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The symbol of the city of Washington DC, this 555-foot marble obelisk on the National Mall honors the nation's first president. 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 builders returned to the same quarry to complete the project afterward, enough time had passed to cause a significant change in the color.
With cute boutiques, great restaurants, amazing nightlife spots, and tourist attractions like the African-American Civil War Memorial, U Street is a wonderful neighborhood in the city. A portion of this nine-block district is part of the larger Shaw District, but U Street is unique because it was once the cultural center for African Americans in the city and the area remains important to this day. U Street is known for its cultural vibe, you'll discover artistic murals lining the neighborhood as well as top jazz venues and theaters.
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.
Nestled in the picturesque Kalorama neighborhood, Spanish Steps were constructed as a part of the City Beautiful Movement. This movement was an architectural reform movement in the United States of America during the late 1800s which encouraged architects to beautify the city by adding impressive structures to it. Robert E. Cook, a local architect, took inspirations from the Spanish Steps located in Rome and designed this beautiful structure in 1911. There is an elegant lion-head fountain at the top of the stairs which also promises splendid views of the city.
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.
With its funky shops and trendy restaurants and bars, Dupont Circle is one of the hippest neighborhoods in Washington. Its cosmopolitan air draws visitors both young and old. Once a neighborhood of old money and the nouveau riche, Dupont Circle today is home to artists, intellectuals and young professionals. The neighborhood's turn-of-the-century mansions and brownstones, formerly home to prominent families, today house art museums, restaurants, embassies and fun shops. Dupont Circle is also home to the Phillips Collection, one of the city's foremost art museums with paintings by Renoir, Degas and Cézanne.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately-funded non-profit organization helping to protect historic buildings and neighborhoods. The National Trust has a collection of historic and associate sites and homes across the country. Check out their website for more information and a complete list and map of the sites.