Washington DC is the hub of American History. With endless museums and monuments to choose from, it is impossible to see it all in just one visit. So the best plan of attack is to select an area of focus and go for it the best you can.
During my visit to DC, a constant drizzle of rain seemed to takeover downtown; but nonetheless, the historical importance of every street, building and monument still shined bright. So even when the clouds are out, grab a raincoat and walk down some of the most important streets in all of America (and on a sunny day, renting a bike is the most efficient way to see the sites!)
The White House:
Obviously the most important home in all of America, you can get an up close view of the President’s house on Pennsylvania Ave. But because of recent issues with trespassers, expect massive amounts of security and to have to view it from quite a ways back.
A Smithsonian museum:
There are eleven Smithsonian museums to choose from, so make sure to explore at least one while in town. I was personally quite impressed with the Aerospace museum, as it has everything from authentic and used spaceships, fighter jets and passenger planes. There are also numerous 3D films you can view at the museums. Just keep in mind when planning your trip that most museums in DC are closed on Mondays and that nearly half a day is needed to simply grasp the surface of just one of these impressive museums.
Getting a glimpse into where some of the most crucial national and international security decisions are made will be a highlight of any trip to DC. Find time to also walk through the memorial to the victims of 9-11 and
The Marine Memorial:
Only a five minute drive from the Pentagon is the most iconic military memorial in America today. Not only does this monument represent a key victory in Iwa Jima during WWII, but it also captures the essence of being for the Marines. Surrounding the statue of the soldiers is a long list of every war the American Marines have fought in.
Some of America’s greatest heroes are buried in this cemetery dating back to the American Civil War. Formerly part of Robert E. Lee’s massive estate, the government once confiscated this land only to return it to his wife after a Supreme Court hearing in 1882. Make sure to also pay respects to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The grandness of President Lincoln and the large impact he had for the US is adequately captured in this monument. Make sure while inside to read the entire Gettysburg address that is engraved on the inside of the monument. Also make sure to absorb the beautiful vantage point this monument offers of both the National Mall and the Washington Memorial.
A surprising personal favorite of mine was the Korean memorial. The combination of unique garden landscape with the harsh stone replicas of the soldiers gives insight into the realities of this war. Take note of the endless faces of soldiers placed in the surrounding wall.