Country: United States Language: English Currency: US Dollar ($)
Washington DC, the capital of the USA, is a great city for sightseeing. A walk along the National Mall will show you most of the iconic DC attractions, a handful of museums (most of which are free to visit!) and the White House. Washington DC is a great city for all types of travellers! The history is intriguing; the museums range from history to art to a botanic garden; and there are a ton of eateries to choose from. Be sure to see the stunning monuments along the National Mall during the day and at night!
CTW Must See
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is home of the US Congress, and the seat of the legislative branch. It sits at the top end of the National Mall, and is one of the most iconic buildings in America. The building was completed in 1800, but has been greatly expanded since then. Today, the building covers 16.5 acres of floor area over five floors!
United States Botanic Garden
The United States Botanic Garden is located beside the US Capitol Building on the National Mall; it is free to enter and open 363 days a year! It was established by Congress in 1820 and is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America! The USBG has three garden spaces - The Conservatory, the National Garden and Bartholdi Park. It doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit, there will always be something in bloom.
National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall and is one of the largest museums in North America! The gallery is split between two buildings, appropriately named the West and East Buildings. The West Building holds neoclassical works by artists such as Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. The newer East Building, contains modern art by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and many more.
National Archives Building
The National Archives Building is incredibly important as it holds some of the most important documents in US history, including the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
The National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian is a Smithsonian Institute Museum located on the National Mall. The museum was established in 2004 and has three branches, the others located in NYC and Maryland. The National Museum of the American Indian has a collection of over 800,000 objects, as well as 125,000 photographic images.
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum is a Smithsonian Institute Museum located on the Iconic National Mall. It houses the largest collection of aircraft and spacecraft in the world! It opened its doors in 1976 and houses aircraft including the Apollo 11 Commend module and the Wright brothers’ plane!
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Park
Hirshhorn Museum is an art museum on the National Mall. The cylinder-style building was established in 1974. The museums collection is on a rotational display of modern art. Some of its collections have included Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Henri Matisse. The Sculpture Park in the garden beside the museum features works by Auguste Rodin and Yoko Ono.
National Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s most visited museums, hosting over 7 million visitors last year alone! It opened in 1910 and was one of the first museums on the National Mall. The museum contains over 126 million specimens including animals, minerals, rocks, meteorites and much more! A walk through the museum will bring you up close to life-sized animals, one of the world’s most famous jewels, and some historic fossils.
The Castle was the first Smithsonian building. It was designed by James Renwick, Jr. in the mid-1800s, who also designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in NYC. The Smithsonian Institute Building now hosts administrative offices and an interactive museum free to visitors exploring the National Mall.
Freer Gallery of Art
The Freer Gallery of Art is a Smithsonian Institution museum on the National Mall that holds important Asian art. It has a collection of more than 26,000 objects from all over Asia, the Islamic World, and ancient Egypt. The objects range from 6,000 years ago to modern ages!
National Museum of American History
The National Museum of American History is another one of the inspirational Smithsonian museums along the Mall. As its name depicts, it traces the development of the nation’s identity from colonial times to the present. In the museum, you can see Thomas Jefferson’s Desk, on which the Declaration of Independence was drafted; George Washington’s uniform; Julia Child’s Kitchen, and much more.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
This museum is a Smithsonian Institution museum on the National Mall. It was established in 2003 but didn’t opened until 2016. It holds nearly 37,000 objects relating to the black community, civil rights, and more. Unlike other Smithsonian Institutes along the National Mall, entry to this museum requires a timed ticket. You can request a timed ticket entry online, or during the week at the door at 1pm. See their official website to book your timed entry before your trip!
The Washington Monument is an obelisk near the center of the National Mall. It is the world’s tallest stone structure and tallest obelisk, standing just over 554 feet tall! Construction began in 1848, but was put on hold from 1854 to 1877, due to the American Civil War. Money was tight during the war and many of the construction workers were sent off to fight in the war. When construction continued, a different source marble was used - you can see the difference in color about a quarter of the way up the obelisk!
The White House
The White House is the most visited house in the world! It has been the home and workplace of every US president since John Adams in 1800; construction took place between 1792 and 1800. During the War of 1812, the house was set on fire, causing a lot of damage. Reconstruction began soon after the war and since then, it has undergone numerous renovations and changes with each president. The White House Residence has 132 rooms and 53 bathrooms over six floors.
National WWII Memorial
The National World War II Memorial is dedicated to those who served in the war and to civilians. The memorial was established in 2004 and is visited by more than four million people a year. It features 56 pillars naming the US states and territories, two triumphal arches, dedicated to the Atlantic and the Pacific, and one central fountain. The memorial also has a touching Freedom Wall with 4,048 gold stars, each star representing 100 Americans who lost their lives in the war.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Inspired by MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, this powerful memorial was completed in 2011. The memorial features the statement, ‘A stone of hope’, as well as many other powerful quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. It is the first memorial to an African-American near the National Mall and one of four memorials created for a non-President.
Korean War Veterans Memorial
The moving Korean War Veterans Memorial commemorates those who served in the Korean War. The 19 stainless steel statues of soldiers stand between 7’3 and 7’6” tall, each weighing nearly 1,000 pounds! The United Nations Wall standing beside the statues lists all the UN nations involved in the war. And finally, there is the pool of remembrance, which names those killed, wounded, missing in action, and held prisoner of war.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
On the opposite side of Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, you’ll find the touching Vietnam Veterans Memorial honoring those who died in service in Vietnam. The main part of the memorial was completed in 1982. The reflective Memorial Wall honors all of the lives that were lost. There are 58,318 names etched into the wall.
The famous Lincoln Memorial was built between 1914 and 1922, it is dedicated to the influential 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. The memorial features 36 columns, for each of the 36 states part of the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death; a larger than life sculpture of Lincoln; engraved quotes of Lincoln, and an engraving in the spot where MLK Jr. gave his ‘I Had A Dream’ speech.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Construction on the Thomas Jefferson Memorial began in 1938. The memorial contains a 19-foot tall bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of America; many quotes from Jefferson; and a pantheon-like facade, with a large circular colonnade of columns. In the springtime, the West Potomac River Tidal Basin, leading to the memorial, blooms with Japanese Cherry Blossoms, attracting thousands of visitors!
National Portrait Gallery & American Art Museum
Established in 1962, the National Portrait Gallery is a Smithsonian Institute just off the National Mall. As of 2011, the National Portrait Gallery was the only museum in the US that strictly displays portraits. It houses over 20,000 pieces of art. Within the National Portrait Gallery, you’ll also find the American Art Museum, another Smithsonian Institute, which features over 7,000 artists and covers all areas of the American Arts movement.
The Pentagon is the US Department of Defense Headquarters. It is considered one of the world’s largest office buildings; it covers 6.5 million square feet, employees over 25,000 people, and contains a five-acre central plaza that is shaped like a pentagon.
Arlington Cemetery is a military cemetery that covers 624-acres of land. It was established in 1864 during the Civil War. The cemetery has many memorials, including the the Tomb of the Unknowns, the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial, and the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame.
If you love DC, then one of these destinations might be your next adventure...