Washington DC Sights & Attractions
What to See and Do in Washington DC
Get up close to the world's most famous residence, The White House, the home of the President of the United States since the 1820s. It's a Washington icon, as is The Capitol, also one of the world's symbols of democracy. Its dome is one of the largest in the world, and its Neoclassical architecture reflects the principles of ancient Greece and Rome that influenced the American political system. It stands marking the very center of the city, with the Washington Monument seen in front of it down the grand boulevard known as "The Mall." It's the tallest structure in Washington, shaped like an Egyptian obelisk and with city views from the top.
Further down, past the Reflecting Pool, is the Lincoln Memorial. Its gigantic statue of President Lincoln is one of the city's best-known images, standing inside a Neoclassical "temple." This was also the famous site where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech.
Other national heroes and many more unknown ones lie in the Arlington National Cemetery. Simple headstones mark the resting place of thousands of soldiers, with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier being the site of the ceremonial Changing of the Guard. From there, visitors move to the grave of John F. Kennedy, with a flame lit by his wife Jackie in his 1963 funeral still burning continuously.
Another spiritual sight is The National Cathedral, the sixth largest in the world. It's a Neo-Gothic construction with beautiful rose windows and impressive stonework.
The Newseum is an interactive news museum opened in 2008 not far from the Capitol. It presents centuries of news history through technology and hands-on exhibits in a 643,000-square-foot (60,000 square meters) modern building.
You'll also want to check out the Air and Space Museum, housing the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. Among the many highlights is the Charles Lindbergh plane that made the first solo transatlantic flight in 1927, and the Apollo 11 Command Module that carried Neil Armstrong and the other famous astronauts on their historic mission to the moon in 1969.
The National Gallery of Art exhibits an important collection that is particularly strong on Italian Renaissance works, with the East Building also housing modern and contemporary art. You can therefore see works by Tintoretto, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, El Greco, Van Gogh, Miró, and Lichtenstein among other famous artists in one single museum.
If you want to check out American art instead, visit the The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery for paintings, sculptures, and photographs of famous Americans in entertainment, politics, and the arts.
Georgetown's charming cobblestone streets and houses have attracted young residents for decades, and it is now Washington's most pleasant area. Its M Street is home to the city's most fashionable shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as to the well-known chain stores. Don't leave Washington without a stroll through the neighborhood.
TOURS & DAYTRIPS
Choose your own Tour of Washington DC, where you can see sights that you may end up missing by yourself, or go on special organized visits such as the Washington TV and Movie Sites Tour.