National Treasures Running Edition: The Best Running Routes For Sightseeing In D.C.

By: Morgan Davies |

Our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., is home to some of the nation’s brightest jewels, from the Smithsonian museums to the many beautiful monuments and memorials along the National Mall. It’s not surprising the city also lays claim to a few of the most stunning running trails in the nation, both in and outside the heart of the district. Several of these routes allow for prime views of the landmarks that dot D.C., making them the perfect places to sightsee while getting in a workout. Here are our top three picks.

1. National Mall

running and walking trails span the washing monumentThe National Mall is certainly the most well-known spot for touring D.C.’s most notable and historic attractions, including the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, Smithsonian museums, and many other memorials. Running the Mall is practically a rite of passage for any resident and provides a breathtaking experience for tourists. It’s a great way to see a lot of important landmarks on one run. The only downside is that you might find yourself slowed down by the hundreds of bustling visitors who stroll through the Mall every day.

2. Mt. Vernon Trail

a woman jogging on a section of the mt. vernon trail in washington dcThe Mt. Vernon Trail is a resident favorite located across the river in Alexandria. The trail runs 18 miles along the Potomac and ends at George Washington’s former estate. Its location is a perfect balance of nature and national pride, allowing runners to enjoy the nearby forests, fields, and river while also providing a clear view of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Capitol Hill. Not to mention, if you manage to tackle the whole trail, you’ll be greeted at the end by the home of the first United States president.

3. Watergate Steps

the steps at the lincoln memorial are a great training spot for runnersSitting just behind the Lincoln Memorial and National Mall, the Watergate Steps are a great place to get up close and personal with D.C.’s landmarks while also enjoying the waterfront. Across the river from the Mt. Vernon Trail, the paths along the Watergate Steps allow for views on both sides. Not to mention, they offer a </span><a href=””><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>physical challenge</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> should you decide to try to run the steps themselves.

Honorable Mention: Embassy Row

running routes along embassy row in washington dc provide a good view of different nationsIt’s all in the name, as over a dozen embassies are located in this area of Georgetown. It’s a beautiful historic neighborhood with a very unique community of international diplomats.