USA Today has asked me to be the DC contributor to its upcoming "Best Drives in the USA" series. Restricted to the confines of the nation's capital, my selection of scenic drives was fairly limited. Here's what I have come up with. If you have other ideas, please let me know.
The best drive in the nation's capital is relatively short, only about five miles, and can be done by car or by bike. Either way, you'll need headlights, as this is a nighttime jaunt.
Seeing Washington's shining icons lit up against a dark sky is a reminder of the Founding Fathers' visions for this country. Wait until sundown and then wander over to the base of Memorial Bridge, just behind the Lincoln Memorial. Drive past Abe and then veer right and north. On your right, you'll get a glimpse of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial looming over the shimmering waters of the Tidal Basin. As you drive up Independence and jog over to Jefferson Drive, the Capitol will rise before you. Once you approach the Capitol, drive behind and around or right in front via 3rd Street. Next, circle back on Madison Drive, which takes you past the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Museums of Natural History and American History. As you pass the museums, make sure to look ahead, as you'll get a full frontal view of the Washington Monument. Then swing over to Constitution to get a profile of the imposing obelisk and a glimpse (on your right) of the White House. Finish up by driving back to the Lincoln Memorial. Emancipate yourself of your vehicle and pay your respects to Abe. Then, sit on his steps and survey the entire Mall from his illustrious vantage point.
Image courtesy of Destination DC