Just across the street from the Memorial Amphitheater are the memorials for the Space Shuttle Challenger and the Space Shuttle Columbia. The Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986 just a few seconds after takeoff. All seven crew members, including civilian teacher Christa McAuliffe, perished. The Columbia disintegrated during re-entry on February 1, 2003 killing all seven crew members.
The Octagon House was built between 1798 and 1800 by the same architect who designed the U.S. Capitol. It was constructed for Colonel John Taylor, a wealthy plantation owner from Virginia. It was in this house that President Madison and his wife resided when the White House was burned by the British in 1814. It was also here that President Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent, which brought the War of 1812 to an end. The Octagon House’s architectural splendor is matched only by its historical significance to our country.
Lafayette Park is a public park that was once named “President’s Park”. The square and the historic buildings surrounding it became National Historic Landmarks in 1970. In its past, Lafayette Park had many uses including serving as a race track, a graveyard, a zoo, slave market and the site for many political protests and celebrations. Most who visit are immediately drawn to the various large statues in the park.
The National Cathedral welcomes people of all faiths from around the world to worship in its exquisite ambiance. It’s the sixth largest cathedral in the world and offers a dramatic spectacle to all who visit. The cathedral’s English Gothic architecture is complemented by wood carvings, gargoyles, mosaics and more than 200 stained glass windows. A listed monument on the National Register of Historic Places, the cathedral is also the designated House of Prayer of the United States.
Honoring the 16 million people who served in the United States Military during the war, the more than 400,000 who died and the countless others who supported our troops from home, the World War II Memorial is a stunning tribute to the sacrifices that were made.
Often referred to as the wall that heals, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial beckons visitors of all ages, races and nationalities. It was created to honor and remember the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and to help our country heal after the controversial, emotional conflict ended. The enormous black wall lists 58,209 names of those who are missing or were killed during the war.
The Lincoln Memorial was opened on Memorial Day in 1922, 57 years after Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was assassinated. The immense Greek Temple stands in front of a gleaming reflecting pool and is a stunning spectacle during the day and especially at night.
Opened in August of 2011, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is located on four acres in the West Potomac Park and is part of the National Park Service. Its official address, 1964 Independence Avenue, is in reference to the year the Civil Rights Act became Law.
The FDR Memorial is located along the Western edge of the Tidal Basin, between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Built in 1997, the memorial is known for its unique design, its tribute to our 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and for the fact that it tells the story of America during the years of FDR’s Presidency. Four outdoor rooms portray the President’s terms in office, each with different statues and quotes. Beginning with a likeness of him riding in a car during his first inaugural speech and ending with him seated in a wheelchair, the memorial traces his twelve years of office as well as the many changes our country went through during that era.
What many folks don’t know about George Mason, they can learn while visiting his memorial right next to the Jefferson Memorial. Known for his authorship of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, George Mason’s work and beliefs were a major influence into the writing of the United States Bill of Rights. He earned the nickname, the reluctant statesman, after refusing to sign the United States Constitution because it did not abolish slavery.
Tours in Washington DC are not complete without a stop at the Jefferson Memorial. A tribute to the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, the memorial is a recognized symbol of democracy and independence. As one of the founding fathers of our country and the author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s significant impact on the shaping of our government is known throughout the world.
open Mar–Dec | Wed–Sun: 10am-4pm Jan–Feb | Fri–Sun: 10am-4pm$
Step inside the final home of Woodrow Wilson and feel the inspiration of one of our country’s greatest leaders. In this historic home, personal artifacts, memorabilia, photographs and items are on display for all to see and enjoy. Walk into the elegant dining room where Wilson and his wife enjoyed meals and hosted family, friends and world leaders. See the main bedrooms where items that belonged to the President and his wife are still in place.
Come to Dupont Circle to see the upscale, trendy neighborhood that is home to young professionals, academics and artists. Chic shops, boutiques, delightful restaurants, and fabulous architecture are also why Dupont Circle is a popular place to linger. Turn-of-the-century mansions and quaint brownstones that were once home to the most wealthy and prominent are now home to galleries, museums, bookstores and even foreign embassies. When you visit, take a moment to relax by the fountain in the center of the circle; it’s a favorite gathering spot for locals and travelers as well.
The Library of Congress is unlike any other library in the world. The world’s largest library, it is home to more than 100 million books, maps, recordings, manuscripts, films and photos including items from Thomas Jefferson’s personal collection. In fact, it was Jefferson who donated many items to the library after it was destroyed by a fire in 1814. The new building was properly named the Jefferson Building as a tribute to his generosity.
Upon arrival at the Supreme Court, visitors are often struck by the imposing marble building. Architecturally magnificent, the neoclassical structure was built in 1935 to become the permanent home to the Supreme Court. Walking along the hallway towards the Courtroom, guests are greeted by busts of all the former Chief Justices. The Supreme Court is the highest judiciary authority in the United States and hears about 100 cases each year, although more than 7,000 are submitted before them. Visitors can tour the Supreme Court building, hear lectures on the history of the court and how it works, sit in on sessions on specified days and times and view various exhibits throughout the year.
One of the most celebrated and spectacular sights on the National Mall, the Washington Monument, stands as a grand tribute to our nation’s first President, George Washington. The 555 foot obelisk is also one of the oldest and most recognizable memorials in the City. While construction began in 1848, the monument was not completed until 1884 because of financial difficulties during the Civil War.
A grand symbol of the United States Government, the Capitol Building on Capitol Hill is recognized across the world as one of our country’s most prominent icons of Democracy. The striking white dome acts as a focal point to the building which welcomes thousands of visitors every year. Both a working legislative building and a national monument, guided tours are offered all day long and provide an inside look into how our United States government works.
Welcome to Washington DC! The spectacular Union Station was originally designed to be the gateway to the city and since it opened over 90 years ago, has become the most visited site in DC. Its unique architecture makes it popular for photos. Locals, tourists and even presidents make it a point to visit this magnificent historic mall and train station.
The US Navy Memorial is a truly spectacular tribute to those who served or are currently serving in the nation’s sea services. A stunning plaza paved in granite forms a 100-foot diameter of the world. Fountains, pools, flags and historic panels surround the deck of the plaza tracing the achievements of the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. The famous Lone Sailor statue stands as a representation of the men who joined the service to fulfill their patriotic duty; a striking sight, it is perhaps one of the most well-known aspects of the memorial.
The National Gallery of Art was created in 1937. Through the generosity of Andrew W. Mellon, a financier who was also a public servant, the Museum gained its first collection. Mellon had a passion for art and his large collection of old master paintings, sculpture and other works were intended for all of America to enjoy. After his death, Congress accepted his collection and thus the National Gallery was born.
Journey back in time as you view the original founding documents of the United States written by the patriots who created a nation conceived in liberty. Established in 1934, the National Archives is the repository for the priceless documents that have shaped American history and defined our democracy. These include the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which are collectively known as the Charters of Freedom. The Archives also contain other treasured heirlooms like an original copy of the Magna Carta from 1297, the Louisiana Purchase Treaty signed by Napoleon Bonaparte and Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
The Treasury Building took 33 years to build from 1836 – 1869. It was primarily designed by the same man, Robert Mills, who was the architect of the Washington Monument. At the time of its construction, the Treasury Building was one of the largest office buildings in the world. It served as a barracks during the Civil War and a temporary White House for President Andrew Johnson after President Lincoln’s assassination. Built in the Greek Revival style, Treasury was the first Departmental building in the nation’s capital thus influencing the design of many of the others.
Since 1800, the White House has been a symbol of the United States government, the president and the people of America. It has also served as the home of every U.S. president except George Washington. Remodeled and restored many times over the years, the White House is recognized around the world as an emblem of American democracy. For many, the most famous room in the residence is the Oval Office where the president conducts business and meets with his advisers. Maintaining a stately presence in the nation’s capital, the White House is one of most significant landmarks in Washington, D.C.
Constructed for Thomas Peter and his wife, a granddaughter of Martha Washington, Tudor Place is a Federal-style mansion. Money bequeathed by George Washington was used to purchase the property, which encompasses a city block on the crest of Georgetown Heights. The manor home was built in 1815 by William Thornton who also worked on the U.S. Capitol. The Peters hosted the Marquis de Lafayette in 1824 during his tour of the U.S. Robert E. Lee stayed at the property during his last visit to Washington before his death. Located at 1644 31st Street, NW, the home is open to the public.
This historic 22-acre burial ground is a prime example of the 19th-century rural, or garden style, cemetery. It is the final resting place of numerous politicians, entrepreneurs, diplomats and military personnel, including Edwin Stanton, Katherine Graham, Dean Acheson and General Thomas Jessup. The cemetery grounds feature a number of Victorian style monuments including the Oak Hill Cemetery Chapel. The Gothic Revival chapel is the work of James Renwick who also designed the Smithsonian Castle. Sitting atop the cemetery’s highest ridge, it is built from black granite and trimmed with the same red Seneca sandstone used to construct the Castle.
Housing the Swedish and Icelandic delegations to the U.S., the House of Sweden was designed by Gert Wingardh and Tomas Hansen. Featuring a glass front, the building incorporates numerous Swedish symbols, such as matching native Swedish maple and marble, which relate to the climate and culture of the Scandinavian country. Situated on the Potomac River, the contemporary Scandinavian design reflects Swedish values of openness and transparency. The embassy was dedicated by King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia in 2006 and enabled the embassy staff to relocate from a rented space. The following year, Gert Wingardh was awarded the Kasper Salin Prize for his design work.
After a visit to Ford’s Theater, a stop at the Petersen House is most definitely in order. It is in this house that Abraham Lincoln died after frantic doctors worked to save him throughout the night. The house, now a National Historic Site, has been restored to its original condition and even the bed on which Lincoln passed away is much like the actual one. Now furnished with period pieces, guests can see the front parlor where Mary Todd Lincoln spent the night with her son, Robert and the back parlor where Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton held a cabinet meeting and questioned witnesses. Visitors can take self-guided tours to see the solemn, yet intriguing Petersen House.
The chilling story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination comes to life in the very place he was mortally shot on April 14, 1865. After being closed for 103 years, Ford’s Theater was restored and reopened in 1968. Serving as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln and his love of the performing arts, the Theater is a live, working theater that plays host to a variety of plays by some of the country’s most talented playwrights, actors and artists. Ford’s Theater is also home to The Lincoln Museum, which gives visitors a look at the elaborate conspiracy planned by actor John Wilkes Booth, a supporter of the Confederate States of America, to assassinate the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State.