Constitution Gardens is one of many secret treasures to be discovered on your visit to our nation’s capital.
Tucked behind a stand of trees lining the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool lie 50 serene acres of winding paths, willow trees and duck ponds. Even when the National Mall is bustling with people, this quiet green space can feel nearly deserted. It offers a welcome respite from the crowds, with plenty of comfortable, shaded benches, and restrooms that most tourists never find.
Once completely submerged, this area first came into use in the late 19th century, after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged the Potomac River. In 1971, President Nixon ordered the demolition of several “temporary” World War I Navy offices on the site, and the park was created.
The gardens were dedicated in May 1976, as part of the bicentennial celebration of the American Revolution. In 1984, a memorial to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence was installed on the little island in the center of the duck pond. Then, in 1986, during the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, President Reagan proclaimed the park a living memorial to the Constitution.
Stroll through Constitution Gardens on your way between the World War II Memorial, at the eastern edge of the park, and the Vietnam Memorial, at the park’s western edge. A convenient refreshment stand is open during the summer months.