For someone who is an avid runner or jogger living in Washington, D.C., or a visitor looking to get some exercise and sightsee at the same time, the United State’s capital has some great running options. Here’s a classic route that is approximately six miles long and will allow a runner to see a variety of D.C. landmarks.
Start on Capitol Hill
The route starts on Capitol Hill at the corner of 2nd and East Capitol Streets N.E., where runners will get a great view of the U.S. Capitol dome, the majestic U.S. Supreme Court, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Run east on East Capitol Street (away from the Capitol Building), past beautiful old townhouses. Runners will come upon Lincoln Park at 11th Street. They should run around the perimeter of the park, but should be sure to take a quick rest to see the Emancipation Memorial and the statue dedicated to African-American civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune.
After making the loop around the park, runners should head back west toward the Capitol Building on Massachusetts Avenue N.E. When they get to Stanton Park at 6th Street N.E., they should take a quick look at the townhouse at 227 6th Street. President Barack Obama rented an apartment here when he served in the Senate. They should then cross the street and run around the perimeter of the park, and admire the statue of Revolutionary War Major General Nathanael Greene in the middle of this urban green space.
When runners get to the other side of the park on 4th Street, they should head down Maryland Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol. They should run two blocks and make a right onto Constitution Avenue. As they head down Constitution, they’ll pass the U.S. Capitol on their left and the Senate office buildings on their right. Depending on the time of day, if they’re lucky, they might see a Senator or two walking to the Capitol for a vote.
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Past the White House
Runners should head down the hill and make a slight right onto America’s main street, Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., where many a presidential inaugural parade has been held. They should run for about nine blocks, taking notice of the FBI headquarters and the historic Willard Hotel. They should then make a right onto 15th Street, go about three blocks, and make a left onto Pennsylvania Avenue. This section of the street is pedestrian only, and will take you right past the White House.
Through Constitution Gardens
Runners should make a left on 17th Street N.W., and run down the street for about six blocks until they reach Constitution Avenue. They should cross Constitution and turn right, and then eventually make their way into Constitution Gardens Park on their left. Following the pathways, they should make their way past the somber Vietnam Veterans Memorial and over to the Lincoln Memorial. All runners should take a breather and pay homage to our 16th President at this magnificent monument, but out of respect for this sacred place, everyone should walk up the steps quietly if they want a closer look. There is no running allowed.
Up the National Mall to the End
From the Lincoln Memorial, runners should run east alongside the Reflecting Pool. At the far end of the pool, they will pass the World War II Memorial. After crossing the street onto the grounds of the Washington Monument, they should continue on, crossing 15th and then 14th Streets to get onto the National Mall. They should run the length of the Mall, passing the iconic Smithsonian Castle and other Smithsonian museums.
Runners should keep going toward the U.S. Capitol. At this point they should gather what energy they have left to run up Capitol Hill, past the chambers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. When they get to the top, they’ve earned the right to walk the rest of the way across the grounds and onto East Capitol Street, where one more block will take them back to the place they started.