Architecture of the National Mall Audio Guide

Uncover the meaning behind some of the most iconic structures in D.C.
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1 at US$20
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Audio Guide Details
1 hour 30 minutes
Product Type
Audio Guide
  • World War II Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • Smithsonian Castle
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Lincoln Memorial
Preview Architecture of the National Mall Audio Guide
Discover the origins of the Smithsonian Castle and Museums
Explore the views and dive into the history of the Washington Monument
Uncover the reasoning for the National Mall's design
Photos & Highlights
Audio Guide Description
Washington DC's National Mall is filled with iconic monuments that celebrate the history of the city, and the country at large. On this walking tour with Kristen Weller, an architect and Context Travel expert, you'll explore these premier public gardens and gain insights into the memorials' meanings and history.

As you make your way from Union Square, the tour's starting point, to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial where it ends, you'll learn how the space has changed over the years, and the key figured who influenced it. You'll hear how the park’s design mimics the Garden of Versailles in France, and how it was commissioned to be a 'stage for American democracy'.  

On this self-paced stroll, you'll see structures old and new alike from the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian Castle to the MLK Jr Memorial and everything in between. You'll be urged to reflect on how the city's layout and the design of the National Mall was mimicked after the seat of a monarch to be the stage for a democracy and whether it was done so effectively. You'll also have a chance to admire the Lincoln Memorial, which was previously part of the Tidal Basin and later filled in!

On this 90-minute walk around the National Mall, you'll:

• Take in views of the Capitol Building and its stunning dome structure
• Hear how Joseph H Hirshhorn opened the Hirshhorn Museum to share his art collection with the people of the United States
• Find out how the White House and Capitol Building both burned in the War of 1812, leaving the Dome of the Capitol incomplete until after the Civil War
• Learn about James Smithson, the British chemist and mineralogist who was the founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution, and his quest to encourage the sharing of knowledge
• Take in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, where lighting played an important role in the design of the building, which can be visited during the day or at night
• Dive into the controversies surrounding the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Memorial
• Find out how lawmakers in DC decided to enact the Height Act to preserve and protect their federal city
• Take in the World War II Memorial and learn how Congress expedited the process of erecting it so that vets would still be alive to see it

By the end of this tour, you'll have an understanding of the architecture and planning of the city and specifically, the National Mall. You’ll also have a deeper appreciation for the meaning behind some of its most iconic structures.

Although this tour has two small inclines, it is wheelchair accessible and can be experienced by travelers of all capabilities. There are three steps and uneven ground as you walk from the Reflecting Pool to Union Square but it is possible to go around these areas as indicated in the directions. The total distance of the audio guide tour is 3.20 miles.
Meet Your Expert

Kristen has lived in the Washington DC region for over a decade. She earned her master's of Architecture and master's of Science in Sustainable design from The Catholic University of America and is now a lecturer at the university. While pursuing her graduate degree, she worked as a teacher and director for Experiences in Architecture for high school students and teaching assistant for the woodshop. Kristen is a licensed architect and designer who works on a variety of different project types in the area. She consistently attends lectures and discussions revolving around the field of architecture within Washington DC to keep up with the current affairs and ideals. She has worked as an architectural designer for an adaptive reuse firm and is currently working at Gensler as a project architect, leading and supporting many teams with different project types. Kristen has studied across different countries such as Spain, France, and Ireland but always finds herself back near this city she loves. She has the ability to compare what she has seen, experienced, and learned and wants to use this knowledge to develop innovative solutions of her own in the built world and share this knowledge with others.

How do I access the audio guide and download it for offline use?
Once you complete your purchase, you will receive a voucher code for your Audio Guide. You must download the Voicemap app and enter the code. 
  1. Install VoiceMap from the Apple App Store or Google Play
  2. Create an account
  3. Select Tour Codes from the menu, then select Enter Codes
  4. Enter your Voucher Code
  5. Select Download Now
Is closed captioning (i.e. subtitles) available?
Yes! All of our audio guides have the option to turn on closed captioning should you have difficulty hearing the expert.

How long does each event last?
Our recorded audio guides typically run for 75 minutes.

How can I share this audio guide with friends or family?
You are welcome to listen together with friends or family, but each person listening to the guide on their own device will need to purchase the audio guide individually.

How long does my access to the audio guide last?
Once you purchase an audio guide, you are welcome to listen to it as many times as you would like. Your access to a purchased audio guide does not expire.

What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Sales for recorded audio guides are final upon purchase. Please contact us at if you have any questions or concerns about your purchase.

Can I purchase a gift card for a friend who is traveling?
Absolutely! Gift cards can be purchased here. Gift cards are good for 365 days from the date of purchase.

(5.0) 1 Review

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Compelling storytelling and excellent route to visit all the landmarks in DC.