Washington’s Hidden Monuments
D.C. is awash with lesser-known landmarks that are guaranteed to impress – and come with a fraction of the crowds.
Hidden near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the south-west corner of the National Academy of Sciences’ grounds, you’ll find a bronze monument paying tribute to the world’s most famous scientist: Albert Einstein. Ponder the theory of relativity (or just how small you are in comparison) as you climb the 12-foot statue and sit in Einstein’s lap for a wonderful photo-op while he holds some of his most famous mathematical equations in his left hand.
“The graceful stoicism of Aristide Maillol’s Nymph that so perfectly symbolizes the capitals’ serenity in contrast to the contemporary.”
Beyond the sweeping embassies and estates of Connecticut Avenue lies one of the most mysterious buildings on the East Coast: the Scottish Rite of the Freemasonry’s House of the Temple. Guarded by a sphinx and featured in Dan Brown’s thriller The Lost Symbol, this national headquarters of the Freemasons holds a series of grand staircases, an atrium dotted with Egyptian hieroglyphics, and a wooden and purple velvet throne in an inner sanctum.
The president who ensured future generations would have national parks to enjoy is, fittingly, honored in a bucolic island setting of his own. The Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial is tucked in a leafy 88.5-acre island nestled in the middle of the Potomac River. To reach it, you’ll need to cross an arching bridge from just over the D.C. border in Virginia. Once you arrive, keep your eyes peeled for deer, foxes, eagles and a 17-foot statue of the 26th president.
National Academy of Sciences: 2101 Constitution Ave NW; 202-334-2000
House of the Temple: 1733 16th St NW