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Top Rated Attractions in Washington DC

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Lincoln Memorial

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 represent 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.

National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery is the national art museum, established in 1937, houses an extensive collection of European and American art in two spectacular buildings. It boasts exquisite collections in the form of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, medals, and decorative arts, showcasing the development of Western Art to date. Designed by I.M. Pei, this triangular building is a key city landmark and home to famous pieces of art and other temporary exhibitions.

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."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

This monument is not only a memorial to the nation's 32nd president, but also to the people of his time. The monument stretches along the Tidal Basin over 7.5 acres (3 hectares) and is connected by granite passageways. The four outdoor rooms here exhibit different aspects of Franklin D. Roosevelt's terms in office. The second room, for example, depicts the Great Depression with statues waiting in a bread line. Another room contains a statue of Eleanor Roosevelt, the only memorial to honor a First Lady. The monument also features waterfalls and pools. Set at a scenic location, it is a glorious site to visit in Washington DC.

Freer Gallery of Art

One of two Smithsonian museums that feature Asian art, the Freer Gallery houses more than 26000 works from all points of the Asian continent, including China, Japan, Korea and India. These works include Asian porcelains, Japanese screens and Islamic art. The works of American artists influenced by Asia are also featured. The most spectacular of these is James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room, designed for a British shipping magnate and moved to the United States from London in 1904. The Sackler Gallery is interconnected with this gallery via underground exhibition space and houses an impressive collection of Chinese paintings, ceramics and jades.

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