 7, 2014

  • Shela C. T.

    John, This is a great walk. Sorry I'll be out of town. Please do it again while it's still cooler.

    1 · May 7, 2014

  • Margie

    I'll be out of town for the pleasant temperatures and return when it's scorching hot.

    1 · May 7, 2014

  • Louise

    My favorite...thank you, thank you, thank you!

    1 · May 7, 2014

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