National politics, historic monuments, museums, theatres, art galleries and quirky festivals – the U.S. capital city has a lot to offer.
Home to the seat of the United States government, Washington DC has often been overshadowed by national politics. But there is much more to the capital than white mansions and austere politicians. With more historic monuments than you can shake a stick at as well as a wealth of museums, art galleries, theatres and festivals, this is one city that will keep you on your toes.
Bursting with festivals and events, the capital attracts a wide variety of visitors all year round. Join the locals for Independence Day, catch a film at the Washington DC International Film Festival or get your groove on at the DC Jazz Festival. If theatre is your thing, visit The National Theatre, or if you’re on a tight budget, head to the Sidney Harman Hall for a free performance by the Shakespeare Theatre Company.
Washington DC is a city that lends itself beautifully to sightseeing. Make a beeline for the National Mall which contains a plethora of national monuments as well as some of the most beautifully landscaped gardens in the state. Pause to reflect at the Korean War Veterans Memorial before moving on to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, both of which are thought-provoking reminders of the human cost of war. Afterwards, smell the roses in the U.S. Botanic Garden before browsing the wonderful works of art in the National Gallery of Art.
Get some fresh air on your way to the iconic Washington Monument. From here, make the lovely walk along the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial. Stand on the steps where Dr Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech and gaze on the Capitol Building in the distance. Next, stroll under the gorgeous cherry trees on the walk to the Jefferson Memorial. These beauties bloom delightfully in spring so have your camera ready.
Visitors will be spoiled for choice with 19 museums under the umbrella of the outstanding Smithsonian Institute. If you are on a tight schedule, pop into the National Museum of Natural History before heading to the National Air and Space Museum to learn about the history of aviation.
Finally, if you only have time to do one thing in Washington DC, visit the Arlington National Cemetery. Perhaps the most famous military cemetery in the United States, this is a sombre and contemplative space. As you wander through the rows of small white grave markers, take a moment to reflect upon the 400,000 servicemen and women who are buried here. This might not be the first place you would consider visiting on your trip to Washington; but believe it or not, it will be the one you take home in your heart.