The Capital Building is the heart of US government. This building houses the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court and The Library of Congress. The guided tours (approximately 30 minutes long) are from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4:30 pm, and they're free. The building was designed by William Thorton and it has a big dome in the middle and two buildings on either side of it. The mural on the roof shows President George Washington and is called the Apotheosis of George Washington. Around the mural on the ceiling you can see a short pictorial chronology of the country. Below the dome there are paintings of the history of the country. One that caught my eye was "The Baptism of Pocahontas" by John Gadsby Chapman. For those of you who don't know: Pocahontas did exist.
As you can see, this was the monument in March, my dream was to sit on the stairs and think (as Lincoln did) for a moment, gazing at the reflections in the pond in front of the obelisk there ..... My idea of paradise! They were draining and remodeling it! You could have had this app beforehand and informed me.
We had a one-day trip to Washington, DC (roundtrip from NY by minibus) and we visited the National Museum of Air and Space. It is true that we did not know of its existence beforehand but we found it interesting and it is the most comprehensive museum of its kind. It is tremendous in size as it exhibits planes, aircraft, the module of Apollo 11 (the first manned mission to reach the moon) and the first Air For One I (used by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1960). You can also view the costumes of the first astronauts who went to the moon with their cameras. It has a good flight simulator that just as the entrance to the museum and is free though you do have to pay for some attractions. There is not much more that I can tell you about Washington, DC because we also ate at the museum, which incidentally just has fast food restaurants, we did not have time to do more. Yet, it is highly recommended.
Arlington National Cemetery is a military cemetery on the grounds of the home of Robert E. Lee near the Potomac River and near the Pentagon. There are tombs of many U.S. presidents, militarymen, celebrities and astronauts. It is open from 8:00 to 17:00 (until 19:00 from April to September), and entrance is free. Also In this lies the Tomb of the Unknowns where the Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place every hour in winter and every half hour from April to September. Without a doubt the most famous tomb for visitors to see is the tomb of the former President Kennedy.
The recently opened new residence of President Barack Obama, or rather his work place, hahahaha. Although we didn´t, you are allowed to visit the interior of this landmark building and I think it could be very interesting ... They are quite privileged because it turns out that you have to send a request to a member of Congress with 6 months previous to going, having a group of 10 people or more beforehand. The exteriors are beautiful (the gardens of preened to perfection) and I will give you a hint about the security: In my life I have seen everything, from the Secret Service to the SWAT
This is a memorial to the veterans of the Vietnam War is an exciting place situated in the middle of a large park. On a black marble wall you will find the names of all those who took part in the vietnam war and died. Being a relatively recent war, it is surprising that there are many visitors who are not tourists, but instead relatives that go to leave things and presents like a cemetery. Some leave notes to their friends.
GEORGETOWN is a traditional historic neighborhood situated in Washington DC, that looks over the banks of the Potomac River and is frequented by upper class people. GEORGETOWN emerged in 1751 as an autonomous town, until in 1871 when it was incorporated as part of this capital city. It is a very pretty neighborhood where you'll find everything you may need: bars, shopping malls, restaurants, etc.. They are also many embassies based in GEORGETOWN. The houses are very picturesque and you can see greenery everywhere. The area is very clean and tidy.
The museum of Native Americans actually has two locations: one in Washington and one in New York. Both are part of the Smithsonian Institute and, like all Smithsonian museums, they have free admission. The New York collection is quite small and you can visit it fairly quickly. The building itself is interesting though and overlooks the small park in Bowling Green. I saw an interesting collection of clothing and tools from several ethnic groups (not only from the US, but all across the Americas). The colors were enchanting and I stopped to have a good look before continuing to the temporary exhibition about an Indian village in the Southwest. I think that this place depends a lot on the temporary exhibitions. If you're lucky, you'll find something good!
The Library of Congress is situated one block away from the Capitol and is of the largest libraries in the world by volume containing documentation. The congress offers guided tours of the library in which they explain its history, but it´s easy to go inside yourself only to walk around and see the building from the inside, which is really worth it. I'm not sure if it was a temporary exhibition or permanent, but when I went they were doing a re-constitution of the personal library of Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd president of the USA.
With all the memorials scattered around the Capital, it is hard to keep each war or president correct. There are so many dates and names and places. But, when you just take in the actual memorial and the architecture behind it and see the beauty, you can get more out of it.
The Korean War Memorial, it a good example of this type of memorial. It is easy to get lost in it, because of the actual faces designed on the granite wall and on the life size statutes. There are 19 soldiers in full combat uniform statutes walking through a planted area and it removes you from being in DC and takes you back to what it must have looked like in the war. Each soldier is from a different branch of the military that fought in the Korean War. Looking into the faces of the statues is a bit eery but it is very touching. Surrounding the military statues is a wall full of faces of real soldiers from the war, as well as a tranquil pond.
This memorial is one of the youngest memorials in DC, and it is very apparent with the faces etched in the stone as well as the design behind it all. It is really neat to see the growth artistically of the memorials have come over the years, and how each one reaches you differently.
The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall and is also a free museum. The collection is divided between the two buildings, East and West. The former is the older of the two, while the second was built in 1978 by the architect IM Pei, who was also responsible for the famous glass pyramids of the Louvre. The museum's collection includes works by artists from a wide variety of nationalities. The East Wing is primarily dedicated to modern art, but the West Wing focuses on classics: Italian painting from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries, Flemish paintings from the fifteen and sixteenth centuries, Spanish cubism and British and American art.
The National Museum of Natural History is a must-see when you visit Washington, DC. The collection here is the biggest in the world, with more than 126 items, ranging from Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils to samples of algae found in a giant sequoia, whale DNA, birds, fishes, mammals, amphibians, reptiles....
Located in the center of Washington and away from the other Smithsonian museums grouped mainly in the Mall, the American art museum contains a collection of works realized by national artists of almost all ages, the majority are paintings. The building itself is interesting. From the street you can see the columns of a classical building, but recent refurbishment has given it a modern, covered, interior patio with natural light where you can eat or drink. The collection travels through American art from its beginnings to its installations and contemporary art sculptures. As with all Smithsonian museums, it is free.
We visited the National Museum of American History (http://americanhistory.Si.Edu/). This museum houses a strange mixture of items and curios, for instance, the wooden teeth of George Washington, the boxing gloves of Muhammad Ali or the slippers worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz". There are also many models of cars, engines and other vehicles. The first Morse telegraph, the first bulbs, old television sets, etc.. are also shown
Wonderful place to visit with the whole family. With its two main attractions: the panda and the Elephants of India. It's an excellent place to observe animals in the most natural way in the world, with fun activities that allows visitors to learn by interacting with the animals, games etc. Free admission. And a wonderful shop full of sourvenirs and obviously, stuffed animals.
The Washington DC area subway system seemed a bit complicated to me at first, but eventually I found that it's quite logical. Purchasing metro cards runs as follows: In front of the ticket vending machine, you have to choose if you plan to buy a ticket for a single journey and then look at the list of stations and the cost of the journey to reach it. It varies depending on whether or not it's rush hour. If you want to save time on new cards is better to buy a card that has more money on it than just a single route. To get a card, you have to select a value. The machine suggests $20 to start with and 2 side buttons do raise or lower this amount until you reach the desired price. If the ticket prices get between $1.35 and $2, it is likely that this corresponds to the price of a single journey and when you exit at your destination station the machine swallows the card so that you have to buy a new one next time. If the amount of money on the card is higher than the price of the journey, the machine at the destination station returns the card so that it can be used again and recharged with more money for more trips.