Few United States destinations boast as much political power and historical importance as Washington, D.C. If you plan on visiting in the near future, be sure to see these unique landmarks. The D.C. Metro area includes “The District” (of Columbia), as well as Chevy Chase and Bethesda (southern Maryland), Pentagon City and Arlington (Virginia). Many District workers commute from as far away as Alexandria and Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, due to D.C.’s excellent transit authority and highway loops.
A Note About Transportation
Few things are more annoying or frustrating while visiting this impressive city than being stuck in rush-hour traffic, or playing hide-and-seek with a parking spot and getting a ticket anyway; D.C. makes 40% of its revenue from parking violations, need I say more? If you want to tour its many attractions or historical sites without the hassle, consider boarding the DCMetro Subway. It’s clean, sophisticated (most of our businessmen ride it as well), inexpensive, modern and a fun way to get around Washington. Weekends you will have to wait longer between rides so check the schedules before leaving your hotel (wmata.com). DCMetro also operates the city buses, which are newer and comfortable; also providing express routes to places like Georgetown and Dupont Circle.
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum
Few air and spacecraft collections in the U.S. can compare to those found at this spectacular museum. Not only does it boast the world’s largest collection of historic air and spacecraft, but it’s also an important research and study center for the technology, history and science of space flight and aviation. There are plenty of hands-on exhibits, along with hundreds of priceless artifacts; including the Apollo 11 command module, the original Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer, and even a Lunar rock brought back from a moon walk.
Located at the eastern end of the Washington Mall, this famous monument is the tallest building in D.C. and easily the most recognizable. Topping out at an approximate 555 feet, this must-see testament to our nation’s first father features an observation deck with views in excess of 30 miles! Admission to the Washington Monument is free of charge (as are most of them), yet an admission ticket is still required. Be sure to check ahead as our monuments and museums are closed on some holidays (and the Metro runs slower as well).
The National Mall
From infamous protests and rally’s to the Presidential Inauguration, from the home of our Congress (the Capitol) to the heart-stopping Vietnam Memorial, from the famous open-air Lincoln Memorial to just sharing space with your fellow countrymen, the National Mall is not to be missed. You can ride your bike, stroll or jog, throw down a blanket picnic, and roam in and out of the many museums. There’s no place like it on this earth and you should make it, at least once in your life.
Touring the White House
If have some real time to plan your trip to D.C., be sure to secure a tour of our President’s home. (By the way, the Vice President’s residence, as well as the various international embassies and our National Cathedral are worth the effort as well.) Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House contains historical architecture, a wealth of famous art and presidential relics, and is the pivotal hotspot for social events, press relations and world leaders. You must submit a tour request through your state’s member of Congress (see the website for details at whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events).
Whether a lover of history, political gymnastics, culture or the arts, you really must experience a few days in Washington, D.C. Plan ahead, determine the attractions or destinations you want to see, and then choose your accommodations close to them (or close to a Metro stop). Bring your walking shoes, an umbrella and buy a walking map ahead of time (so will have your bearings when you get there); being lost can use up way too much of your precious sightseeing time.