I spend a considerable amount of time in Washington D.C. as a tour leader. Regardless of where I travel, Washington D.C. holds its place firmly as one of my favorite cities in the world. It is remarkably beautiful. On any given day, one can walk in the footsteps of great leaders of our country and be a part of living history. You would be hard-pressed to find another place in the world where you can learn and experience so much in such a short period of time. Although this list can be heavily debated, the following make my list for my 5 favorite places in Washington D.C.:
- Library of Congress: The Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, is absolutely stunning and hands-down my favorite building in Washington D.C. See Thomas Jefferson’s library, the Gutenberg bible, artifacts from the early America’s and much more. Numerous touch-screen kiosks are dispersed throughout the library to further engage visitors. View the reading room or take an art tour. The Capitol can also be accessed via an underground tunnel.
- The Capitol Building: Go on a free tour of the Capitol and marvel at the artwork of Constantino Brumidi. The Capitol rotunda will not disappoint.
- Arlington National Cemetery: Our nation’s most sacred and hallowed grounds, Arlington National Cemetery is incredibly peaceful and picturesque. Soldiers are buried here from every war in our nation’s history, from the Revolutionary war through the war in Afghanistan, as well as President Kennedy and President Taft. It is a beautiful place to walk and to feel gratitude for the men and women who have served our country.
- Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns: Although occurring at Arlington National Cemetery, the Changing of the Guard deserves independent recognition as a Washington D.C. must-see. This solemn ceremony never fails to issue chills. It is a huge honor to be a member of the honor guard, and the men and women of the 3rd infantry conduct themselves with admirable reverence and respect for their duty. During spring and summer, the guard changes every half hour and during fall through winter, every hour. It is certainly worth the wait to see.
- Udvar-Hazy Center, National Air and Space Museum: Personally, I prefer the Udvar-Hazy Center, located near Dulles International Airport, over the Air and Space museum on the National Mall. The Udvar-Hazy Center is an actual hanger, with cement floors and high ceilings. The set-up is more open, and the crowds are minimal. Despite the historical aircraft, it feels as if a pilot could walk right in and take a plane for a spin. The SR-71 and Discovery space shuttle are located on ground level, where visitors can walk around all sides and view the air/space craft up close.
- Smithsonian American History Museum: What is not to love about the American History Museum? View artifacts from your favorite pop culture icons and presidents. See the star spangled banner. Tour Julia Child’s kitchen and see the Greensboro sit-in counter. Watch live performances from museum personnel.
What makes your list for a Washington D.C. must-see? Do you agree or disagree with the items on this list? Comment below!