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A frequent site of nationally significant memorial services, the National Cathedral is open to worshipers of all denominations. Under construction for most of the 20th Century and completed and consecrated in 1990, this Gothic cathedral is the sixth largest in the world. Flying buttresses, gargoyles, crypts, a 98-foot (30-meter) vaulted ceiling and many intimate chapels contribute to this architectural masterpiece. The grounds invite exploration with curving walkways, well-kept hedges and spacious lawns from which to view the city.
Settled on the hilly lawns of a naval fort in upper northwest Washington, the Observatory measures the times and positions of the stars. Visitors may watch a short movie and view the precision clocks and high-powered telescope. Though it is not generally open to the public, visitors can catch a glimpse of its fine Victorian exterior. Tours are held on select days. Up to 90 people are admitted per tour and prior reservations need to be made through their website.
Washington DC's Rock Creek Park is elegantly bestowed by the historical Peirce Mill. The mill is one of the foremost gristmills in the region, and is currently under the purview of National Park Service. Currently, this mill is a living museum that reflects the American economy prevalent in the 1820s era.
The National Zoo is one of the nation's finest zoos. It was created by Congress in 1889, making it one of the oldest zoos in the country. The zoo was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and New York's Central Park. The zoo is famous for its giant pandas from China but you will find all sorts of creatures, both familiar and exotic, crawling about the place. The zoo's Asia Trail gets you acquainted with Fishing cats, Clouded leopards and other Asian animals. In addition, the zoo is home to the Elephant Trails, Lemur Island, Cheetah Conservation and Great Cats where you can witness mighty lions and tigers in action. Birds and reptiles from across the world also call the Smithsonian National Zoological Park their home.
With its outdoor murals, funky shops and ethnic restaurants, Adams-Morgan is one of Washington's most ethnically diverse and fascinating neighborhoods. The diversity is evident in the menus of the restaurants which range from Ethiopian to Salvardoran cuisine. Visitors will also find hip bars and clubs, unusual shops and grocery stores, but it is the nightlife and dining scene that attracts most tourists. A mix of new immigrants, young urban professionals and intellectuals enjoy living in this neighborhood's 19th-century apartment buildings and row houses.
The former home of George and Martha Washington's granddaughter, Tudor Place offers formal gardens and a house full of artifacts from the Washington family. The mansion was designed by Dr. William Thornton who also engineered the U.S. Capitol. For those with an interest in early American history, but without the time to travel to the more-famous Mount Vernon, this museum within the city is ideal. Docents lead the frequent tours.
Book Hill is a charming, historic neighborhood that is centered around the stretch of Wisconsin Avenue that lies between P street and Reservoir Road. With its beautiful 19th-century homes and charming boutiques, Book Hill boasts a distinct style that would not be out of place in Paris or London. From antique stores and clothing boutiques, to quaint patisseries and cafes, Book Hill is a haven for discerning local shoppers and tourists alike. You could easily while away hours exploring the many treasures on offer and soaking up the pleasant charm of Book Hill. The neighborhood is also known as the venue of the much-awaited annual French Market and street fair.
President Wilson lived in this Georgian-Revival house after he left office, creating a comfortable, unpretentious residence with his second wife, Edith. He is the only president to remain in Washington after office. The couple collected items from all over the world, filling their home with eclectic wares. There is a baseball signed by Great Britain's King George V and a silent movie projector given to the Wilsons by the actor Douglas Fairbanks. The bedroom is modeled after the couple's White House sleeping quarters.