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The nation’s capital is also one of its most beautiful and interesting cities. It’s a city of grand government buildings, memorials and museums which are stunning in daylight and outstanding at night. As a bonus, entrance to most of them is free!
DC is also a very accessible city - if you’re prepared to “stand in line” you can actually visit the U.S. Capitol Building, the Supreme Court and the FBI Headquarters, although the White House is only open to US citizens by invitation.
The National Mall is the “town square” of Washington and is the national open space - a park, a jogging track and an outdoor stage for concerts and festivals bordered by nine of the Smithsonian Institute’s 14 museums.
Washington is fabulous for shoppers offering everything from upmarket boutiques in Georgetown to Bohemian craft shopping in Adams-Morgan or the outlet malls just minutes from downtown. Make time for a visit to the European style Eastern Market and check out the food and artisans’ stalls.
The city has a wide range of restaurants because the Washingtonians love to eat out. Georgetown is great for bistros and bars and Adams-Morgan is popular for ethnic restaurants and trendy bars. Folk and blue grass music lovers should go to The Birchmere in quaint Alexandria (across the Potomac) where house rules demand silence during performances! And if it’s culture you’re looking for, the Kennedy Centre is home to the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington has its own “off Broadway” for theatre lovers.
Smithsonian Museums: A collection of 14 museums and galleries including African Art, Natural History, American History and perhaps the most famous - the National Air and Space Museum.
U.S. Capitol: The landmark that dominates the city (no building can be higher) houses the Senate and House of Representatives.
FBI Building: See exhibitions of famous past cases, learn of the FBI’s work and see mug-shots of the 10 most wanted men in the USA.
The White House: Tours are not currently available for non-US citizens, but the building is still an imposing sight to see.
Holocaust Museum: Dedicated to educating visitors about the Nazi persecution of Jews and other ‘undesirables’ prior to and during World War II.
Monuments and Memorials: All visitors should visit the ‘big six’ - the Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, Korean War and Vietnam Veterans Memorials and the Washington Monument.
Arlington National Cemetery: Across the Potomac River in Virginia and home to the graves of thousands of U.S. citizens who have served their country. The most famous is the grave and eternal flame dedicated to President John F. Kennedy, but you should stop to watch the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
Newseum: Demonstrates how the news is made and gives you the opportunity to be a reporter on TV yourself. The 9/11 exhibit is particularly moving.
Georgetown: Trendy Georgetown, overflowing with smart boutiques and bars, is definitely the place to be seen. Stroll down to Georgetown Harbour and have a cocktail overlooking the Potomac.