Washington DC & Northern Virginia
Mount Vernon - Courtesy of Mount Vernon
US Capitol Building
Throughout our nation’s history, service men and women have gone bravely into battle, risking their lives and livelihoods, sacrificing their safety to defend America. For over 4 million veterans seriously injured in the line of duty, leaving the battlefield does not mark the end of conflict. These permanently disabled heroes often carry home life-altering disabilities - stern reminders of the price of freedom. The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial celebrates those men and women who may be broken in body – but never in spirit.
Arlington House was built by George Washington Parke Custis, son of Martha Washington from her first marriage, as both a home and a memorial to his step-father, George Washington. Custis's son-in-law, Robert E. Lee, considered Arlington House his home from his wedding day in 1831 until he took up rank with the Confederate Army to fight the Civil War. It was at Arlington House that Lee wrote his resignation letter to the United States Army in April 20, 1861 and he left two days later never to return. Arlington National Cemetery began to take shape on the Arlington Estate in June 1864, mostly out of need to have burial plots in the midst of the Civil War, but also out of spite to the Lee family.
No land in America is more sacred than this square mile. It is America’s shrine to valorand sacrifice. This is the final resting place for President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audie Murphy, prizefighter Joe Louis, and thousands of soldiers from every major U.S. war. The Cemetery is the former plantation and home of Civil War General Robert E. Lee. Arlington House, Space Shuttle Challenger Astronaut’s Memorial, and Monuments to nearly every major sacrifice that affected our country are located within these 612 acres. The Tomb of the Unknowns speaks of a nation’s debt to the many whose ultimate sacrifice helped make a nation free.
As the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and North America, and one of the ten largest churches in the world, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is renowned for its unique architecture, beautiful sacred art, and rich Catholic and American history and heritage.
Pentagon City Mall is located just minutes from the nation's capital offers a world-class shopping experience. A scenic glass elevator ride to the Third Level reveals more than 170 fascinating stores and restaurants. The skylit Food Court features international specialties from the familiar to the exotic.
Ford's Theater was the location of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on the night of April 14, 1865, while the President and Mrs. Lincoln were attending a performance of the play, "Our American Cousin." Actor John Wilkes Booth, in this first assassination of an American President, removed Lincoln from leadership at the end of the American Civil War. Located across the street from Ford’s Theater, the Petersen House is where Lincoln died.
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity. Located among our national monuments to freedom on the National Mall, the Museum provides a powerful lesson in the fragility of freedom, the myth of progress and the need for vigilance in preserving democratic values.
The first and only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage and the only one in the world to provide a global perspective on this all-but-invisible profession. The Museum features the largest collection of international spy-related artifacts ever placed on public display and tells the story of individual spies through film and state-of-the-art exhibits.
The Library of Congress is the largest national library in the world with more than 100 million items in three buildings. The original Library of Congress Building (now called the Thomas Jefferson Building) is perhaps Washington ’s most richly ornamented building.
Monuments and Memorials of Washington, DC
Built on a hillside overlooking the Pentagon, the memorial is bold, graceful and truly representational of the Air Force. Central to the design are three stainless steel spires which soar skyward. Other key elements of the Memorial include a bronze Honor Guard, inscription walls and an open glass Chamber of Contemplation, all landscaped to create a park.
Also known as the U. S. Marine Corps War Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial honors the Marines who have died defending the United States since 1775. The 32-foot-high sculpture was inspired by a Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of one of the most historic battles of World War II and depicts the scene of the flag raising by five Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman that signaled the successful takeover of the island. The capture of Iwo Jima eventually led to the end of the war in 1945.
The dome-shaped rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial pays tribute to America’s third President, Thomas Jefferson. Located on the Tidal Basin, it offers a fabulous view of the White House from the top steps. Inside, the 19-foot bronze statue of Jefferson is surrounded by passages from the Declaration of Independence and Jefferson’s other writings.
The triangular field contains nineteen ground troopers, clad in foul weather ponchos, fully equipped for battle. Representing those who supported the ground troops are hundreds of faces etched on a polished granite wall.
Overlooking the Reflecting Pool, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in 1922 and fashioned after a Greek temple. The memorial’s Grecian columns represent the 36 states that constituted the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death. Inside the memorial, inscriptions from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address flank the 19-foot marble statue of our 16th President.
Between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial honors King’s many contributions to the civil rights movement. Opened in 2011, it was the first major memorial along the mall dedicated to an African-American and a non-President. The themes of democracy, justice, hope and love converge in the “Stone of Hope,” a 30-foot- high sculpture of King and the 450-foot-high inscription wall that features his quotes.
Honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S. during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions who supported the war effort from home. Symbolic of the defining event of the 20th Century, the memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people to the common defense of the nation and to the broader causes of peace and freedom from tyranny throughout the world.
Located on two acres, this privately funded memorial honors service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought, died and were missing in action during the Vietnam War. Millions of people have come to touch the over 50,000 names, make pencil rubbings and leave flowers, letters, flags and personal mementos.
Mount Vernon was the beloved home of George and Martha Washington from the time of their marriage in 1759 until General Washington's death in 1799. The home is an original building filled with 18th-century treasures, many of them owned by Washington. Four gardens showcase heirloom plants known to have been at Mount Vernon in the late 1700s. Washington himself designed the landscape which includes 13 trees that stand today as the last living witnesses of Washington's lifetime.
The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. It is also a vital center for research into the history, science, and technology of aviation and space flight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics.
Of all the documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, those that are important for legal or historical reasons are kept and stored at the National Archives. Its holdings date from the 18th century to the present and include the famous Charters of Freedom - the original Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
The National Cathedral is the sixth largest cathedral in the world and the second largest in the United States. The Cathedral welcomes nearly 700,000 visitors and worshipers annually and is “intended for national purposes, such as public prayer, thanksgiving, funeral orations, etc., and assigned to the special use of no particular sect or denomination, but equally open to all.”
Stretching from the foot of the U.S. Capitol past the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial and over to the Jefferson Memorial, the National Mall celebrates our nation’s rich history and reflects who we are as a society to America and the world.
The mission of the National Museum of the Marine Corps is to preserve and exhibit the material history of the U.S. Marine Corps; honor the commitment, accomplishments, and sacrifices of Marines; support recruitment, training, education, and retention of Marines; and provide the public with a readily accessible platform for the exploration of Marine Corps history.
Lions and tigers, and bears oh my! And giraffes, hippos, pandas, elephants and prairie dogs too. The National Zoological Park is home to more than 5,000 animals and more than 500 animal species many of which are very rare. Approximately twenty-five percent of the animals at the Zoo are on the endangered species list and many are not exhibited elsewhere in the United States. The Zoo is home to the only Komodo Dragons in the United States.
This 250,000-square-foot museum of news offers an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits. The Newseum features seven levels of galleries, theaters, retail spaces and visitor services. It offers a unique environment that takes museum-goers behind-the-scenes to experience how and why news is made.
The Pentagon is the world’s largest office building. With over 17 miles of hallways and a telephone system that rivals many of the world’s smaller cities, the pentagon is an engineering masterpiece and headquarters of the United States Department of Defense. On September 11, 2001 the Pentagon was a target by terrorists in an attack against The United States.
Potomac Mills is the largest single-floor mall in Virginia and the second largest mall in the D.C. area, behind Tysons Corner Center. According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Potomac Mills is the 10th most popular tourism site in the state.
The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center facility brings together federal, state and regional trade resources, international trade related businesses and services to convey the United States' recognition of the importance of trade in linking countries and communities.
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States. Its membership consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associated justices who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
The Smithsonian Museums encompass 19 museums and galleries as well as the National Zoological Park. Popular museums on the National Mall include the American History, Natural History, Air and Space and the American Indian Museum. For art, visit the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Cooper-Hewitt, Freer Gallery of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Portrait Gallery, Renwick Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport is the companion facility to the Museum on the National Mall. The building, opened in December 2003, provides enough space for the Smithsonian to display the thousands of aviation and space artifacts that cannot be exhibited on the National Mall. The two sites together showcase the largest collection of aviation and space artifacts in the world.
Completed in 1908, this magnificent structure is considered to be one of the finest examples of the Beaux-Arts style of architecture. Architect, Daniel Burnham designed the building to be monumental in every respect and to serve as a gateway to Washington, DC. A food court, dine-in restaurants and numerous shops are located throughout the complex.
The US Capitol is a monument, a working office building and one of the most recognizable symbols of representative democracy in the world. All legislative powers are vested in a Congress of the United States which consists of a Senate and House of Representatives. Tour the historic Capitol and visit the Capitol Visitors Center.
The Capitol Visitor Center is an extension of the Capitol that welcomes visitors to the seat of American government. At nearly, 580,000 square feet, the Center is approximately three quarters the size of the Capitol itself. The entire facility is located underground on the east side of the Capitol.
The US Senate is a legislative chamber in the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the House of Representative makes up the US Congress. The Senate office buildings are located on Constitution Avenue on the north side of the Capitol. These buildings house the offices of all the Senate's members and committees and are the site of most Senate Committee meetings.
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. It has been the residence of every US President since John Adams in 1800. The modern day White House complex includes the Executive Residence and work offices in the West Wing, East Wing, Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the Blair House, a guest house.