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Must Visit Attractions in Washington DC

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Located at the west end of the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial is one of the principal landmarks of Washington, DC. Its stately form overlooks the Reflecting Pool, a gleaming stretch of water that lies 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.

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. Within the memorial, Jefferson's 19-foot (5.79-meter) statue stands surrounded by some of his most inspirational writings. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial serves as a place for reflection and contemplation, inviting visitors to ponder Jefferson's enduring legacy. 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.

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."

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.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, unveiled in 1982, stands as a tribute to the over 58,281 Americans who died or remain missing in action during the Vietnam War. Maya Lin, a 22-year-old undergraduate student at Yale University, designed this iconic black granite wall, forever etching her work in the memories of countless visitors. As they walk along the wall, the names seem to recede into the earth, serving as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made during this turbulent period in American history.

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.

Established on April 29, 2004, the World War II Memorial is the first national memorial to honor the American troops who fought in the war. The design by architect Friedrich St. Florian marks the Pacific and European Theaters of World War II with magnificent arches and remembers the Americans who died with 4,048 stars along the Freedom Wall. Located on the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, visitors come here for a poignant and educational experience.

The pristine facade, elegant dome, and porticoes of the Capitol Building are a symbol of the principles held dear by the nation's founding fathers and an emblem of representative democracy. Home to the Legislative Branch of the United States Federal Government, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, this iconic neoclassical building attracts many curious tourists from all over the world. Guided tours of the Capitol offer a glimpse into the everyday workings of government officials and the intricacies of its rich interiors. Offering a lesson about the nation's history and its electoral procedures, this monument continues to inspire awe and wonder.

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass purchased this 21-room home, making him the first African-American to buy a home in that area. Known as Cedar Hill, the home became the nation's first Black National Historic Site. The original furnishings are in large part the ones Douglass himself owned. They include the 1200-volume library of this self-taught man. Also on display are gifts given to Douglass by such contemporaries as Mary Todd Lincoln and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

An integral part of the West Potomac Park, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is an impressive memorial honoring the life and glory of the legendary civil rights activist. The memorial, an extension of his valiant, dignified and equality-seeking identity, is based on the very foundations of justice, hope, and democracy. Laden with motley inscriptions and quotations from his speeches, including the iconic 'I Have a Dream', the memorial site is also home to a 30-foot (9 meters) statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., a pristine white sculpture signifying pride, equality, and an indelible political legacy. Fashioned from white granite, the structure is awash in Social Realist style and has been the subject of artists and critics alike. The crowning glory of Washington D.C., this iconic memorial has ignited a strong sense of political, social and historic integrity among the global audience.

From beneath the 90-foot (30-meter) portico, lies an expanse of sloping lawn along the Potomac River as it flows past Mount Vernon. This 17th-century plantation house was once home to the first President of the United States, George Washington. The property was originally owned by Washington's father, Augustine, and George replaced a smaller, more modest home with Mount Vernon when he came into the property, beginning in 1758. Today, costumed guides narrate the history of the elegant mansion and of the surrounding buildings, which have been preserved to reflect the days when the first president resided here. The state also features tours around the 500-acre (200-hectare) estate, including its surrounding buildings, and historic exhibits that recreate farming techniques and colonial games. Awash in elegant semblances of Palladian architecture, Mount Vernon is a treasured centerpiece of history and culture.

Ford's Theatre, an iconic theater, is recognized as the place where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14th, 1865. A century later, in January 1968, the theater was reopened again for a performance after being under the management of numerous government organizations, including the United States Department of War and the National Park Service. Also found within Ford's Theatre is a Lincoln Museum that displays artifacts from the assassination, including the gun Lincoln was shot with. Mementos from Lincoln's life are also on display.

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