Washington DC Area



Skyline View of Monuments on the National Mall

The National Mall is an open-area national park in downtown Washington, DC. The term National Mall commonly includes areas that are officially part of West Potomac Park and Constitution Gardens to the west, and often is taken to refer to the entire area between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol, with the Washington Monument providing a division slightly west of the center. The National Mall receives approximately 24 million visitors each year. The Mall has many museums, like the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art. It is located between the US Capitol and the Washington Monument. It is a popular place, and is used for exercise, recreation, music concerts, festivals, and protests. Over 25 million people come to the Mall each year. Some of the biggest events are the Cherry Blossom Festival, the National Book Festival, an Earth Day festival, and parades on Veteran's Day and Independence Day. Protests and rallies also happen at the Mall. One of the most famous was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his I Have a Dream speech. A rally in 1969 to end the Vietnam War was the biggest protest on the Mall. Over 2 million people came and marched to the White House. In 1995, the Million Man March was held on the Mall.


The White House

The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, the house was built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia Creek sandstone in the Neoclassical style. It has been the residence of every US president since John Adams. Today, the White House Complex includes the Executive Residence, West Wing, East Wing, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which houses offices for the President's staff and the Vice President, and Blair House, a guest residence. The term White House is regularly used as a metonym for the Executive Office of the President of the United States and for the president's administration and advisers. The property is a National Heritage Site and is part of the President's Park.


The National Zoo

The National Zoological Park, aka the National Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in the US, and as part of the Smithsonian Institution, does not charge admission. Founded in 1889, the Zoo has two campuses. One is a 163-acre urban park in northwest DC, 20 minutes from the National Mall by Metro. The other is the 3,200-acre Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, VA. Together the two facilities contain 2,000 animals of 400 different species. About one-fifth of them are endangered or threatened. Most species are on exhibit at the Zoo's Rock Creek Park (northwest DC) campus. The best known residents are the giant pandas. The Zoo has been the home to giant pandas for more than 30 years. First Hsing Hsing and Ling Ling in 1972, and, since 2000, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. On July 9, 2005, Mei Xiang gave birth to Tai Shan, who went to China in February 2010. Today, all animals live in natural groupings rather than as individuals. Rare and endangered species, such as golden lion tamarins, Sumatran tigers, and sarus cranes, breed and raise their young - a testament to the success of the Zoo's conservation and research programs. The National Zoo is open every day of the year except Christmas Day. The Zoo attracts 2 million visitors per year.


The National Cathedral

The "Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul", popularly known as Washington National Cathedral, is a cathedral of the Episcopal Church located in Washington, DC. Of neogothic design, it is the sixth-largest cathedral in the world, the second-largest in the United States, and the fourth-tallest structure in Washington, DC The cathedral is the seat of both the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the Bishop of the Diocese of Washington. In 2009, nearly 400,000 visitors toured the structure. Average attendance at Sunday services in 2009 was 1,667, the highest of all domestic parishes in the Episcopal Church that year. Construction began on September 29, 1907, when the foundation stone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and a crowd of more than 20,000, and ended 83 years later when the last finial was placed in the presence of President George H. W. Bush in 1990. Decorative work, such as carvings and statuary, is ongoing as of 2011. The cathedral is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Congress has designated the Washington National Cathedral as the "National House of Prayer". During World War II, monthly services were held there "on behalf of a united people in a time of emergency". Before and since, the building has hosted other major events, both religious and secular, that have drawn the attention of the American people.


Statue at Viet Nam Memoriaal

The Three Soldiers is a bronze statue, on the National Mall commemorating the Vietnam War. This well-known sculpture portrays three young US fighting men, completely dressed and outfitted in uniforms and equipment used by US infantrymen. While the military attire is meant to be symbolic and general in nature, the personal combat equipment displayed is actually quite specific in representing the figures as serving in either the US Army or US Marine Corps. Of the three fighting men, the lead figure (middle) represents a Marine, as he wears a Type M-1955 body armor vest, which was worn exclusively by Marines. The man on the right wears combat equipment consistent with a US Army Soldier, and the man on the left is slightly less specific in the service representation of his gear and uniform, but appears to be a US Army Soldier, as he wears a Tropical ("Boonie") Hat, which was widely worn by Army combat personnel. The Three Soldiers statue was designed to supplement the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, by adding a more traditional component such as a statue that depicted warriors from that war. The statue was unveiled on Veterans Day, 1984.


Combat Boots Left at Wall - Viet Nam Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors US service members of the US armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, those who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those who were unaccounted for (Missing In Action) during the War. The Memorial currently consists of three separate parts: the Three Soldiers statue, the Vietnam Women's Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, which is the best-known part of the memorial. Completed in 1982 with 58,195 names originally, the main part of the memorial is in Constitution Gardens, and receives around 3 million visitors each year. The Memorial Wall is made up of two gabbro walls 246 feet 9 inches long, sunk into the ground, with the earth behind them. At the highest tip where the walls meet, they are 10.1 feet high, and taper to a height of eight inches at their extremities. Stone for the wall came from India, and was deliberately chosen because of its reflective quality. When a visitor looks upon the wall, htheir reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, which is meant to symbolically bring the past and present together. One wall points toward the Washington Monument, the other in the direction of the Lincoln Memorial, meeting at an angle of 125 degrees. Each wall has 72 panels, 70 listing names and 2 very small blank panels at the ends. There is a pathway along the base of the Wall, where visitors may walk, read the names, make a pencil rubbing of a particular name, or pray.


Old Post Office

The Old Post Office Pavilion, also known as Old Post Office and Clock Tower and officially renamed the Nancy Hanks Center in 1983, is an historic building of the US government. It is located at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in the Downtown neighborhood. Built in 1892-99, its rustication, strong semi-circular arches, squat clustered columns united by a foliate Sullivanesque capital-frieze, make it the last major example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture to be constructed in the District of Columbia. Its 315 ft-high clocktower makes the building the largest commercial building and the third tallest structure in Washington, DC. Scarcely used as a post office, expansive interior atrium is now home to shops, federal offices, entertainment space and a food court. As of 2012, it has been declared surplus by the government and is set to be completely rebuilt as Trump International Hotel Washington, DC.


Navy Memorial at Night

The US Navy Memorial honors those who have served or are currently serving in the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marine. Associated with the Memorial is the Naval Heritage Center, open 362 days a year, closing only on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. The Memorial is home to the Memorial Plaza, which features "The Lone Sailor" statue - a tribute to all personnel of the sea services that overlooks the "Granite Sea", an exact replication of the world's oceans. Surrounding the Granite Sea are two fountain pools, honoring the personnel of the American Navy and the other navies of the world. The southern hemisphere of the Granite Sea is surrounded by 26 bronze base-reliefs commemorating the various sea services. On an outdoor wall at the Naval Memorial are engraved noteworthy sayings from the history of the US Navy. The Memorial was dedicated on October 13, 1987.


Jefferson Memorial

Composed of circular marble steps, a portico, a circular colonnade of Ionic order columns, and a shallow dome, the Jwfferson Memorial is open to the elements. It is situated in West Potomac Park, on the shore of the Tidal Basin of the Potomac River. The interior of the memorial has a 19-foot tall, bronze statue showing Jefferson looking out toward the White House. This statue was added four years after the dedication. Most prominent are the words which are inscribed in a frieze below the dome: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." This sentence is taken from a September 23, 1800, letter by Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush wherein he defends the constitutional refusal to recognize a state religion. On the panel of the southwest interior wall are excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776.


Smithsonion Castle

The Smithsonian Castle, located on the National Mall behind the National Museum of African Art, houses the Smithsonian Institution's administrative offices and information center. The building is constructed of red Seneca sandstone in the faux Norman style and is appropriately nicknamed The Castle. The Castle was the first Smithsonian building, begun in 1847 by architect James Renwick, Jr., whose other works include St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery. Renwick was selected by a unanimous vote following a design competition in 1846. A cardboard model of Renwick's successful design survives. The East Wing was completed in 1849 and occupied by Secretary Joseph Henry and his family. A statue of Secretary Joseph Henry is displayed in front of the building.


Iwo Jima Memorial

The Marine Corps War Memorial (also called the Iwo Jima Memorial) is a statue outside the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The memorial is dedicated to all personnel of the United States Marine Corps who have died in the defense of their country since 1775. The design of the massive sculpture was based on the iconic photo Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The memorial features the Marines and Sailor who raised the second flag over Iwo Jima. In 1951, work commenced on creating a cast bronze memorial based on the photo, with the figures 32 feet tall and flagpole 60 feet. The granite base of the memorial bears two inscriptions: "In honor and memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since 10 November 1775" and "Uncommon Valor Was a Common Virtue." This is a tribute by Admiral Chester Nimitz to the fighting men on Iwo Jima.


Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is located in West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., southwest of the National Mall (but within the larger area commonly referred to as the "National Mall"). The national memorial is America's 395th unit in the national park service. The monumental memorial is located at the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, on a sightline linking the Lincoln Memorial to the northwest and the Jefferson Memorial to the southeast. The official address of the monument, 1964 Independence Avenue, SW, commemorates the year that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law. Covering four acres, the memorial opened to the public on August 22, 2011. A ceremony dedicating the Memorial was scheduled for Sunday, August 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 but was postponed until October 16 (the 16th anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March on the National Mall) due to Hurricane Irene.


Union Station

Union Station opened in October 1907, and is one of Washington's busiest and best-known places. Visited by 32 million people each year, it has many shops, cafes and restaurants. Passenger services include Amtrak; the MARC and VRE commuter railways; and the Washington Metro Red Line, which is located underground beneath the western side of the building, and is the busiest station in the Metro system. Union Station is at the southern end of the Northeast Corridor, extending north through major cities including Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.


Georgetown at Night

Georgetown is a historic neighborhood, commercial, and entertainment district located in northwest Washington, D.C., situated along the Potomac River. Founded in 1751, the port of Georgetown predated the establishment of the federal district and the City of Washington by 40 years. The primary commercial corridors of Georgetown are the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue & M Street, which contain high-end shops, bars, restaurants, and the Georgetown Park enclosed shopping mall, as well as the Washington Harbour waterfront restaurants at K Street, NW, between 30th and 31st Streets. Georgetown is home to the main campus of Georgetown University and numerous other landmarks, such as the Volta Bureau and the Old Stone House, the oldest unchanged building in Washington. The embassies of France, Mongolia, Sweden, Thailand, and Ukraine are located in Georgetown.


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