Washington, D.C. is one of the world’s greatest capitals. This great city offers exceptional museums, parks, diverse dining, and nightlife. The best part is that nearly all of the museums are free so if you’re looking for a great family trip on a budget, Washington, D.C. is right up your alley. While there is much to do in the town, you’re best bet would be to rent a car to get from place to place - most of theattractions are spread out and traveling by foot can get rather tiresome. Below is a list of some of the highlights that you won’t want to miss while you’re in the Washington, D.C. area.
The Smithsonian Museums offer amazing galleries filled with national treasures. From Dorothy’s ruby slippers to the Hope Diamond, you’ll find a variety of exhibits in these world class museums. Once you drive to the National Mall, it will be difficult to choose where to begin so you may want to plan out your visit in advance. Most of the museums have guided tours as well as hands-on activities.
Washington, D.C. is filled with memorials and monuments honoring generals, politicians and others who shaped our nation. You can find most of the famous monuments on the National Mall, but plaques and statues are all over the city. Most of the monuments are spread out and difficult to visit on foot, so you can either take a tour or rent a car to help you get around town. Some of the most famous monuments and memorials include the Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.
Drive to Capitol Hill and you’ll find the architectural marvel that houses the Senate and the House of Representatives. Tours are offered during the week and occasionally you can catch a live debate on the House or Senate floor. With stunning grounds and a beautiful interior, be sure to drive to the Capitol building and see government in action.
A visit to Washington, D.C. isn’t complete without a stop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The White House has self-guided tours and you can walk through the same hallowed halls as past presidents. Tour the East Room, Green Room, and State Dining Room.
Discover diverse and unusual creatures at the National Zoo. While the pandas are the zoo’s most famous attraction, there are plenty of monkeys, elephants, and lions plus some exotic animals you can’t find at just any zoo in the country.
The National Cathedral is the 2nd largest cathedral in the nation and provides a unique experience for tourists. The 20th-century cathedral is a beautiful piece of architecture with vaults and flying buttresses built from stone. With 215 stained glass windows and gargoyle in the shape of Darth Vadar, this is a cathedral like no other.
Arlington National Cemetery
Only a short drive from the main historic Washington, D.C., a visit to Arlington National Cemetery is a deeply moving and sobering experience. The cemetery is the final resting place for some 300,000 members of the armed services dating back to the 1800s. Walk among the headstones and honor the nation’s war heroes.