What to see in Washington
Welcome to the city of the White House. The place where the main government institutions of the United States are located (President, Congress, Supreme Court), many ministries and federal agencies, and some international organizations; among these, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Organization of American States.
Washington DC, since it was declared capital, was the city that forever changed the political life of the most powerful nation on earth.
From this page, the main attractions, and what to see in Washington in a couple of days
The Mall or National Mall, is a huge and long avenue, relaxing and majestic. In this area, all the major monuments of Washington DC are located. It starts from the Lincoln Memorial, extending for about 3 km to the Capitol Hill. Unlike the big American cities, the spaces are huge; here, you can stroll and admire suggestive views, thanks to the lack of skyscrapers.
Allow at least half a day to cover it entirely, and visit all the monuments you will encounter along the way.
FREE access to all museums is, without doubt, the added value! Moreover, hospitality and cordiality are at home in all the facilities.
The idea of creating a monumental avenue in the city is due to the French architect Pierre Charles l’Enfant, in 1791. However, it was only after the Mc Millan commission in the twentieth century, that he gave a positive opinion to the concrete realization of the National Mall .
The visit can start from Capitol Hill. You can reach it by metro with the gray/blue line in about 20 minutes, getting off at the Capitol South station; as soon as you leave, you will be in front of the building.
It stands on a hill at the eastern end of the National Mall. Its huge white dome of 86 meters in diameter, represents one of the American icons, absolutely inevitable in your itineraries!
Built in Neoclassical style, the large white dome divides the Capitol into two. In the north wing the United States Senate is installed, while in the south the House of Representatives; on the top of the dome there is a bronze Statue of Liberty.
For the visit, you will need to receive accreditation at the visitor center, located a stone’s throw from Capitol Hill; here, you can find maps and lots of information. Please note that access is free.
We highly recommend visiting it on weekdays. The area is full of characters from political life; in this way, you can experience the scenes of everyday life live. It is open every day, from Monday to Saturday, from 08.30 to 16.30. Closed on Sundays and on numerous holidays.
Info and updates on the official website www.visitthecapitol.gov
Don’t miss the Library of Congress. It is a large, ancient, and prestigious library, south-east of the Capitol. An underpass connects the latter to the Capitol. Info on the official website: www.Loc.gov
Walking along the avenue, about 10 minutes away, is the National Gallery of Art of Washington DC.
WHAT TO SEE IN WASHINGTON: NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART
Photo ©, Ken Lund
A magnificent Gallery, very rich and perfectly organized. A place that has little or nothing to envy the renowned Galleries of New York or Boston.
It is one of the largest and most authoritative art museums in the world. The present collections cover almost seven hundred years of art history.
The gallery of the National Gallery is the largest and most complete in the United States; the works start from the Byzantine art, up to the 20th century.
The gallery was formed thanks to donations from the American and non-American magnates. Inside, in addition to the classic exhibitions of French and Flemish/Dutch artists, there is a vast Italian representation. In particular: Giotto, Raphael, Michelangelo, Vincenzo Bellini, Perugino, Andrea Mantegna and many others.
Given the vastness of the exhibition, it is better to organize in advance, based on one’s interests. We report, inside, the presence of some refreshment points, and, in particular, a self service in the large space used. Take advantage of this, as the National Mall is lacking in this respect.
The Gallery is free, and open every day, from Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 17:00. Sunday, 11:00 to 18:00 Info on the official website: www.nga.gov
Leaving the National Gallery, don distant, on your right, you will begin to see the splendid obelisk of the Washington Memorial.
If you are looking for what to see in Washington, you can’t miss climbing the top of the Memorial. From the top of the monument, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city, including the White House. We are sure that it will be an unforgettable visual experience.
Since it is one of the attractions most appreciated by visitors coming to Washington DC, we recommend booking the visit and the climb, if you do not want to miss your day waiting.
For info and reservations, Kanoa recommends the Government website: www.nps.gov
Once down, take a walk along the Reflecting Pool, so called because once you get there, on the other side, you can admire the obelisk that is reflected in the huge pool. The place was immortalized by the film Forrest Gump, when, back from Vietnam, the protagonist made the speech to the pacifists.
Dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States of America, as well as one of the most beloved, embodies the spirit of American belonging.
The structure is really impressive. The project was by Henry Bacon while the statue of Lincoln was entrusted to the sculptor Daniel Chester French; the large temple is in Doric style in white marble.
Between the columns, sheltered, there is the sixteenth president of the United States of America with a proud look, sitting on his unfailing chair. Lincoln was the symbol of American democracy, inciting an entire country to values such as freedom and equality!
“I have a dream” quoted Martin Luther King, in his famous speech, right in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It was August 28, 1963, at the end of a protest march for civil rights. It was one of the most famous speeches in American history and in general of all those who fight, or who fought for civil rights.
The Lincoln Memorial is run by the National Park Service, open 24 hours a day except for Christmas. Also in this case, entry is free.
For those wishing to arrive by public transport, we recommend the bus, getting off at the NW Constitution Av & NW 22ND St. stop.
SMITHSONIAN AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM
Are you passionate about airplanes and spaceships? Are you looking for what to see in Washington with your children? Then, you cannot miss a visit to this extraordinary museum. Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, is one of the most beautiful, and fascinating, in the United States.
We are sure that you will live your journey through the stars … at least with your imagination!
It is a museum dedicated to flight and space. You will find lots of airplanes, of all sizes and types, and numerous rooms dedicated to specific themes; one for children, with many interactive activities; one for the first flights (with the Wright brothers’ plane); one dedicated to the moon; one that “transports” itself inside an aircraft carrier; one dedicated to the space shuttle. It is truly an experience to try!
The museum is open every day, from Monday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:30. Closed on December 25th. Info and updates on the official website airandspace.si.edu
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
The classic place that brings everyone together, about what to see in Washington. Adults and children alike will appreciate the impressive exhibition, mostly owned by the Smithsonian Institute. The National Museum of Natural History is considered one of the largest natural history museums in the world, housed in a huge building from 1910.
Located along the National Mall, from which you will access the ground floor, it has another entrance on Constitution Avenue.
In the three floors of the museum, you can admire the different aspects of natural history in the world. In the basement, you will find almost exclusively services, toilets, restaurants, gift shops, etc. Of note, on the other hand, is the large room dedicated to birds and ecosystems. On the ground floor, in the center of the hall, you can admire a huge stuffed African elephant. It is considered the largest specimen ever captured. The collection in Dinosaur Hall is very rich, with incredible representations on a real scale, and animals that move more or less realistically. The first floor houses a collection of precious and gems, coming from all over the world; here, the famous Hope Diamond, which with its 45 carats is the largest blue diamond in the world is kept. Kanoa recommends the official website for detailed info: www.NaturalHistory.si.edu
NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
The National Portrait Gallery is an art gallery of great value, and of world importance. Part of the Smithsonian Institution, like the vast majority of Washington DC museums, is free.
The collection of the National Portrait Gallery is composed of various forms of portraiture: paintings, graphics, sculptures and new media. Presidents of the United States are represented, scientists, actors, political activists, artists, criminals and heroes, to present a complete vision of American history.
Do not miss the room where the portraits of all the Presidents of the United States of America are displayed.
The Portrait Gallery is located in the DownTown area, not far from the National Mall; the metro stop is Judiciary Square Metro Station (red line).
The gallery is open every day, from Monday to Sunday, from 11:30 to 19:00. Official Website: www.npg.si.edu
What to see in Washington? Obviously, the White House is one of the symbolic logos of all of America.
THE WHITE HOUSE
At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the famous White House is located, where the President of the United States resides. Who knows how many times you have seen, from home, the images of what is the safest place in the States.
The White House is very centrally located. It is located just north of the National Mall, south of Dupont Circle, west of Downtown & Capitol Hill and East of Georgetown.
Initially, the project was assigned to the French Pierre L ‘Enfant; later, it was entrusted to the architect of Irish origin James Hoban.
The building, from the outside, is very simple, in full neoclassical style. It is certainly less impressive and luxurious than the European Government residences. It has two entrances: the North, and the South.
Visiting the White House, for those not American, is practically impossible; although everyone has dreamed of visiting the rooms of power, and despite the film-binge about the famous room of the President of the United States.
Kanoa recommends the official website for detailed info: www.thewhitehouse.gov
The ideal is to arrive on foot. Alternatively, you can take the Blue, Orange or Silver metro and get off at Farragut West Metro Station, or at McPherson Sq Metro Station. There are also many buses that stop near the White House.
Although there is so much to see, we recommend preparing your visit in time, organizing everything. Perhaps, you could spend the entire morning visiting, relegating to the afternoon a bit of relaxation between shopping and the many curiosities that Washington DC offers.