The United States capital is packed with iconic monuments, national museums, and other historical sites worth visiting. If you’re currently booking a flight to D.C., here are 7 things you should see once you land in Washington.
1. National Zoological Park
The National Zoological Park is home to two of the most famous pandas in the world: Tian Tian and Mei Xiang. Aside from the two giant pandas, the National Zoo also houses 1,800 animals. These animals are living in compounds reflecting their native settings. Visitors can enjoy orangutans swinging over the “O Line” near the Great Ape House or watch bird species fly in the Great Flight Cage. Best time to visit would be early morning or late afternoon to catch the animals in action.
2. Lincoln Memorial
As USA’s capital, Washington is home to Lincoln Memorial. The neoclassical monument of the famous 16th president stands at the west end of the National Mall. Designed by Henry Bacon, the grand memorial stands 190 feet long, 119 feet wide and almost 100 feet high. The statue itself is 19 feet high and weighs 175 tons. The size itself represents the greatness Lincoln brought to the country. This tourist spot is visited by millions annually. Adding to the popularity of the sight is when Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech back in 1963.
3. National Museum of American History
If you’re looking for a place that will bring out the American dream, head over to the National Museum of American History. Within its halls is 239 years of history together with 3.3 million artifacts. Enter the halls and head over to the Flag Hall to see the one and only original Star-Spangled Banner – the original wool and cotton flag that has been in use more than 200 years. Exhibits also include patent models of inventions by Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, Ralph Baer and Thomas Edison. Reserve a whole day when you visit the museum to truly capture the American spirit.
4. National Archives
The National Archives Building is informally known as Archives I. It is the original headquarters of the National Archives and Records Administration. The place preserves more than 12 billion paper records since 1774. It also carries billions of U.S. government electronic records. The documents worth seeing are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights – collectively known as Charters of Freedom. Each document is encased in bulletproof glass. Two hours will go by fast as you have a guided tour. Make sure you make reservations before heading there.
5. National Air and Space Museum
Be one of the millions that visit the country’s second most popular museum. Home to the world’s largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft, the museum is currently having a major overhaul of its grand hall. Do not worry as the museum remains open with its artifacts, including Bell X-1 (a.k.a. Glamorous Glennis), Mercury Friendship 7 and even a model of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek. Experience space by watching an IMAX film or a planetarium presentation. You’ll leave feeling interstellar. Buy tickets as early as two weeks in advance to get the best seat.
6. Malcolm X Park
An underrated park in Washington, D.C. is the Meridian Hill Park, more popularly known as Malcolm X Park. The place was built between 1912 and 1940. This structured urban park is unlike no other with its 12-acre site carrying unique statues such as a bronze statue of Joan of Arc, an 11-foot bronze sculpture of Dante Alighieri, and a white marble statue of Lt. Commander William Henry Scheutze. It also has the James Buchanan Memorial for the 15th president of the United States. The central feature of the park is the largest cascading fountain in North America.
7. White House
No trip to Washington is complete without a visit to the Executive Mansion. The White House has served as residence, office, reception site, and world embassy for every U.S. president since John Adams. A public tour inside the house includes the gold and white East Room, the Green Room that used to be Thomas Jefferson’s dining room, and the Oval Blue Room. Being a popular attraction, it is recommended you book a tour six months before your trip to be one of the thousands entering its majestic corridors.