From the President's home at the White House, to the home of Congress and the Senate on Capitol Hill, this is the city where the government of America conducts it day-to-day business. And from the tall white obelisk of the Washington Monument, to the striking Lincoln Memorial, Washington is a city packed with reminders of an American past that stretches from Founding Fathers to Civil War to Civil Rights.
If everything seems so very familiar when you wander around Washington, that's because it is. Countless films, books and news broadcasts have stamped these symbols of power into the world's consciousness. The National Mall, that criss-cross of parkland that's the backdrop for much of the city's architectural and monumental drama, is really the only place to start.
Here you can walk the spaces that have packed with the American people at times of crisis and celebration – Martin Luther King's famous 'Dream' speech rang out here. So too did the noise of the Vietnam War protests, and the crack of fireworks each Independence Day on 4th of July. The Mall is also where America tries to heal its wounds. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is tucked into a corner, a poignant reminder that while America doesn't always agree, it can still put divisions behind it.
This capital city is big on celebrating all aspects of the national culture. The National Air and Space Museum vies for your attention with the National Museum of Natural History, which jostles with the National Gallery of Art. There is a museum dedicated to the news media at the Newseum, and one that thrusts you into the role of secret agent, the International Spy Museum.
Foggy Bottom has the remnants of a notorious slum tucked in amongst its government offices and cultural centres. Watergate hides here too. And the Arlington National Cemetery doesn't just provide America's fallen with their last resting place. General Lee – that hero of the South who almost broke up the United States – has his home here. His estate was chosen as the national war cemetery as punishment for leading the Confederates armies.
And what about the 'D.C.' bit – the District of Columbia – in the name. It isn't there merely to set the capital apart from the State of Washington, on the far-flung north-west US coast. As the capital, the District of Columbia is wholly separate from the strongly independent States that make up the United States of America. Visit any one of those States, and you'll get a window onto a piece of the American soul. But it's only in Washington D.C. that those pieces are woven together to make the American Dream whole.
Museums, Historical Buildings and Monuments
Explore the home and workplace of the president of the United States. See entertainment areas and state rooms and learn about the history of this famous building.
This mammoth monument to America's first President and foremost founding father casts a long shadow over Washington – but for a long time it's place was in doubt.
This Memorial houses a statue of the President who took a stand against slavery – and who had just started to heal the nation, when he was brutally assassinated.
Sitting on top of Capitol Hill is a Washington landmark that’s been the home of American democracy for more than 200 years.
A place to muse on the words of one of the authors of the US Declaration of Independence, and perhaps its most thoughtful of Presidents.
One of the quieter, reflective corners of the Mall, this memorial carries the name of every single soldier who died in America's most controversial war.
Named “Washington's Best Tour” by the Washingtonian Magazine, the Old Town Trolley offers the most comprehensive tour of the Nation's Capitol. Sit back while expert tour guides help you discover the beauty and majesty of Washington D.C.
Your tour begins at the US Navy Memorial and loops around the National Mall, stopping at iconic landmarks and powerful tributes to key moments in American history along the way.
Take a day trip out of the city to soak up the history and architecture of another East Coast metropolis—Washington, D.C. Check out the monuments and memorials of the National Mall, see the White House, and dive into the fascinating exhibits at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
Start at the open plaza of the U.S. Navy Memorial and listen as your informative guide tells you about the significance of each feature, like the bronze statue of the Lone Sailor that stands in memory of all naval service personnel.
Delve into the African American heritage of the United States and its capital city on this local-led tour of D.C. Visit landmarks like Frederick Douglass' house and the Martin Luther King Jr.
Break out of the Big Apple and spend a day cruising around Washington, D.C. on this full-day tour with transportation from Manhattan. Check out memorials dedicated to early presidents, visit Arlington National Cemetery, and get the chance to explore aviation legends at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.
Discovering the LGBT side of the nation’s capital
Finding meals to go from food trucks in the nation's capital
Exploring the theater options in Washington, D.C.