Around the Tidal Basin

Washington Travel Blog

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Tidal Basin Approach

With its cherry trees, placid river inlet, landscaping, and monuments, the area around the Tidal Basin has some of most beautiful scenery in Washington.

A foot pathway leads all around the Tidal Basin and following it is the best way to enjoy this area. Approaching from Independence Avenue through the trees, you will see the Jefferson Memorial across the Basin and a paddle boat rental dock in front of you at the path. Paddle boats can be rented there to venture out on the Tidal Basin itself. To the left, the footpath leads aound the Basin, over Outlet Bridge to the East Basin, and then to the Jefferson Memorial. All around are the Japanese cherry trees. The original trees were a gift from Japan in 1912.

Tidal Basin Path
Their descendants, and many of the original trees, now surround the Tidal Basin.

A visit to the Jefferson Memorial is a "must".  It's one of the most attractive monuments in Washington and I think it's my favorite. In the center of the memorial stands a bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the thrid President. Quotations from his writings surround the interior of the memorial designed by John Russel Pope and inspired by the Pantheon and by Jefferson's own design for the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. Displays on Jefferson and his times are underneath. Near the Jeffeson Memorial is a new memorial to Jefferson's friend and fellow Virginian, George Mason. Mason is famous for authoring the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the precursor to the Bill of Rights.

Jefferson Memorial
 A scuplture shows Mason in a pensive mood, surrounded by the various works of the Enlightenment that inspired him.

On past the George Mason Memorial the pathway leads across Inlet Bridge. A small stone Japanese pagoda compliments the cherry trees found all along the path. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial is in the vicinity. The Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Memorial commemorates the thrity-second President of the United Sates, who led the country during the Great Deprssion of the 1930s and World War II. The memorial is open and leads the a series of statues, sculptures, and quotations describes FDR and the New Deal and its programs, the war effort, and the foundation of the post-war world. A statue of Eleanor Roosevelt commemorates her role as an activist First Lady and her work with the United Nations.

Jefferson Memorial with Cherry Blossoms
 A controvesial statue depcits FDR in a wheelchair. Although he used one when in office, he was never photographed in his wheelchair.

Excellent views of the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument can be seen from this location on the Tidal Basin. Soon the path leads to West Potomac Park, a popular area for picnics and for office workers at lunchtime. At this point you are on the opposite side of the Tidal Basin from the Jefferson Memorial. A Japanese stone lantern stands in the park. It is also a gift from Japan, in 1954. The lantern is illuminated each year to mark the start of the Cherry Blossom Festival.

From West Potomac Park, the path leads over Kutz Bridge and along  Independence Avenue back towards the paddle boat area. Nearby, across Independence Avenure, is the World War II Memorial, opend in 2004. Two facing pavilions, or pylons, commemorate the Atlantic Theatre and the Pacific Theatre.  Quotations from prominent figures of the Allied nations are displayed throughout memorial. A separate section at the main entrance also commemorates the Home Front in a series of bas reliefs.

Petra2111 says:
Lovely pics!!
Posted on: Feb 06, 2009
B-Town says:
Cool Andy, I think I'm heading to Arlington, VA in Oct. '08 for a business conference and I may hike over to DC to check this place out. Although I'll miss those awesome cherry blossoms...
Posted on: Jul 28, 2008
ubirds says:
Bueatiful photos :)
Posted on: Feb 21, 2008
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Tidal Basin Approach
Tidal Basin Approach
Tidal Basin Path
Tidal Basin Path
Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial with Cherry Blo…
Jefferson Memorial with Cherry Bl…
Paddle Boat on the Tidal Basin
Paddle Boat on the Tidal Basin
East Basin
East Basin
Excerpts from the Declaration of I…
Excerpts from the Declaration of …
Statue of Thomas Jefferson in the …
Statue of Thomas Jefferson in the…
Mr Jeffersons statue
Mr Jefferson's statue
George Mason Memorial
George Mason Memorial
Meeting Mr. Mason
Meeting Mr. Mason
Monuments can be fun!
Monuments can be fun!
Washington Monument from Inlet Bri…
Washington Monument from Inlet Br…
Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial
Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial
Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt with his dog…
Franklin D. Roosevelt with his do…
Controversial statue
Controversial statue
A Japanese stone pagoda compliment…
A Japanese stone pagoda complimen…
Across the Tidal Basin from West P…
Across the Tidal Basin from West …
A Friday at West Potomac Park
A Friday at West Potomac Park
Japanese Stone Lantern
Japanese Stone Lantern
Kutz Bridge and West Potomac Park
Kutz Bridge and West Potomac Park
National World War II Memorial
National World War II Memorial
National World War II Memorial
National World War II Memorial
Washington Sights & Attractions review
The Jefferson Memorial
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, dedicated in 1940, honors Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of I… read entire review