I think Washington DC was one of the most organized cities I’ve ever been to, it really looked like it was carefully planned to serve the government and the Country, and most probably was.
The city is home to all three branches of the federal government, as well as the White House, the Supreme Court, and the Capitol Building.
Washington, DC is unique among American cities because it was established by the Constitution of the United States to serve as the nation’s capital, and was officially founded in 1790.
Washington DC definitely deserves more than 48 hours, there’s a lot to see and do. But sometimes you are in a tight schedule, so here is a list of the must-see in Washington DC, and some extra places to visit if you have a little more time than I did.
1. The Capitol Building and The Library of Congress
The Capitol building is where the business of Washington – and the US – happens, and is a huge network of buildings, offices, and meeting rooms.
It’s an amazing and beautiful building that I wish I had had the time to stare for a longer time than I did, the architecture of this building is impressive and makes you feel like a tiny person.
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world and one of the most prestigious, and houses over 160 million items. It is also the oldest federal cultural institution in the U.S.
US Capitol Building
If you want to experience the US Capitol Building and Capitol Hill like never before on a one-of-a-kind walking tour, you can benefit from reserved access to the US Capitol Building, enjoy a tour inside the Library of Congress and be a part of the seat of power in the US.
Freedom Plaza is a popular site for local events and political protests in Washington, DC.
It was originally named Western Plaza and renamed in 1988 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
It’s composed of simple elements, the pavement consists of a large 1887 map of Pierre L’Enfant’s federal city outlined in black granite and white marble, grass panels representing the National Mall, and the Ellipse, and bronze markers indicating the Capitol and the White House.
3. The White House
No visit to DC would be complete without a visit to the probably most famous house in the world.
Sadly, by the time I got to DC most of the view of the White House was obstructed due to a fence replacement, so that’s why my picture is with half of the White House.
The White House
Still, I hope you are luckier than me and can have a full view -and picture- of the White House.
It’s a very impressive memorial and the one I liked the most.
A white stone building featuring a solitary 19 feet (5.8 meters) tall statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting in contemplation, situated on both sides with inscriptions of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and his most famous speech.
The neoclassical Lincoln Memorial is a tribute to America’s 16th president and is best seen at night.
Lincoln Memorial at night
From the steps, the views over the reflecting pool to the Washington Monument are astounding, especially at night.
I was lucky enough to see the National Mall at night and I definitely recommend you to do it.
Close to Abraham Lincoln Memorial is the Vietnam Memorial, which honors members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War.
The “wall” is made up of two identical walls. Each wall is 250 feet (76 meters) long, and at the highest point, each wall reaches 10 feet (3 meters) high.
Written on the wall are the names of more than 58,000 men and women who were killed in the Vietnam War or who are still missing in action.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington DC
6. Korean War Memorial
The Korean War Veterans Memorial resides on the National Mall, just south of the Reflecting Pool.
All of its components, including its walls, stainless steel statues, and Pool of Remembrance, are dedicated to members of the U.S. Armed Forces that served and sacrificed during the Korean War.
Korean War Memorial
7. Thomas Jefferson Memorial
With marble steps and iconic columns, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is another must on the National Mall tour, and its interior walls contain inscriptions from the Declaration of Independence.
From the steps of the Jefferson memorial, you can have a gorgeous view of the National Mall, the Washington Monument, and the Tidal Basin.
8. The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument is an obelisk on the National Mall, built in 1884 to commemorate George Washington, the first President of the United States.
The obelisk is made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss and is the world’s tallest obelisk standing 555 (169 meters) tall.
Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool
Right between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument is situated the reflecting pool, its glassy expanse can reflect the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the rows of trees that line both sides.
The reflecting pool shows all its splendor at night.
9. Arlington Cemetery
I personally don’t love very much visiting cemeteries, but truth be told some are worth touring.
Arlington is the final resting place for thousands of servicemen and women, the Arlington National Cemetery is also where President Kennedy is buried. The white headstones that seem to extend infinitely are a memorable and somber tribute.
After President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, he became only the second U.S. president to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The eternal flame is the centerpiece of his resting place, and two deceased Kennedy children are buried alongside the President, as well as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
If you feel like doing a deeper visit to the cemetery you can also take a guided tour.
10. Scooter Ride
The national mall is a beautiful and really huge place, I know that on the map it may not seem like it, but once you start walking it you feel that you won’t be able to see everything in a short time.
On my second day, I rented a scooter since I was a little tired and I still had several places to visit. I have to say that it was a really fun experience to go around the city on a scooter, it’s an excellent option for touring, I definitely recommend it.
Here’s a list of other options for touring on wheels on Washington DC you may find interesting and fun and can choose from.
The admission to the museums is free at every location.
12. National Museum of Women in the Arts
Another museum that I really wanted to visit but didn’t have the time, but I bet it’s really interesting.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts, located in Washington, D.C., is the only major museum in the world completely dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts.
During the year, the museum presents special exhibitions featuring works by innovative women artists from around the world and across centuries.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons
And If you do have extra time or an extra day, here’s are some places that are really worth visiting.
13. Washington National Cathedral
This Gothic-style cathedral is a majestic building decorated with over 200 gargoyles and grotesques.
Photo Credit: Alejo Compa from Pixabay
An interesting fact of this Cathedral is that one of the Gargoyles represents Darth Vader from Star Wars.
Photo Credit: atlasobscura.com
14. Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Park was founded in 1890 by the United States Congress as a recreational resource for the nation’s capital.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons
15. Adams Morgan
Adams Morgan is a multicultural neighborhood centered on the happening nightlife scene around 18th Street.
Brick row houses, some brightly painted or featuring quirky murals, make of this neighborhood a lovely place to visit around.
Photo Credit: David Mark from Pixabay
PLAN YOUR TRIP WASHINGTON DC
I stayed at the State Plaza Hotel, an excellent hotel, with all the comforts, they even offered us a room with a kitchen at no extra charge. The hotel is located near the National Mall, which allowed me to visit the place both day and night in the short time I was in Washington.
Also, Booking has over 300 properties in DC including hotels, apartments, and hostels. You get free cancelation in most rooms and the best price guarantee.
On Jetradar you can search for travel and airline sites to help you find flights at the best prices.
With Sightseeing Pass you can save up to 60% on 15 attractions, and you’ll have 1 Day Hop on Hop off bus tour included on every Pass!
As always, all opinions are my own.
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