The Jefferson, Washington, DC
Explore the world of giant pandas, elephants, gregarious gorillas, and nearly 400 other species at the national zoo. Home to more than 2,000 animals, the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park is a renowned attraction for the entire family. The zoo is free and open every day of the year, except for December 25th.
United States Capital Building
A visit to Washington, DC is not complete without experiencing the hallowed halls of the stately US Capital Building. A political and cultural landmark, the Capital Building offers tours that start with a short film illustrating the struggle for a truly representative democracy. Following the film, visitors will be guided through rooms to explore the famous artwork that fill the ornate structure and hear tales of dramatic and historic events that took place there. The Capital Building also has a small exhibition of historic artifacts.
Comprised of 19 museums and galleries, a zoo, and nine research facilities, the Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex connecting the diversity of world cultures. Admission is free for all Smithsonian museums and the zoo in Washington, D.C. and are open every day of the year, except December 25th.
From the 555 foot obelisk dedicated to George Washington to the Jefferson Memorial serenely situated on the Tidal Basin’s south shore, monuments and memorials have long made Washington one of the world’s most attractive capitals. Today, these and the hallowed Lincoln Memorial share space with sites offering more modern perspectives of sacrifice and honor: the Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans, National World War II, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials. Devote the better part of a day to exploring the area from 17th Street to West Potomac Park, but also plan to visit the monuments and memorials at night, when they are most breathtaking.
An eccentric waterfront neighborhood, Georgetown affords lively bars, designer shops, historic house museums, and picturesque gardens, lending an exciting experience for all visitors.
Boasting a 30-story central tower, 112 gargoyles, and 231 stained-glass windows, Washington National Cathedral is a striking Gothic landmark illustrating historic, spiritual, and architectural significance. Begun in 1907 and completed in 1990, the cathedral is the world’s sixth largest cathedral and has hosted three state funerals, President Wilson’s official burial, and countless services of national significance. Tours are available, and services are open to the public.
Opened in 1971, the Kennedy Center continues its efforts to fulfill President Kennedy's vision by producing and presenting an unmatched variety of theater and musicals, dance and ballet, orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, world, and folk music, and multi-media performances for all ages. Bearing President Kennedy's name, this institution touches the lives of millions of people with its commitment to the performing arts. As part of its mission to encourage the widest possible audience for the arts, the Kennedy Center offers the nation’s largest discount program for students, seniors, persons with disabilities, enlisted military personnel, and others with fixed low incomes.
Arlington National Cemetery
Paying tribute to the men and women who have devoted their lives to the United States, Arlington National Cemetery is a rewarding and engrossing experience. From the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where an honor guard keeps watch every minute of every hour of every day to the burial site of President John F. Kennedy, Arlington National Cemetery is a poignant destination. Rows of white tombstones line the property, one for each of the 14,000 veterans buried here dating back to the Civil War.
One of Washington's most popular attractions, the Spy Museum boasts films and interactive displays illustrating the exciting world of spies. From KGB lipstick pistols and invisible-ink letters to an exhibit on the Navajo code talkers and the history of spying going back to Moses, this museum is a fun learning experience for everyone.
Library of Congress
The largest library in the world, the Library of Congress is comprised of three buildings on Capital Hill, home to more than 151 million items in 470 languages with some 7000 items added daily. Established in 1800 as one of Thomas Jefferson’s legacies, the library has a new visitors center and a 90 seat theater where visitors can watch an informative documentary about the facility.
Highlighting the most momentous occasions in world history, the Newseum is a museum devoted to preserving the significance of current and historic events. From touching a large section of the Berlin Wall to seeing a crumpled antenna from the World Trade Center, the Newseum is filled with authentic artifacts, a gallery filled with newspaper front pages, and a collection of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs.
National Gallery of Art
Raphael, Botticelli, Degas, Picasso, Pollock: masterpiece after masterpiece line the walls of the National Gallery of Art. From the only da Vinci on display in the Western Hemisphere to over 1,000 vibrant Rothko paintings, this world-renowned museum is home to an astonishing 109,000 works. Founded in 1937, the gallery consists of the West Building, housing 13th through 20th century art, the East Building, featuring the modern and contemporary collections, and the beloved sculpture garden, which is open year-round.