Located at the west end of the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial is one of the principal landmarks of Washington DC, its stately form overlooking the Reflecting Pool, a gleaming stretch of water that lays sprawled before its base. Daniel Chester French's 19-foot (5.7-meter) statue of Lincoln, seated and deep in thought, watches over the nation he helped create, alongside the carved text of the Gettysburg Address, providing a glimpse into a weighty period of American history. The memorial itself draws inspiration from the Greek architectural style, its 36 Doric columns representative of the number of states in the union at the time of Lincoln's death. Surrounded by greenery, on the banks of the Potomac River, the Lincoln Memorial makes for a soul-stirring, picturesque sight; a fitting ode to one of the nation's most revered Presidents.
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.
Visitors should come prepared for an experience likely to be difficult to forget when visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. At the start of the tour, each visitor is given an identity card of a Holocaust victim that matches the visitor's own age and gender. Ordinary reality is skewed through off-center stairways, weird angles and the shadows of other visitors on the glass walkways overhead. An elaborate audio-visual display includes interviews, films and photographs. The Hall of Remembrance provides a calm, empty space at the end of the tour where one can reflect on the experience. The museum discourages children under 11 from attending. Admission to the museum is free. From March through August a free pass is required to enter the Permanent Exhibition, The Holocaust, a chronological history. Passes are not required to gain entrance to the museum building, or to go to any of the smaller exhibitions, memorials, or special programming.
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.
Take a trip back in time and explore the much celebrated American history at the National Museum of American History. Rich in displays that depict the American journey through the ages; it resides inside a gallery that portrays the emergence of the American national anthem along with other innovative and cherished artifacts. Housed within this multi-floor building are exhibition halls and rooms that illustrate the glorious and doom days of America.
This 52-acre park is located north of the Reflecting Pool amid the capital's many famous monuments and memorials. A beautiful place for a stroll, the paths wind through the trees taking you to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a lake and a memorial to the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Steeped in history, this is a must-see on any DC tour.
Throughout the Washington city, you will find traffic circles that are named in honor of war veterans. Scott Circle is located at the junction of Massachusetts Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue. Important offices like Australian and the Philippine's Embassies are located on this circle. The statute of United States Army general Winfield Scott has also been erected in the Circle.
The many perspectives of the earth are examined here, including geology, oceanography, astronomy and anthropology. Enjoy creative and educational exhibits including a huge globe, a tornado simulator and a 'time machine'. Changing, lively special exhibits are also featured. A gift shop sells the National Geographic Society's videos, books and educational games. Group tours are available and admission is free.
If reading is your passion and books are your prized possessions, then the National Geographic Society (NGS) Library is the place to be. Housed within the reputed National Geographic Society (NGS), the library is as praise-worthy as its mother-organization. From books, maps, magazines and journals to photos and films, you have a lot to choose from. Information on diverse fields like like travel, history, natural science, geography and so on are available here. The staff is friendly and helpful while the services are very efficient. So come here and delve into the pleasures of reading. Call ahead for more information.
Built in 1840, the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle is both a beautiful and historical place of worship. St. Matthew is the patron saint of civil servants, so it is no wonder than this cathedral is the most prominent cathedral in the United States' capital. Each year, the special "Red Mass" is held for the Supreme Court justices, President's cabinet, members of Congress, and - sometimes - even the President himself. This "Red Mass" is so named for the color of the vestments worn by those holding the mass. This famous cathedral, which was designed by New York architect C. Grant La Farge, was also the place where President John F. Kennedy's funeral was held in 1963.
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.
Mary McLeod Bethune, a noted teacher and political leader, lived in this house from 1943 until her death in 1955. She served as director of the Division of Negro Affairs under Franklin Roosevelt and was an advisor to three other U.S. presidents. The house was the original headquarters for the National Council of Negro Women. Founded by Bethune, the group sought to promote women in society and eliminate all forms of discrimination. Today, the home is a museum dedicated to Bethune and all American black women. A large collection of writings, artwork, photographs and memorabilia are on display. Donations accepted.