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Top Rated Attractions in Washington DC

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National Gallery of Art

Step inside this art haven with a collection spanning over 141,000 works. You'll encounter masterpieces from renowned European masters like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Vincent van Gogh, as well as groundbreaking pieces by American legends such as Mary Cassatt, Edward Hopper, and Jackson Pollock. Also, escape the hustle and bustle of the city within the serene oasis of the Sculpture Garden. Adorned with over 60 sculptures by renowned artists like Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, and Alexander Calder,the garden offers a peaceful space for contemplation and reflection.

Washington Monument

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 it was fully constructed only in 1884. One can witness a visible change about one-third of the way up the obelisk marble—evidence of the onset of the Civil War. Construction was stalled 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. It is 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.

National Mall

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 some 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."

United States National Arboretum

Best known for its vast collection of azaleas, (a popular porch-flower), this 446-acre (180-hectare) garden park has much else to offer. Fountains, pools and open space separate a series of focused gardens at the United States National Arboretum. The National Bonsai Collection, a gift from Japan, is a fascinating exhibit of tiny trees. Other notable sections are the aquatic garden (filled with lotuses of many varieties) and the National Herb Garden.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Designed by John Russell Pope, this Roman-style monument to Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, is elegant and simple. Jefferson's 19-foot (5.79-meter) statue stands within, surrounded by some of his most inspirational writings. This is a perfect after-dinner destination. At night, the view of the Washington Monument across the tidal basin is one of the most attractive vistas in Washington, especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial not only honors the nation's 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but also pays tribute to the people of his time. Stretching over 7.5 acres (3 hectares) along the Tidal Basin, the memorial features four outdoor rooms, each depicting a different aspect of FDR's presidency. The second room, for instance, captures the hardship of the Great Depression with statues of people waiting in a bread line. Another room contains a statue of Eleanor Roosevelt, the only memorial to honor a First Lady. With its serene pools and cascading water, the monument offers a beautiful and contemplative space for visitors to reflect on the legacy of FDR and his era.

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