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Washington DC

Capitol Building Capitol Building Photo via sunipix.com

Originally inhabited by Algonquian speaking people, the Nacotchtank, the District of Columbia along the Potomac River was first selected by President George Washington. The city came under attack during the War of 1812, known as the Burning of Washington. Upon the government's return, reconstruction began for numerous buildings. In 1901, the McMillan Plan helped restore the downtown area and established the National Mall, along with numerous monuments and museums.

Top Sites For Visitors:

Monuments, memorials and government buildings have made Washington D.C one of the most recognizable places throughout the entire world. From the Washington Monument to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, there are many sites dedicated to U.S Presidents and Military Veterans that have served and/or given their lives.

The largest concentration of monuments and other sites are along the National Mall, allowing visitors the ability to map out an extremely easy plan to go from one to another without any complications. Keep in mind, the White House and the Capitol building tours are through reservations that should be placed several months in advance.

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most popular and visited sites in DC and is located on the West end of the National Mall. The memorial was designed by Henry Bacon after ancient Greek temples. It stands almost 100 feet high, 190 feet long and 119 feet wide.

The George Washington Monument

Washington MonumentThis 555 feet - 5 inch obelisk has become the symbol of the capital city. The original design was submitted by Robert Mills in the 1840s, though design modifications took place during construction. The monument is made of marble, granite and bluestone gneiss. It is the world's tallest stone structure and world's tallest obelisk. Although there are taller monumental columns, they are not all stone or a true obelisk.

Construction started in 1848 and dedicated on February 21, 1848. It is located due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Monument. Unfortunately, due to the Virginia earthquake in 2011 and Hurricane Irene (same year), you may only view the monument from outside. Due to repairs, the National Park Service estimates the monument will be closed until 2014.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt came up with the idea for a memorial dedicated to Thomas Jefferson. He was upset that there was nothing honoring the author of the Declaration of Independence, one of our nation's founding fathers, former President, architect, farmer, educator and one of the most enlightened men of the 18th century.

Jefferson MemorialThis impressive monument occupies 2.5 acres in the National Mall. The distance to the top of the dome is over 129 feet high and the statue of Jefferson stands 19 feet tall, weighing 10,000 pounds. It is located South of the White House along the Tidal Basin. Although slightly out of the way, it is well worth a visit!

Honoring Veterans:

National WWII Memorial
The Second World War is the only 20th Century event commemorated on the National Mall's central axis. The Memorial honors the 26 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S, more than 400,000 who died and all who supported the war effort from home. Symbolic of this generation, the memorial is a monument of spirit, sacrifice and the commitment of the American People.

It is located on 17th Street, between Constitution and Independence Avenues and is flanked by the Washington Monument to the East and the Lincoln Memorial to the West.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
This memorial was founded by Jan Scruggs, who served in Vietnam in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade from 1969 to 1970 as an infantry corporal. Although it is often referred to as VVM or The Wall, the official name is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The three figures at the Memorial are called "The Three Servicemen".

Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc raised nearly $9,000,000 through private contributions from corporations, foundations, unions, veterans, civic organizations and more than 275,000 individual Americans. No Federal funds were needed. This is a moving and must see memorial, it is not a war memorial but a memorial to all who served in the war, both living and dead.

Museum for Young and Old Alike:

The Smithsonian Institution
Located along the National Mall, you will be overwhelmed with the number of museums and galleries of the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex. Including 19 museums and galleries, 9 research centers and more than 140 affiliate museums around the world.

To Name a Few:

 
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Giant PandaJust when you think you have seen it all, both you and your children will be amazed and delighted at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. This zoo represents a large, complex and diverse organization. Demonstrating leadership in animal care, science, education and sustainability.

The Zoo is one of Washington's most popular tourist destinations, welcoming millions of visitors from local communities, throughout the country and worldwide.

Fun For Children:
The National Zoological Park is the place for your kids to learn about and marvel at wonderful animals. Learn about wildlife and about conservation. The gardens are a delight to all, in both beauty and peaceful surroundings. With approximately 2,000 animals, 400 different species, there are many exhibits throughout the National Zoo.

The American Trail offers a wooded area, featuring North American animals such as beavers, river otters, gray seals and California sea lions, to name a few. Also enjoy Giant Panda Habitat exhibits, Rainforest denizens, Great Cats and many, many more. 

Museum of Note:

The Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Holocaust MuseumBoth sobering and beautifully designed, this museum is highly recommended by tourists and experts alike. Upon entering the museum, you will be given an identification card with the name and personal information of someone who experienced the Holocaust. Many visitors have referred to this museum as powerful and moving. It is located to the South of the National Mall, off the Smithsonian metro stop.

Historic Sites:

The White House
The White House is the oldest public building in Washington, DC and has been the home to every president except George Washington. 

The White House has served as a residence, world embassy, reception area and office since John Adams. It has welcomed public tours (free of charge) as well as heads of state.

The Capitol Building
US Capitol BuildingFirst going under construction in 1793, the capitol building has been rebuilt, burned and restored over and over. It stands as a monument to the ingenuity, determination and skill of the American people. Through Thornton's design, there are three sections. The central section is topped with a dome and flanked on the North and South with two rectangular wings. One wing for the Senate and the other for the House of Representatives. The plan was accepted on April 5, 1793 and George Washington gave his formal approval on July 25th.

Got Shopping In Mind?

Washington D.C offers an enormous array of shops to appease any die-hard shopper. Stroll down M Street, Wisconsin and other surrounding streets to find just about anything you want. If you want a more local flare, head to the U Street corridor or Adams Morgan -- all located in Northwest, Washington.

On Sunday mornings, take a trip around Dupont Circle, the farmer's market is something you do not want to miss!

The Nightlife

For a night out on the town, Georgetown has something for everyone. From live music and dancing to opera and theater. Dupont Circle, enjoy a lively night scene that is geared toward young professionals. The Capitol South area offers a range more on the casual side.

Blues Alley

Georgetown RiverviewLocated in the heart of Georgetown, this is Jazz, as Jazz should be! This jazz supper club is the oldest continuing club in the country.

Upper Penang Road is considered the centre of Georgetown's nightlife. Loaded with pubs and nightclubs that come alive at night. Happy Hour is a very popular pastime in D.C!

Entertainment

If you are in the mood for music but not the bar scene, Northwest Washington has a great variety to fit your musical preferences. Busyboys & Poets offers open-mic nights while Black Cat has live music. The Kennedy Center is the perfect choice for opera and the Shakespeare Theatre Company will entertain you with wonderful plays performed by great talent.

Want to take a walk through history? Then you need to take in a show at Ford's Theatre, where President Lincoln was assassinated.

Visit Washington D.C -- learn a little history and have a lot of fun!