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
This 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.
This 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!
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 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:
To Name a Few:
The Zoo is one of Washington's most popular tourist destinations, welcoming millions of visitors from local communities, throughout the country and worldwide.
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:
Both 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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!