|Washington is a manageable city, with lots to see
and easy ways to get around. These are just a few of the
attractions popular with visitors and locals alike.
Tour 1: Monuments, Memorials and Museums
The original plan for Washington was designed to incorporate
monuments to the many heroes of American history. The wide
avenues and large expanses provide plenty of room to honor those
who have led the country and those who have given their lives
Certainly the best place to start is the National Mall, where the
symbol of the city'the Washington Monumentstands. From the monument,
you can proceed to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial,
Korean War Veterans Memorial, FDR Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial
for a nice half-day walking tour.
On the eastern side of the mall are many museums of the Smithsonian
Institution. Some of the more popular ones are the National Air &
Space Museum, National Gallery of Art, National Museum of Natural
History and the National Museum of American History. The Freer Gallery
contains a large collection of Asian art, and the latest addition
to the area is the National Museum of African Art.
Nearby, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, educates the public on the
tragic history of the Holocaust; it is dedicated to the millions of
people who lost their lives during the massacre.
Tour 2: History and Government
Begin early at the White House, home and office of the President of
the United States. Tickets for the guided tour must be obtained at
the Visitor Center'they are given out on a first come, first serve
basis. Once you?ve toured the Executive Mansion, take a short walk
through Freedom Plaza to the FBI Building. Tours include a history
of the agency, a look into the sophisticated crime lab and a firearms
demonstration. From here, its another short walk to the National Archives.
Stop in and see the original copies of the Declaration of Independence,
the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the foundation of American
Pennsylvania Avenue joins the White House to the U.S. Capitol, symbolically
linking these two branches of government. Tours of the Capitol are
available, or visitors may wander around on their own. When the legislature
is in session, balcony seats are open to the public. Check The
Washington Post for a daily schedule.
On the east side of the Capitol, discover the Supreme Court and the
Library of Congress. Walk up 1st Street from there to Union Station.
Several restaurants and an ethnically diverse food court await hungry
Tour 3: Georgetown and the Waterfront
Start at the impressive John F. Kennedy Center?a living memorial to
the 35th president. From the terrace overlooking the Potomac river,
there is a nice view of Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Island; a fitting
tribute to this early environmentalist, it is covered with nature
trails and local species of trees and flowers.
Next to the Kennedy Center is the infamous Watergate Hotel. Several
shops and restaurants are located on the ground level. Walk down to
the water and along the river, and you'll soon come to the Washington
Harbor. Stop for a drink or a tasty bite at Sequoia with its beautiful
views and relaxed atmosphere. From here its a short walk up the hill
to M Street in the heart of bustling Georgetown. Stroll the main streets
and window shop, or duck down a few of the side streets, and take
in the gorgeous 19th-century town homes.
Georgetown has plenty of places to eat?Aditi for spicy Indian food
and Zeds for exotic Ethiopian. Clydes is a fun place for happy hour
and the Sea Catch has a great oyster bar and is right on the C&O
Tour 4: Nearby Virginia
Arlington National Cemetery, directly across the river from the Lincoln
Memorial, has a fascinating history. Its landmark is Arlington House,
once the home of Robert E. Lee. Guided tours of the cemetery, with
Tourmobile Sightseeing, make stops at the Kennedy Gravesites, Tomb
of the Unknowns and Arlington House. Visitors may also walk through
the grounds, but private cars are not allowed.
A scenic drive down George Washington Memorial Parkway leads right
into Old Town Alexandria. Stop into Christ Church and see Washingtons
personal pew, and then head over to Gadsbys Tavern where he spent
countless evenings merry making. King Street has wonderful shopping
and restaurants, and ends at the riverfront. Stop for a drink at the
Chart House on the waterfront or wander through the Torpedo Factory,
now an arts center.
Continuing south, the parkway ends, appropriately, at the home of
George Washington: Mount Vernon.
Several local companies offer guided tours, both traditional and offbeat.
Old Town Trolley Tours and Tourmobile Sightseeing sell day or multi-day
passes allowing visitors to get on and off at various locations throughout
the city. The DC Ducks combine land and water tours in the same vehicle?you
don't have to get out of your seat! For something different, take
a C&O Canal Barge ride or Bike the Sites. For an aerial view of
the capital city, contact Capital Helicopters.
There is definitely no reason to be bored in Washington DC!