The symbol of the city of Washington DC, this 555-foot (169-meter) marble obelisk on the National Mall honors the nation's first president, George Washington. The cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid in 1848, but construction was not completed until 1884. About one-third of the way up the obelisk is a visible change in the marble, evidence of the onset of the Civil War. Construction was halted during the war, and when the builders returned to the same quarry to complete the project afterward, enough time had passed to cause a significant change in the color. An emblem of the United States and an icon of the nation, the Washington Monument is a moving sight, its elegant form mirrored in the Reflecting Pool of the Lincoln Monument nearby.
Part of the original design for the federal city, this massive park stretches from the US Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial. It has played host to many momentous, world-changing events throughout history including the 1963 March on Washington, the Million Man March and several presidential inaugurations. Today, the National Mall serves as a place for reflection, a memorial to American heroes, a symbol of freedom and a forum for the exercise of democracy. The Smithsonian museums, the Vietnam Memorial, the Reflecting Pool and the iconic Washington Monument are a few of the most well-known of the National Mall's many iconic sites. Certainly, any visit to Washington DC should start with a tour of the United States National Mall, aptly named "America's front yard."
Early morning is the time to catch the blooming water-bound plants of this park. Run by the National Park Service, the 12-acre marshland park is often overlooked by visitors who head for better-known Washington sites. As a result, the park is an uncrowded getaway. Nature-lovers and children especially will enjoy more than 100,000 flowering plants and fauna sightings.
Also known as "America's attic," for its spectacular collection of nearly 154 million artifacts, the Smithsonian Institution is one of the the world's largest museum complexes and research organizations. The administrative office of the esteemed institution is housed in a magnificent red sandstone 'castle', that also houses a visitor information area and research chambers. Within this building is also the final resting place of the Smithsonian Institution's founder, James Smithson, with his tomb being preserved in the crypt in the north entrance. Apart from the main building, the institution features as many as 17 museums and galleries within its sprawling complex that represent exhibits across the myriad fields of science, history, zoology, and art. Some of the most notable Smithsonian landmarks include the Natural History Museum and the African American Museum.
The monumental cornerstone of the United States presidency, the White House is the formal abode and headquarters of the President of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, this gleaming neoclassical structure was originally referred to as the Presidential Mansion, before Theodore Roosevelt lovingly bestowed upon it the moniker of 'White House' - a name that would go on to signify not only the physical structure, but the entire collective unit that comprised of the President and his advisers. While John Adams was the first incumbent of this official home, several leaders that followed added their own elements to its interiors, the most noteworthy being the comprehensive redecoration carried out by former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of erstwhile President John F. Kennedy. Today, the central building of the White House comprises of the Executive Residence, while the rest of this colossal structure consists of a total of 132 rooms, a tennis court, a putting green, 35 bathrooms, a cinema and a bowling alley named after Harry S. Truman.
Not only the abode of the Legislative Branch of the United States Federal Government, the Senate and the House of Representatives, the pristine facade, elegant dome and porticoes of the Capitol Building are also a symbol of the principles held dear by the nation's founding fathers; an emblem of representative democracy. The Capitol's foundation stone was laid in 1793 by President George Washington and the first session of the United States Congress to be held here was in the year 1800, although it would be another 11 years before the neoclassical building would be complete. Interestingly, the United States Capitol Building was not designed by by Dr. William Thornton, a physician by trade living in the British West Indies. Guided tours of the Capitol offer a glimpse into the day to day working of the government and the intricacies of the majestic Capitol's rich interiors. A deep lesson in the nation's history and its electoral procedures, this monument continues to inspire awe and wonder.
The Whittemore House is a historic building in Washington DC. Now opened as a house museum it is now the headquarters of Woman’s National Democratic Club. The exhibits on display are mostly about the political campaigns, art exhibits and photographs of the struggle the women of National Democratic Club had been through. Built in 1894, this house is now open to public and it can be used as a venue for weddings and private events. The interiors of the house are well furnished and the furniture is perfectly maintained. There is a small courtyard which surrounds the house making it a perfect venue for parties and functions.
This extravagant mansion is the legacy of a local immigrant success story. Christian Heurich, a German orphan, made his fortune in beer. His 31-room home, lavish and eccentric, is full of turrets, onyx fireplaces and the furnishings used by he and his family in the 20th Century. Victorian excess, carved wood and a lovely garden make the property a must-see for fans of design and architecture. There are walking tours of the Mansion and the Victorian Garden on the property.
If you are looking for a spooky time during your visit to the United States' capital, look no further than DC Ghost Tours. The tour company specializes in the hauntings of Lafayette Park and Capital Hill, and revels in scarring and engaging their audience with stories of murder, intrigue, and the paranormal. The tours generally last 90 minutes and are predominantly outside, so bring a jacket for those cooler evenings. Be sure not to wander too far off from the group... or you might find yourself face-to-face with one of Washington DC's infamous ghosts.
Free Tours by Foot offers visitors to DC a fun, interactive and eco-friendly way to explore the capital. With a number of tours on offer, the company provides knowledgeable tour guides to show you around the best sites. The interesting aspect of these tours is that they are free, visitors are not obligated to pay anything at all. If you like the tour and your guide, then you pay accordingly. The most popular tours include the All-In-One tour which will take you around all the major monuments over a period of four hours from the Washington Monument to the Tidal Basin. Other tours of interest include the Lincoln Assassination, Historic Georgetown as well as the entertaining Secrets and Scandals and Ghosts of Georgetown.
With its origins going back to 1791, President's Park is an important landmark in the nation and the capital's downtown area. Composing of the White House, White House Visitor Center, Lafayette Square and The Ellipse (President's Park South), it spans across 82 acres (33.18 hectares) of manicured land. Throughout the parkland you will find memorials, statues and structures that are an ode to the national history and its heroes. Managed by the National Park Service, it features two trails that lead you to various attractions within the park. The Northern Trail takes you to the White House North Lawn and visitor center, Department of the Treasury, Lafayette Park, Blair-Lee House (President's official guest house) and First Division Monument. The Southern Trial to The Ellipse, Haupt Fountains, National Christmas Tree and White House South Lawn. There are many activities for kids as well. These include Junior Ranger programs, interpretive walks and other special events.