The home of the White House and location of the reunion of Jenny and Forrest in the epic Forrest Gump, Washington D.C is bursting at the seams with tourist attractions that document America’s complex history.
I only spent two days here, but I know I saw the best this magic city has to offer. I love my home country Australia, and there’s plenty to see and do, but there’s nothing like this. Washington looks like it was made for films. Wandering the city is like stepping into a world constructed for the future on framework of the past.
Within the infamous National Mall in the middle of the city, you’ll see the Washington Monument, the gigantic Lincoln Memorial, and the poignant World War II Memorial with its arches, pillars, pool of reflection, and 4,048 gold stars that each represent 100 men lost in the war.
You can walk most of the city, from monument to monument, within about three hours; it’s flat, clean, and beautiful in any weather. If walking isn’t your idea of a good time, there’s plenty of public transport, including Metrobus, Mertorail, the DC Circulator ($1 per ride!), and even city bikes for hire.
Alongside the recognizable monuments, the White House and Capitol Hill, Washington is also home to some of the world’s best museums. The Smithsonian Institution is a collection of 19 brilliant museums, 9 research centres, and even a zoo!
The Smithsonian museums have free admission, and there are so many to choose from that you’ll want to stay for days. For those into all things space and flight related, there’s the popular Air and Space Museum, where you can see the infamous Wright Flyer from 1903, and the Apollo 11 command module. There’s also the Natural History Museum, which houses a multitude of artifacts depicting the growth and development of America, from food to advertising, measurement, engineering, communications, natural resources and many other important aspects of American society.
Those more intrigued by art can stop by the African Art Museum, Portrait Gallery and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Unfortunately the Freer Gallery of Art is closed until October 2017 for renovations.
There is a map available online for each museum, so you can plan your visit from home, and even experience some online exhibits to get a taste of the wonders you’re in for when you get there.
If you’re not here for a history lesson, there’s always the Botanical Gardens, Ford Theatre, and the crazy interesting Spy Museum, where you can learn all about what it meant to be a real spy, with interactive exhibits, films, and all kinds of amazing gadgets and stories.
The National Cathedral is also worth a visit, its Gothic architecture is a contrast to the modern sculptures, and is a magical place to see. Tours are held here every day, and only take about half an hour.
Club 9:30 is a great venue, showcasing all different types of music, and if you’re after food and tunes, Marvin’s is the place to be.
Washington DC is filled with great bars, restaurants and places to stay. Wander about in the evening and you’re bound to find a tasty bite to eat, from fancy sit down restaurants to Ben’s Chilli Bowl, and great pizza bars.
This is the kind of place that you can learn, explore, and have a great time, all in one spot. It’s perfect for all kinds of travelers, from those going solo to families on school break.
Give America’s capitol city a chance, there’s much more to it than politics!
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