D.C. Attractions
No visit to D.C. would be complete without exploring the many attractions it holds. The Capitol has a great deal to offer, with its rich culture and pleasant views (which are notably clear thanks to an act passed by Congress in 1910 restricting the height of buildings there).

Listed below is a sampling of many of the sites you may want to pencil-in on your itinerary.

Government Institutions
As headquarters to the federal government, D.C. is filled with spectacular buildings connected to our nation's heritage and democracy. Among those that merit a visit are the:

Photo courtesy The Architect of the Capitol
The Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress

Museums
The Smithsonian Institution, dubbed "the nation's attic," is actually a collection of 16 museums (plus 98 affiliate museums and 7 research centers). Exhibits cover a huge range of fields -- including science, art, natural history and technology. Just a few of the amazing artifacts you will find within member museums are:

  • The magnificent Hope Diamond
  • The Apollo 11 Command Module "Columbia" that carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins on their historic voyage to the moon
  • Celebrated Giant Pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian on loan from China
  • Artworks by Whistler, Rodin, Degas, and Matisse
  • The compass that guided Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to unexplored Western territories in 1804


Photo courtesy Smithsonian Institution
The Hope Diamond

Besides the Smithsonian, the D.C. area offers an incredible number of museums and galleries. There really are too many to mention here, but as an example of the variety, check out this brief listing:

For a more comprehensive account of museums and galleries, visit this Web site.


Photo courtesy National Park Service
Lincoln Memorial
Monuments and Memorials
Washington, D.C. is renowned for its abundance of monuments and memorials, which pay tribute to legendary presidents and war heroes, among others. Those most notable are the:

Other Attractions
Believe it or not, there are several sites to see apart from government buildings, museums, and statues. For example, you could tour one of the nearby colleges or universities. Also, there's the Chesapeake & Ohio canal and Union Station. Or, you might visit one of these religious or cultural centers:

There's also plenty to see and do outside the city limits. In Arlington, Virginia, you can visit Arlington National Cemetery. Also nearby in Virginia, is Old Town Alexandria. Originally an important port in colonial America, today this area is alive with restaurants, shops, and artisans. Northwest of D.C. is Bethesda, Maryland, which is home of the distinguished National Institutes of Health. Also in Maryland, you'll find the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

For more information on Washington, D.C. and related topics, including where to find out about events and entertainment in the area, check out the links on the following page.