There is so much to do in Washington, D.C. that you could spend weeks here. Check out the following places that must not to be missed when you plan a visit to this fantastic destination.
The Lincoln Memorial is a stunning tribute to the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated as he attended a theatre performance. A mammoth statue of the seated president is surrounded by a Greek Doric style temple. The memorial was dedicated in 1922, with Lincoln’s last surviving son, Robert Todd, in attendance. Located at the west end of the National Mall, the memorial is where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream” speech in 1963. It also has been featured in several movies ranging from 1939’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to Nixon to an episode of the Simpsons. The memorial is open 24 hours a day, with National Park rangers on hand from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
The Washington Monument is probably one of the best-known obelisks on earth. Built during the 19th century, it is a monument to the military achievements of George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Standing more than 550 feet (170 meters) high, it is the most prominent structure in Washington, D.C. It’s viewable 24 hours a day, though it’s not possible to get to the top for stunning views of the capital. The monument has been closed since it was damaged in an earthquake in 2011. A reopening date has not been scheduled yet.
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is where Congress meets. Sessions of the Senate and House of Representatives are open to the public when the bodies are in session. Visitors need free passes, which can be obtained from their congressmen’s office. At the same time, they can also get passes to tour the Capitol building, as guided tours do not include visiting legislators in action. The Capitol was one of the first buildings constructed by the fledgling U.S. government following the Revolutionary War. Construction began in 1793, with legislators meeting there for the first time in 1800. Central to the Capitol building is the rotunda, which lies under the dome. This is where honored citizens, such as presidents, lie in state.
The White House serves many purposes. It is where the President works and lives with his family. It is also the symbol of the United States to the rest of the world. It is where the President officially meets with leaders of foreign nations and hosts them at state dinners. The site for the White House was selected by George Washington, first president of this new nation, but President John Adams was the first to live in it. It was burned by the British during the War of 1812, but later reconstructed. Self-guided tours are available for visitors who plan ahead. They must request a tour through their congressman’s office 21 days to six months in advance.
Visitors to Washington, D.C., won’t want to miss a stroll on the National Mall, a greenway that will take them past many of the capital’s important sites. Located downtown, the National Mall stretches on the west from the US Capitol building to the Potomac River and on the east from the Jefferson Memorial to Constitution Avenue. Across the streets from the mall, but still considered part of it, are a variety of Smithsonian museums and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. To the east, nearby attractions include memorials to Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and James Garfield, and the Reflecting Pool. With about 24 million visitors a year, it is the top tourist attraction in Washington.