Freedom Plaza, Washington, D.C.

Freedom Plaza is a historic public square in the heart of Washington, D.C. This iconic plaza has been a gathering place for residents and visitors for over 30 years. With its stunning city views and numerous attractions, Freedom Plaza is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the nation's capital. In this article, we will explore the best things to do in Freedom Plaza.

The history of Freedom Plaza

The idea for Freedom Plaza originated in the early 1960s, during the administration of President John F. Kennedy. The plaza was intended to symbolize America's commitment to freedom and democracy. Designed by architect Robert Venturi, the plaza was constructed between 1979 and 1980.

Freedom Plaza was officially dedicated on November 13, 1980, by President Jimmy Carter. The dedication ceremony was attended by a number of dignitaries, including members of the Kennedy family.

The plaza is notable for its large, central fountain, which is surrounded by granite paving and benches. The fountain is illuminated at night, creating a dramatic effect. The plaza is also home to several sculptures, including a bronze statue of Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish-American Revolutionary War hero, and a statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

Over the years, Freedom Plaza has been the site of many important events and demonstrations, including protests against the Vietnam War, the 1981 Solidarity Day march for labor rights, and various presidential inauguration ceremonies. The plaza has also served as a gathering place for concerts, festivals, and other public events.

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Best places to visit near Freedom Plaza

  • Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Located just a short walk from Freedom Plaza, the National Museum of African American History and Culture is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in learning about the history and culture of African Americans. This museum features over 36,000 artifacts and exhibits that highlight the contributions and experiences of African Americans throughout the centuries. The museum is open daily, and admission is free, but timed-entry passes are required and can be reserved in advance on the museum's website.

  • Take a tour of the White House
The White House, the official residence of the President of the United States, is located just a few blocks from Freedom Plaza. While tours of the White House are typically reserved for groups and individuals who have submitted a request through their Member of Congress, it's still worth walking by and taking in the building's beautiful architecture and iconic history.

  • Explore the National Mall
Freedom Plaza is located on the National Mall, a large park area that is home to many of the city's most famous monuments and landmarks. Take a leisurely walk around the Mall and visit popular sites such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

  • Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of American History
The Smithsonian National Museum of American History is another must-visit attraction near Freedom Plaza. This museum features a wide range of exhibits that showcase the history and culture of the United States, including artifacts such as the original Star-Spangled Banner, the First Ladies' Inaugural Gowns, and the Greensboro Lunch Counter.

  • Attend a concert or event
Throughout the year, Freedom Plaza plays host to various concerts, festivals, and other events. Check the plaza's calendar of events to see what's happening during your visit, and be sure to stop by to enjoy some live music, food, and fun.

  • Take a walking tour of the city
Washington, D.C., is a pedestrian-friendly city, and there are many walking tours available that explore the city's rich history and architecture. Take a guided tour or download a self-guided walking tour from our website and discover some lesser-known neighborhoods and historical sites around Freedom Plaza.

  • See a show at the Shakespeare Theatre Company
Located just a few blocks from Freedom Plaza, the Shakespeare Theatre Company is one of the premier theatrical companies in the country. With a calendar full of shows, including plays by William Shakespeare and other classic works, there's always something exciting happening at the Shakespeare Theatre.

  • Visit the National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art is another popular museum located near Freedom Plaza. This museum features a wide range of artwork from some of the world's most famous artists, including Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Leonardo da Vinci. Admission is free, and the museum is open daily.

  • Take a boat tour of the Potomac River
Explore the city from a different perspective with a boat tour of the Potomac River. Several companies offer guided tours that take you past some of the city's most famous landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial, the Kennedy Center, and the Watergate Complex.

  • Enjoy some local cuisine
Washington, D.C., is known for its delicious and diverse food scene, and there are many great restaurants located near Freedom Plaza.

The most interesting facts about Freedom Plaza

  • When the plaza was first designed in the 1920s, it was known as Western Plaza because it was located west of the White House.

  • The plaza was officially renamed "Freedom Plaza" in 1988. The name change was made in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, which called for freedom and equality for all Americans.

  • In 1988, a time capsule was buried under Freedom Plaza to commemorate its renaming. The capsule is set to be opened in 2088, exactly 100 years after it was buried.

  • Freedom Plaza has been used as a filming location for several movies and TV shows, including The West Wing and House of Cards.