Presentation of the destination
The capital of the United States is known, both at home and abroad, as one of the most interesting, informative, and exciting places to visit in North America. The city boasts over 200 years of history and is the seat of all three branches of the United States Government. Washington is home to over 70 museums and monuments, and is a centerpiece of American culture. It’s one of the most diverse cities in the country, with large populations of African-Americans (who are the majority in the city), Whites, Hispanics, and people from every corner of the globe, who come to work at the embassies of their home countries. The city was created by order of Congress in 1790 through the “Compromise of 1790,” which appropriated land from two states (Maryland and Virginia) to create a “Federal District” that would not be administered by any state, but rather, directly by Congress.
Points of interests / things to see
This museum has the largest and most important collection of space and aviation artifacts, featuring every era and aspect of manned flight. With their two facilities combined, the Smithsonian takes in over 8 million visitors per year. The museum’s aviation collection began in 1876 when the Imperial Chinese Commission donated a group of oriental kites to the Smithsonian institution. The Air and Space Museum itself officially began in 1946 when Congress created it by act of law. Here you can see the original Wright Flyer, the powered glider that Orville and Wilbur Wright flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903, making the first actual manned, powered, heavier-than-air flight. You can also check out the “Apollo to the Moon” exhibit, which shows the American Apollo project and its missions to the moon, or the “Space Race” exhibit, where you’ll see examples of U.S. and Soviet space technology and weapons from the era when the two superpowers faced off in a great “Cold War” for domination of the world. Among the many exhibits, don’t miss the “Spirit and Opportunity: 10 Years Roving Across Mars” exhibit, a chronicle of the achievements of the Mars unmanned rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, which far exceeded mission expectations to become the furthest-traveled rovers sent to Mars so far. The museum is open every day except December 25th (Christmas). Admission is free. Operating hours are 1000 (10:00AM) – 1730 (5:30PM). The museum is located at 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC.
The most popular natural history museum and the most visited museum of any type in North America deserves its reputation. A total collection of over 126 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, meteorites, and anthropological artifacts, as well as 185 natural history scientists on staff make this place the real deal, and an unrivaled source of natural history knowledge. And did we mention that it’s free to visit?Founded in 1846, the “National Museum” (as it was originally known) was a place of research and study until 1910, when it opened its doors to the public.While there is too much at this museum to list, there are several highlights to check out if this is your first visit. In the Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals, which houses some of the most famous gems in the world, including the Hope Diamond and the Star of Asia Sapphire. There are more than 15,000 gems in the collection, 350,000 minerals, and 300,000 samples of rock and ore. At the Hall of Human Origins, you can learn about the evolutionary family tree of humanity, as well as see 75 replica skulls of hominid species from throughout history.In the Hall of Paleobiology, there are 570,000 reptiles from all over the world, complete with dinosaur skeletons. The Hall of Paleobiology is scheduled to have a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton beginning in Spring 2014. Find the museum at 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC.
Just next to the Washington National Mall, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is the nation’s official memorial to the Holocaust and its victims. The museum is dedicated to the study and documentation of the Holocaust and its history.The collections at the museum contain more than 12,750 artifacts, 49 million pages of archival documents, 80,000 historical photographs, over 1,000 hours of footage, 84,000 library items, and much more. The initial exhibition at the museum is the Hall of Remembrance, which is the official memorial to the Holocaust, where you can light candles, see the eternal flame, or view plaques in the silence of the large, hexagon-shaped hall. At the Permanent Exhibition on the fourth floor, there are 900 artifacts, 70 video screens, and a chronological history of the Holocaust from its beginning under Adolf Hitler’s regime until 1945. In this first area there’s also information about the Aryan ideology, anti-semitism, and the evolution of the Nazi ideology. This exhibition continues down two floors, with ghettos and the “Final Solution” on the third floor and the liberation of the camps by Allied forces on the second floor. Admission is free, but the Permanent Exhibition requires a time-limited pass. The museum is located at 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW, Washington, DC.Hours are variable. Check http://www.ushmm.org/information/plan-a-visit/museum-hours to see if they are open when you plan to visit.
15 Theaters, 14 galleries, and seven floors of this large museum are dedicated to news and journalism history, technology, and knowledge. It was created to celebrate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution: specifically, the freedom of the press and free speech guarantees that it offers. The museum is very popular, and has a plethora of exhibits. In the “Great Hall of News,” a 90-foot tall screen shows the latest news from all over the world. There’s also a replica of a communications satellite and a Bell news helicopter suspended from the ceiling.In the “News Corporation News History Gallery: The Story of News,” you can see a timeline of historical newspapers and magazines. Here there are hundreds of historical artifacts and memorabilia that go all the way back to 1603.Don’t miss the “Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery,” which is a collection of prize-winning photographs, as well as a series of interviews with photographers in a documentary that shows how many of the photos were captured and who captured them. A database of 300 video clips, 400 audio clips, and a thousand photos await visitors here.According to the Newseum’s website, they are open from 0900 (9AM) to 1700 (5PM) daily and are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.Admission:$22.95 (plus tax) for adults aged 19-64$18.95 for seniors 65 and older,$13.95 for youth aged 7 to 18,Free for children 6 and younger.
Publicly open and free of charge, the National Gallery of Art and the Sculpture Garden that accompanies it are a can’t-miss attraction for any art aficionados visiting Washington. The museum is replete with art that goes all the way back to the Middle Ages (including the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas).The museum was created in 1937 by Congress, when art collector Andrew W. Mellon made a large donation. The prints collection is made up of over 75,000 prints and rare books, and there are some extremely famous works, such as “The Dying Gaul” (an ancient Roman sculpture). This masterpiece sculpture is of a nude Celtic warrior, and is a copy of a Greek sculpture from the third century BC. There’s also Vincent van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait,” the famous visage of the troubled but talented artist. Don’t miss a recent addition, the “Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections” exhibit, where about 170 works of art dating from the beginning of the Byzantine Empire to its end are on display. These are drawn from collections around Greece and include sculptures, mosaics, manuscripts, frescoes, jewelry, metalwork, embroideries, glass, ceramics, and coins. The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets NW along Constitution Avenue NW.There is no admission charge; the museum is free.Hours:Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Sunday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.Sculpture Garden Hours:Monday-Saturday: 1000 (10AM) - 1700 (5PM)Sunday: 1100 (11AM) - 1800 (6PM)Closed December 25 and January 1
This national monument was built to honor Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. It is located just across from the Washington Monument and was built in 1922. The structure houses a huge statue of Lincoln sitting in a stone chair, and is in the Greek Doric style built to resemble a temple. Near the statue are two inscriptions of famous speeches by Abraham Lincoln: The Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address. This was also the site of Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech, which was given on August 28, 1963.The memorial is located at 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC.
The world’s tallest all-stone structure and tallest obelisk towers ominously near the Potomac river in Washington. This monument was created to honor George Washington, the commander of the American Revolutionary Army and the new nation’s first president. He was so influential that even his enemy, King George III, remarked that he was "the greatest character of the age.”Construction on the monument began in 1848, and was significantly hampered by the American Civil War and by bickering amongst its supporters. It was finally completed in 1884 and opened in 1885. To this day, it remains an icon of Washington DC. It is located at 2 15th St NW, Washington, DC. Admission is free.
This park is a great place to sightsee and to take in the majesty of America’s capital city. About two miles long and 309 acres, it is also a fantastic in-between place for the National Museum of Natural History, the National Gallery of Art, the National Air and Space Museum, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the National Museum of American History, and more. The Mall is often a focal point of large-scale rallies and protests of any type. During warmer months there are as many as several protests a week at the National Mall. You’ll find the Mall in the southwest corner of the District, near Constitution Ave. and Independence Ave.
This memorial, completed and opened in 2004, is visited by 4.4 million people each year and is dedicated to the men and women who served the United States during the Second World War. The memorial consists of 56 granite pillars erected in a semicircle around a plaza with a pool in the center. At the northern and southern ends are two victory arches that represent the two theaters of combat that the United States participated in: the European and Pacific. It is located between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument in the National Mall on 17th St SW, Washington, DC.
Vacation rentals in Washington (District of Columbia)
How to get there ?
If you fly into Washington via American, JetBlue, or United Airlines, you will come in to the Washington Dulles International Airport. If you fly US Airways, you will arrive at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. If flying Southwest or AirTran, you will come in to the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. If you fly Delta Shuttle or US Airways Shuttle, you will land in Ronal Reagan Washington National Airport.From any of these airports, you can take a public train, a taxi, or a shuttle into the city. One of the best ways to get around the city is by riding the Metrobus. It is inexpensive and handicap accessible, and if you want, you can get a SmarTrip Card, which allows you to pay money onto a card that gives you quick access to both the Metrobuses and the Metrorail commuter trains. Find out more here: http://www.wmata.com/You can also rent a vehicle at any of the aforementioned airports, which grants you a little more freedom to explore. Interstate 495 circles the city. If going west, Interstate 66 will take you to Virginia through Arlington and eventually Manassas, and Interstate 95 will take you north to Baltimore or south to Fredericksburg and Richmond.
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Hotels in Washington (District of Columbia)