Washington. D.C., is an extremely popular vacation destination for Americans as well as people from all around the world. It is rich with history and is filled with beautiful and charming attractions. There is so much to see and do, so you must be asking yourself, what are the top attractions in DC? You should certainly decide what places you want to visit the most before you leave on your vacation because you probably have limited time and it could take months to see everything that Washington, D.C. has to offer.
Things to See in Washington, D.C.
- Some of the most popular attractions in Washington, D.C., are the 19 Smithsonian Museums. Before you begin exploring, stop at the Smithsonian Institution Building to get a map of all of the museums. If you have a limited amount of time, decide beforehand which buildings you want to visit. The museums range from subjects concerning history to art to space exploration. It would take an immense amount of time to go through all of the museums, so you should decide beforehand what museums you are particularly interested in. Thoroughly going through one or two or three of the museums will be a much better use of your time.
- Washington, D.C., is well known for its national monuments and memorials. Among the most popular are the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial. You can typically find excellent guided tours that will take you to the major monuments. If you take one of these tours you will learn a lot of interesting facts about each monument and you won't have to navigate through traffic, which is always a plus.
- D.C. is the home of the United States' three houses of government. You can take a tour of the Supreme Court Building Monday through Friday if court is not in session. If you go at the right time, Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon, you can watch the Supreme Court in session. Be sure to be there at least an hour early, though, because seating is limited and it fills up fast. You can also take a guided tour of the Capitol. These tours are offered Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In order to take one of these tours, you must get a ticket online or through your Senator or Representative. Finally, you can take a tour of the White House. These tours are a little trickier to get into, but with ample time for planning, it is completely doable. You must write a letter to one of your members of Congress to request a spot in a tour, and you should do this pretty far in advance. If you don't want to go through the hassle of planning a tour, you can simply go to the White House Visitor Center and learn some interesting facts about its architecture and the presidents and their families.
- If you are interested in taking some time to shop, eating at a local restaurant, or taking a historical sites tour, Georgetown is the place for you. This street runs right along the Potomac River and is a hub of fun activity. The restaurants tend to get busy on weekends, so it would be smart to make a reservation in advance.
- Mount Vernon, the estate of President Washington and his family, is open every day of the year and is a wonderful place to visit. Take time to explore the mansion and the surrounding buildings, as well as the Ford Orientation Center and the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center.
- Arlington National Cemetery is truly a sight to behold. It is the burial place of over 250,000 U.S. military members and President John F. Kennedy. It is also home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and if you go at the right time, you can witness the changing of the guard.
These are certainly the top attractions in DC, but you don't have to stop there because there are so many fun things to do in Washington DC. It is a wonderful, historically rich vacation destination that everyone should experience at least once.
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