Washington D.C is an historic landmark in itself and can be often overlooked when visiting the big cities of the US. We have written the 10 things to do in Washington DC for those who are visiting for a few days but want to see as much as possible.
1) The White House
An iconic landmark of Washington DC and USA, the White House is a popular stop for many. Unfortunately, those who wish to take a tour of the house must make a request via a Member of Congress, at least 21 days before you wish to visit. Foreign tourists can contact their embassy in Washington, DC for assistance in submitting a tour request.
2) National Mall and the Smithsonian Museums
Head to Madison or Jefferson Drive to find yourself in the middle of the National Mall – a row of museums leading to the US Capitol Building. Along the Mall you will find the American Indian Museum, the Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the famous Natural History museum, the interesting Smithsonian Castle, the Hirschhorn Museum and the popular American History Museum. Most of these museums are administered by the Smithsonian Institution and are therefore free of charge to enter.
3) Lincoln Memorial
Regardless of who you are and where you are from, you would find the Lincoln memorial a moving experience. With powerful quotes scrolled across the walls with the monument towering over you, the memorial is simply breathtaking. You can visit 24 hours a day with rangers available to answer questions from 9.30am to 10pm. Entrance is free with the nearest Metro station being Foggy Bottom (yes, it is called that) on the Orange and Blue lines.
4) The US Capitol Building
Another symbolic landmark of the Capitol, the US Capitol building can be found at the head of the National Mall. Tours are available to reserve in advance between 8.30am – 4.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with the main entrance being in the East Front Plaza. The building is just a short walk from Union Square Metro station and the Capitol South Metro station.
5) National World War II Memorial
A favourite of Calum’s, the WWII Memorial holds some impressive fountains along with stone and bronze sculptures. Again, the memorial can be visited 24 hours a day with a ranger present from 9.30am – 10pm to answer any questions.
6) Arlington National Cemetery
I love history and learning about the history of the world countries, meaning I was eager to visit JFK’s final resting place in Washington DC. An eternal flame marks the grave of John F Kennedy with the Custis-Lee Mansion looking over the area.You may also visit the graves of the Kennedy Family as well as William Howard Taft. From the Lincoln Memorial, you can cross the George Washington Memorial Parkway or catch the Metro blue line to Arlington Cemetery station.
7) Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Honouring those who served in the Vietnam War, this memorial lists the names of Americans who gave their lives for the country. Just a short walk from Lincoln’s Memorial and standing next to the World War and Korean War memorials, this memorial is worth a visit and can be accessed 24 hours a day.
8) Korean War Veterans Memorial
Again, open 24 hours a day, the Korea War Veterans Memorial was created in honour of the nations people who defended the country they never knew and people they had never met. This memorial sees bronze statues standing among greenery, an intriguing artistic memorial.
9) Martin Luther King Memorial
A newer memorial representing the man of freedom. Another moving experience worth a visit and open 24 hours a day with rangers on duty between 9.30 to 10pm.
10) National Archives Building
Home to the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and The Constitution; the National Archive Building is a great choice for those interested in America’s history. I even picked up a replica of the Declaration which is displayed in my home – far too cool I know…
These are the historic sites of Washington DC that deserve a visit whilst in the capital. If you are visiting during the baseball season, get yourself to the Washington Nationals Stadium to witness the hilarious president race and even get featured on the big screen like we did!
Have you visited Washington DC? Where would you suggest we head to on our next visit?! Leave your suggestions in the comments below.