The gigantic obelisk (in fact the tallest obelisk and the tallest stone structure in the world) commemorates George Washington – the first president of the USA. The Washington Monument is not only an icon of the city but in fact one of the icons of the whole country. There are 896 steps leading to the top of the monument. They are not usually open to public due to the safety concerns. Its cornerstone was laid in 1848 and it was opened in 1889. Nowadays, it is closed again and will stay closed till spring 2019 due to the renovations of the elevator.
The Neoclassical mansion is the official residence of the President of the United States. The first President to be seated there was John Adams and he moved in after the building was finished in 1800. President’s seat was not always known as the White House. It was called President’s Palace, President’s House and also Executive Mansion. The name White House was officially given to the building by Theodore Roosevelt (the 26th US president) in 1901. It is not easy to get inside the White House as a tourist. Tours must be applied for through one’s Member of Congress. The foreigners must submit the tour request through the Washington embassies of their countries. The tours are free of charge but the places are limited so if you plan to do so, you should submit your request sooner rather than later.
This monument commemorates the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It was designed in the style of Ancient Greek architecture. The building is surrounded by 36 columns, one for each state of the Union at the time of Lincoln's death. Apart from the monumental statue of Lincoln sitting in contemplation, the interior includes two of his most famous speeches – "Second Inaugural Address" and "The Gettysburg Address". The speeches are embedded into the walls. Another famous speech associated with this place is Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech which was delivered there by him in 1963. It is a very popular spot and one of the best known places in the city. Therefore it is usually quite busy and might get crowded easily.
One of the iconic symbols of American democracy and the seat of the United States Congress. The building itself is an imposing piece of neoclassical architecture. Its construction was finished in 1800 but some of its present-day parts were added later (e.g. its gigantic dome). There is even a private subway under the Capitol that transports politicians between the Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings. The Capitol also includes an area called the Crypt where George Washington was meant to be buried (but he wished to be buried elsewhere so there are no actual tombs in the Crypt). There are no entrance fees in the Capitol but be sure to make your tour reservation in advance if you want to get inside. If you wish to view the Galleries or the Senate in session, you need to arrange the tour through your Senator or Congress representative’s office. International visitors may arrange their tours in the Capitol Visitor Centre. For further information consult the official website.
The World War II Memorial is a memorial of national significance dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. Consisting of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a plaza and fountain, it sits on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Opened on April 29, 2004, it was dedicated by President George W. Bush on May 29. The memorial is administered by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group. As of 2009, more than 4.4 million people visit the memorial each year.
The National Mall is a national park in downtown Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The National Park Service administers the National Mall, which is part of its National Mall and Memorial Parks unit. The term National Mall commonly includes areas that are officially part of West Potomac Park and Constitution Gardens to the west, and often is taken to refer to the entire area between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol, with the Washington Monument dividing the area slightly west of its midpoint. A smaller designation, sometimes referred to as the Mall proper, excludes both the Capitol grounds and the Washington Monument grounds, applying only to an area between them. The National Mall contains a number of museums and memorials and receives approximately 24 million visitors each year.
The Library of Congress is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; it also maintains the Packard Campus in Culpeper, Virginia, which houses the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. The Library of Congress claims to be the largest library in the world. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages. Two-thirds of the books it acquires each year are in languages other than English."
The Supreme Court Building is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Judicial Branch thereof. Completed in 1935, it is situated in Washington, D.C. at 1 First Street, NE, on the block immediately east of the United States Capitol. The building is under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol. On May 4, 1987, the Supreme Court Building was designated a National Historic Landmark.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a 2-acre national memorial in Washington, DC. It honors U.S. service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were unaccounted for during the War. Its construction and related issues have been the source of controversies, some of which have resulted in additions to the memorial complex. The memorial currently consists of three separate parts: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, completed first and the best-known part of the memorial; the Three Servicemen Memorial, and the Vietnam Women's Memorial.
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, also called the NASM, is a museum in Washington, D.C.. It holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1946 as the National Air Museum and opened its main building on the National Mall near L'Enfant Plaza in 1976. In 2014, the museum saw approximately 6.7 million visitors, making it the fifth most visited museum in the world. The museum contains the Apollo 11 module, the Friendship 7 capsule which was flown by John Glenn, the Bell X-1 which broke the sound barrier, and the Wright brothers' plane near the entrance. The National Air and Space Museum is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and spaceflight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics. Almost all space and aircraft on display are originals or the original backup craft.
The Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington, D.C., dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, one of the most important of the American Founding Fathers as the main drafter and writer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress, governor of the newly independent Commonwealth of Virginia, American minister to King Louis XVI and the Kingdom of France, first U.S. Secretary of State under the first President George Washington, the second Vice President of the United States under second President John Adams, and also the third President, as well as being the founder of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Virginia. The neoclassical Memorial building on the Tidal Basin off the Washington Channel of the Potomac River was designed by the architect John Russell Pope and built by the Philadelphia contractor John McShain. Construction of the building began in 1939 and was completed in 1943. The bronze statue of Jefferson was added in 1947.
Union Station is one of the most popular sights in Washington, D.C., with over 40 milion visitors coming to see it each year. It is not only a railway and a subway station, but also a bustling shopping centre and a great place to dine in. The shops here range from open stalls in the east hall to stores hosting expensive brands, like the Victoria's Secret. The restaurants and cafés offer just as much choice and variety. From a pizza or a steak to a fresh-made sushi, there is plenty to pick from. Come April, yet another market opens just outside the Union Station, which fills with vendors offering freshly baked pastries as well as handcrafted goods. This market closes on Sundays and is definitively over for the year by October. The Union Station is not famous only for its shops, however. Its magnificent building is a popular tourist attraction in its own right. Founded in 1907, it was designed by Daniel H. Burnham and is considered a masterful example of the Beaux-Arts architectural style. It made it into Fodors' selection of the top 20 most beautiful train stations.
This small museum hides some of the greatest documents in human history, or at least the history of the United States of America. It stores the original American Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights (one out of the four copies in existence) as well as one of four copies of the Magna Carta. The National Archives Museum is conveniently placed in the center of the city, standing on a street fittingly called the Constitution Avenue. There is a bus stop and a subway stop close by. Besides seeing many important documents with your own eyes, you can also expect to find interactive displays enjoyable even for children here, as well as a large gift shop. It gets very crowded here and long queues tend to form, especially in the peak tourist season, which lasts approximately from March till September, and during holidays. You can skip part of the waiting line outside the museum if you buy a reserved visit on the official website. Do not bother carrying a camera with you, taking pictures of the documents is forbidden, since it could lead to their deterioration.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is located in West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., next to the National Mall. Covering four acres and including the Stone of Hope, a granite statue of Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King by sculptor Lei Yixin, the memorial opened to the public on August 22, 2011 after more than two decades of planning, fund-raising and construction. The national memorial is America's 395th unit in the National Park Service. The monumental memorial is located at the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, on a sightline linking the Lincoln Memorial to the northwest and the Jefferson Memorial to the southeast. The official address of the monument, 1964 Independence Avenue, S.W., commemorates the year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is the United States' official memorial to the Holocaust. Adjacent to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the USHMM provides for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history. It is dedicated to helping leaders and citizens of the world confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity, and strengthen democracy. The museum has an operating budget, as of 2015, of $104.6 million. In 2008, the Museum had a staff of about 400 employees, 125 contractors, 650 volunteers, 91 Holocaust survivors, and 175,000 members. It had local offices in New York City, Boston, Boca Raton, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas.
The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum administered by the Smithsonian Institution, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., United States. With free admission and open doors 364 days a year, it is the third most visited museum in the world, the most visited natural history museum in the world, and the most visited museum in North America. Opened in 1910, the museum on the National Mall was one of the first Smithsonian buildings constructed exclusively to hold the national collections and research facilities. The main building has an overall area of 1,500,000 square feet with 325,000 square feet of exhibition and public space and houses over 1,000 employees. The museum's collections contain over 126 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington D.C. dedicated to the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States, and to the era he represents. For the memorial's designer, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, the memorial site represents the capstone of a distinguished career, partly because the landscape architect had fond memories of Roosevelt, and partly because of the sheer difficulty of the task. Dedicated on May 2, 1997 by President Bill Clinton, the monument, spread over 7.5 acres, traces 12 years of the history of the United States through a sequence of four outdoor rooms, one for each of FDR's terms of office. Sculptures inspired by photographs depict the 32nd president alongside his dog Fala.
The National Museum of American History: Kenneth E. Behring Center collects, preserves, and displays the heritage of the United States in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific, and military history. Among the items on display is the original Star-Spangled Banner. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and located on the National Mall at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW in Washington, D.C.
This place sheds light into the profession we all dreamed of in our childhood. The International Spy Museum is a perfect way to spend a few hours with your family or friends. Kids are going to have a blast at the exhibits, as they are interactive and fun. People (12 years of age and older) can participate in an immersive experience called Operation Spy which lets you see what it is like to be a spy on an important mission through fulfilling challenging tasks and activities. Probably the most popular exhibit is the Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains. You will get to see props from the movies, but you can also watch videos from professionals connecting the events in the movie to actual events that happened in the world. The more educational part of the museum consists of the artefacts that show just how creative technicians can be. You will be amazed by things like a lipstick pistol, or an Enigma cipher machine. Some of these artefacts have never been seen by the public before. The building is fully wheelchair accessible. Some of the exhibits contain fast flashing lights, so if that is of concern to you, speak to one of the attendants at the museum and they will brief you on which locations to avoid.