Immerse yourself in the wonders of the U.S. capital, including monuments and memorials, state-of-the-art museums, a vibrant arts and culture scene and renowned local sports teams. A trip to Washington DC is like stepping into an open-air museum.
Washington DC Landmarks
The White House
The White House has the most famous address in the world – 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, which is the home of the United State’s President. Surely the most famous site in Washington D.C., the White House, has been the president’s official home for over 220 years. During tours of this National Historic Landmark, visitors are allowed limited access to the State Floor, including the Red Room, Green Room, and State Dining Room. The East and West Wing (housing the Oval Office) is prohibited to the public.
There are many important buildings in Washington, D.C., but none like the U.S. Capitol building. Built in 1800, it stands at the city’s center with its 288-foot neo-classical dome visible from across the skyline. A visit to the Capitol includes entry into the Crypt, Rotunda, and the National Statuary Hall. Visits to the House and Senate chambers require special passes and are not included in the official tour of the Capitol. The word “Capitol” comes from Latin and is associated with the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on Capitoline Hill.
The National Mall
The National Mall tops this Washington, DC landmarks list as it contains all of the United States’ most treasured national landmarks. The National Mall receives over 24 million visitors annually and has been the stage for some of the nation’s most important democratic demonstrations. The landscaped park stretches a length of two miles between the Lincoln Memorial and the US Capitol. The National Mall is the stage of the nation, holding everything from presidential inaugurations and Fourth of July festivities to classical concerts and sporting events.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Among the many famous monuments in Washington, D.C., the Jefferson Memorial may be the most beautiful. Situated on a bank of the Potomac River within a grove of Japanese cherry trees (springtime is spectacular), the neoclassical rotunda was inspired by the third American president’s own architectural theories. Within, visitors will find a bronze statue of Jefferson alongside excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, being its principal author, carved along the walls. The Jefferson Memorial is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The Vietnam Memorial
In 1982, artist Maya Lin conceptualized a bold 246-foot black granite wall engraved with the names of the 58,320 soldiers killed during the Vietnam War. The Vietnam Memorial is one of the most poignant and important places in Washington, DC. With over 2 million visitors annually, many leave flowers and mementos in memory of their loved ones lost. Items left at the Memorial are collected daily by the National Park Service, who catalog and store the items. Several items have found their way into the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Lincoln Memorial
Built in honor of the 16th American President, Abraham Lincoln, the Lincoln Memorial is among one of the most famous Washington monuments. The neoclassical temple houses a 19-foot tall statue of Lincoln, seated, lost in thought. The Memorial has become a symbolic center for race relations in the United States. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his 1963 “I Have a Dream” on the steps of the monuments to a crowd of over 250,000 people. Along the top of the Lincoln Memorial is an intertwining rope of laurel to represent unity.
Spanning over 639 acres, Arlington Cemetery has been the final resting place for soldiers killed in battle since the Civil War. Sprouting from the earth are rows of identical marble headstones that form an intricate geometry. The patterns formed by the graves are a stirring reminder of the cost of war. Notable burials include John F. Kennedy, his grave marked by an “eternal flame,” and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is a symbolic resting place for deceased soldiers whose remains have not yet been identified.