Washington DC
Washington DC

Washington, DC Attractions

Whether youíre a history buff or a shopaholic, Washington DC has an attraction for you. In our countryís capitol, there is no limit to what can be seen or experienced. Journey through historic neighborhoods, spend an entire day wandering through the miraculous hallways of the Smithsonian Institution, invade the presidentís private life on a tour of the White House, or take in a breathtaking performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For a slightly more emotional way to spend your day, visit the heartbreaking list of fallen soldiers at the Vietnam Memorial or wander among the endless headstones of Arlington Cemetery. Nature enthusiasts will find their own private heaven at Rock Creek Park, a secluded, wooded sanctuary where lush trees and gorgeous gardens offer endless hiking and picnic opportunities.
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Free Washington DC Mall Walking Guide

Free Washington DC Mall Walking Guide

Are you planning a visit to Washington DC and the National Mall? Be sure to download and print your free Washington DC East Mall Walking Tour and Guide. The "tour at your own pace guide" will show you the highlights of the East Mall including surrounding museums, monuments, landmarks and points of interest. Explore at your own pace this amazing area of Washington DC. The Washington DC East Mall Walking Tour and Guide is free. Simply download, print and tour at your own pace.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington VA; Tel. 703.607.8052
Located across the Potomac in Arlington, Virginia, Arlington National Cemetery is home to the remains of thousands of military veterans and national figures. The crew of the Challenger Space Shuttle are interred here, as are the Kennedy Gravesites (Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis now rests beside her first husband, as does brother Robert F. Kennedy) complete with the Eternal Flame which burns uninterrupted. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers is also here (although DNA testing has caused the original inhabitants to be disinterred and identified).

Capitol Building

Independence Ave. and First St., SW Washington DC; Tel. 202.225.6827
Tours of this testament to the two-party system are available throughout the day on weekdays. But don't be shy -- the seat of Congress is most imposing (and inspiring) when you visit alone. It's seen daily on news programs, but few Americans have visited this artfully designed seat of legislative power. Keep an eye out for your favorite Representative!

Embassy Row

Massachusetts Avenue, north of DuPont Circle, Washington DC
No other Washington DC tourism stop quite exemplifies the stately grace of the nation's capital that Embassy Row. The tree-lined setting for the world's embassies is a stunning stroll, particularly in the spring and fall when color bursts against the Classic, Neo-Classic, Beaux-Arts and Federal style buildings. The bespectacled statue of Ghandi and his walking cane outside the Indian Embassy is particularly poignant.

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

2700 F Street, NW Washington DC; Tel. 202.467.4600
The Kennedy Center houses five theaters including the homes of the National Opera and National Symphony Orchestra. If you can't score tickets, daytime tours are available.

Lafayette Park

1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington DC
Originally the encampment of the workers who built the White House, this gorgeous park adorns the north side of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So well-planned, planted and lit, it's hard for anyone to believe that White House aides were once able to purchase crack there to serve a symbolic point for George H. W. Bush's War on Drugs speech.

Lincoln Memorial

Constitution Ave. and 23rd St., NW Washington DC
It's said that Lincoln's countenance changes with the daylight, but the classic Greek temple setting will awe no matter what time you visit the imposing footman of the National Mall. Read from the Gettysburg Address inside the Memorial or gaze out at the reflecting pool. One of the best memorials in a town full of them.

Rock Creek Park

The anti-thesis of the National Mall, bedecked as it is in statues, monuments and memorials, Rock Creek Park is a secluded, wooded sanctuary from those who need a break from politics and a place to contemplate. Sadly, the park gained its most widespread notoriety when the remains of then-missing intern Chandra Levy were found in the spring of 2002.

Smithsonian Institution

1000 Jefferson Ave., SW Washington DC; Tel. 202.357.2700
Often referred to as "the Nation's Attic," the Smithsonian Institution is home to several museums, and has a wonderfully disparate collection of artifacts and exhibitions. The "cursed" Hope Diamond is here, as is the Wright Brothers' Kitty Hawk Flyer, a moon rock, several reconstructed dinosaurs and an Apollo space capsule. A vast museum complex, several of the Smithsonian's most popular sites include the Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum, the National Zoo and the American History Museum. Newer and notable are the African Art Museum and, for those who really love their museums, the Postal Museum.

Supreme Court

Maryland Ave. and First St., NE Washington DC ; Tel. 202.479.3000
Hidden behind the Capitol Building, few ever see this Greek temple of Justice unless they're waving signs and chanting protests. A historic site where such famous decisions such as Brown v. Board of Ed., Roe v. Wade, and Bush v. Gore have been delivered deserves a respectful visit. Visit when the court is in session, October to June and you can listen in as the Justices hear arguments.

The Mall

Originally conceived as a grand, European-style boulevard, the two-mile long Mall is a green, tree-lined expanse that stretches from the Capitol's eastern end to the Washington Monument's western end. Host to various Washington, DC Festivals, softball games and festivities, Washington, DC's Mall is also the destination of choice for numerous protestors and demonstrators. Close to the White House and flanked by presidential monuments and war memorials, the Mall is the heart of the city and the political heart of the nation.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Constitution Ave. and Henry Bacon Drive, NW Washington DC
Designed by then-Yale architecture student Maya Lin, this slanted black stone wall was originally held in contempt by those who thought the Vietnam War deserved a more respectable memorial. In the almost 20 years since, the Memorial has come to be such a site of catharsis and sacred reflection that its attendance tops all the other war memorials. Names of soldiers killed in Vietnam run chronologically, from the very first to the very last, but time stands still for the mourners.

Washington Monument

National Mall at 15th St., NW Washington DC; Tel. 202.426.6841
This 555-foot tall obelisk is DC's tallest structure and visible from almost any intersection in the city. Not only is it a good way to orient yourself when wandering around and around one of DC's many radial Circles, it's also a good way to see the city in relation to you. Elevators whisk you to the top of the world's tallest freemasonry structure.

White House

600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington DC ; Tel. 202.619.7255
All Hail the Chief. The home of U.S. Presidents since the 18th Century, the White House has been bombed (the War of 1812), bugged (Nixon, anyone?) and lionized as much as any building in the world. While terrorism concerns have closed public tours of the inside of the President's manse, you can still tour the gardens, including the famous South Lawn. For interiors, you're pretty much stuck with a sedated Jackie Kennedy or an indignant Martin Sheen. Check local listings.
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