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Ellie Van Houtte / USAID

Rally on the National Mall - What to know about marches in Washington, DC

What to Know About Marches in Washington, DC

A guide to marching in Washington, DC, including practical tips, where to eat on the National Mall and more.

Washington, DC has long been a place where individuals from across the United States of America have exercised their First Amendment rights by marching for a cause. From the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession down America’s Main Street – Pennsylvania Avenue – and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech from the Lincoln Memorial, to the annual March for Life and Women’s March on Washington, the nation’s capital is home to some of the most significant moments in American history.

Regardless of whichever administration is in power, Washington, DC celebrates the right to march and the First Amendment rights of individuals. If you’re visiting DC for a march or protest, read on for more information and practical tips for when you’re in town.

What Can I Expect If I Ride the Metro?

Metro prepares for very heavy ridership during marches in Washington, DC. While you can purchase a SmarTrip card at any Metrorail station, visitors are encouraged to buy SmarTrip cards in advance online. For more information, visit our guide to riding Metro in DC.

Where Can I Use the Bathroom on the National Mall?

There are public restrooms, all with handicapped accessibility, located by the Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lincoln and World War II memorials, as well as near Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument grounds. All of the museums on the National Mall also have ample public restrooms.

Where Can I Eat on the National Mall?

There are plenty of great food options within walking distance to the National Mall. From restaurant dining near the monuments and memorials to cafes in popular museums, explore all of the best places to eat on and around the National Mall and view our dining map.

Additional Information for Your Visit

There are many museums and sites in Washington, DC where you can celebrate the First Amendment and right to free speech during your visit.

The Newseum is dedicated to promoting, explaining and defending the five freedoms of the First Amendment: speech, press, assembly, petition and religion, and features numerous interactive elements that make it one of the most cutting-edge museums in the world.

Nearby, the National Archives and Records Administration Building and Museum is home to the three most important documents in American history: the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. There, visitors can see firsthand the first ten amendments to the Constitution and read their rights to freedom of the speech, of the press, to peaceably assemble and more.

Other notable sites in Washington, DC that celebrate the First Amendment include the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument, which chronicles the origins of the suffrage and women’s rights movements, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, featuring numerous exhibits dedicated to the African American struggle for freedom and the Civil Rights Movement, and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, with exhibits on American democracy and the original Greensboro lunch counter.

Group Travel Logistics

Washington, DC makes group travel easy with its accessibility, amazing dining options, educational tours and wealth of free museums. Find out why the nation’s capital is a great place for groups. If your group is traveling by motorcoach, please note that there are regulations that cover permitting and traffic flow for motorcoaches in response to safety, security and preservation requirements. For up-to-date information on all motorcoach news, information and regulations, visit



Can't-miss free museums on the National Mall in Washington, DC

Can't-miss free museums on the National Mall in Washington, DC

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