June 1, 2016
Have you planned a trip to Washington, D.C. Are you excited to finally visit the nation’s capital? There are so many things to explore that putting it all on a short list will never be enough. Below are gems, our top 10 tourist sites that should be on your bucket list to visit this summer.
The Lincoln Memorial is a must see site in the District. The marvelously sculptured work of art was built in honor of the 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. The best way to approach the memorial is from the east, because it’s at the edge of the reflecting pool. Notice the 36 marble columns, which was inspired by ancient Greek temples. Upon climbing the stairs, which leads to the interior side, tourists can look up and see a memorable quote etched onto the wall, which reads: “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” Below the quote is the actual statue of Lincoln gazing over the mall and weighing 175 tons. To the left of the statues is the Gettysburg Address, which is Lincoln’s famous speech and one of the most famous speeches in U.S. history.
The White House is the official workplace of the president of the United States. It has been the residence of every president since 1800, when John Adams was president. The White House was designed by James Hoban, built between 1792 and 1800 in the neoclassical style. In 2007, the White House was ranked second on the American Institute of Architects list of “America’s Favorite Architecture“. The White House is definitely a memorable experience when visiting the District.
Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum has 8 million annual visitors on average, making it the most visited museum complex in the country. It is also the largest of 19 museums in the Smithsonian Institution and home to the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies. There are thousands of artifacts showcasing aviation, space exploration, and planetary science. The mission of the museum is to “commemorate, educate, inspire” and highlight the importance of flight to humanity.
National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art was given to the people of the U.S. by Andrew Mellon. Mellon was a financier and art collector who felt that the this country should have a national art museum. The museum opened in March 1941 and offers thousands of works ranging from the Renaissance period to present day art. Visitors can explore their growing collection of European and American masterpieces in every medium.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is currently under construction and will be opening on September 24th, 2016. However, until then, visitors are welcome to view the gallery located on the second floor of the National Museum of American History. The National Museum of African American History is a place where tourists and locals can learn about the diversity of the African American experience and culture, and how it has helped to shape our nation. The mission of the museum is to help Americans remember our past and to stimulate conversation about race and foster a spirit of healing. The museum is intended to be a place of meaning, memory, reflection, laughter, and hope.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
During the Holocaust in Germany, Jews were racially targeted as an “inferior” race to the Nazis, who were in power starting in 1933. As a result, 6 million Jews were murdered under the Nazi regime. The Holocaust Memorial Museum provides insight to millions of visitors each year about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the need to prevent genocide. The museum is also a medium that teaches visitors to act based on the lessons learned from the genocide, in order to make society better than it was before. The museum has three floors built in a sequence for visitors to easily follow during the self-guided tour. The opening floor showcases the rise of the Nazi regime and the outbreak of World War II. The second floor explores Nazi policy and how the Jews were tortured as well as killed. The final floor exhibits the victory of the Allies and the aftermath of the Holocaust.
The Washington Monument sits in the center of the District and it honors and memorializes George Washington. It was built in the shape of the Egyptian obelisk and was the world’s tallest building upon completion. The monument stands as a symbol of respect and gratitude to the nation and the founding father of the country. The creation of the structure included two phases of construction—one private and one public.
Arlington National Cemetery
The Arlington National Cemetery is one of the country’s oldest national cemeteries. The cemetery marks the final resting place for more than 14,000 veterans, including those that fought in the Civil War. It sits on a quiet, green landscape of rolling hills for guests to reflect on the war history of America and was created to honor those who have served the nation during wars foreign and domestic. The rolling hills include trees that are hundreds of years in age atop a 624 acre landscape.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was built to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King was known for his leadership, powerful speeches and his work during the Civil Rights Movement. He became renown worldwide after his death. His message of equality, peace, and love is reflected in the sculpture. It is the first African American memorial only the fourth non-president to be remembered in this manner.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veteran Memorial is a marble wall that includes the names of over 58,000 lives who gave their service in the Vietnam War. The memorial also includes “The Three Servicemen” statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. It consists of three separate parts. Visitors can avail themselves to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund database to find a name on the wall.