The National Mall
It doesn’t get any more iconic than the National Mall. The four-mile loop between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial is lined with a treasure trove of landmarks: the Reflecting Pool, the World War II Memorial, the Washington Monument, the National Gallery of Art, all 34 Smithsonian Museums. Is it a little touristy? Well, yes, obviously; this is precisely what most of DC’s near-20 million annual visitors have come to see. But there’s nothing wrong with indulging your inner tourist; it’s easy to take the monuments and architecture for granted, so go for a run around the Mall and make the effort to look around a little. The route itself happens to be a good one, too. Along the Reflecting Pool’s sidewalks, shade comes from the canopy of sturdy trees, including a fair number of grand, old American elms. On the other side of the Washington Monument, extra-wide dirt paths allow for bikers, joggers, tourists, and the occasional member of Congress to coexist peacefully. Of course, if you want to avoid most of them altogether, get out there while the sun is just rising, and maybe tack on a White House jog-by while you’re at it. "It's best to do early in the morning while the city is still sleeping," Cardozo Crawler Caroline Mosley says of the route. "Running past the Washington Monument and around the White House so early in the morning gives you a rare glimpse of an eerily quiet DC."