About four or five times a year I have to explain to someone that here in D.C. when we say, "let's go to the mall" we don't mean, I need a pair of shoes, a $22 uneven haircut and an unnaturally covered pretzel.

The National Mall is a rare area of downtown D.C. where there aren't government buildings crammed into the tiniest patch of open space. And the misconception that's it's a shopping mall is so widespread that the park service even addressed it on their frequently asked questions.

The Mall was part of L'Enfant's original 1791 plan but he imagined it a bit differently. L'Enfant wanted it to be the central axis of the city's monumental core... the "Grand Avenue." It was to run west from the Capitol, directly south of the President's home to its terminus at a large equestrian statue of George Washington. (Personally, I'm kinda glad they scratched that last one - I've never been a fan of that whole historical figures re-imagined as Greek gods school of thought.) According to L'Enfant's plan, the Mall was to be "four hundred feet in breadth, and about a mile in length, bordered by gardens, ending in a slope from the houses on each side." Over the years, the concept for the Mall changed many times and the grounds were re-appropriated and used for a multitude of purposes, public meetings and rallies long before Martin Luther King and the Vietnam War, rail road through ways, bivouacking and parading troops, producing arms and slaughtering cattle. In 1909 they removed the train depot and tracks and restored some of the original idea, putting back the large grassy area and planting four rows of American elm trees at the perimeter. The Mall would then be bordered by what they called "public buildings." These public buildings eventually became the series of museums in the Smithsonian Institution system and there are more than fifteen national museums and gardens as well as a few government buildings sprinkled in for good measure. Now there's even Wi-Fi coverage on the National Mall.

But still no DSW.