Get your bearings
The National Mall
marks the centerpiece of Washington, home to the capital’s finest monuments and museums as well as the seat of modern government. Northwest lies Foggy Bottom
and George Washington University. Further west, in Georgetown,
political players live in beautifully-tended colonial brick homes and visitors shop in sophisticated boutiques and wine shops. North of the Mall, U Street
is Washington’s traditionally African-American neighborhood, and is still home to an Ethiopian community. West of U Street Adams Morgan
keeps younger residents hopping at bars and nightclubs.
America’s history is carved in white marble along the National Mall
. It recalls the nation’s most inspiring presidents, remembers its most difficult wars and serves as home and office space to the government in the White House
and the US Capitol.
The National Archives
hold original copies of the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution of the United States.
Across the Potomac River, Arlington National Cemetery
reminds visitors of history’s human cost. The grounds are the final resting places of soldiers from the Civil War to the present. President John F Kennedy and astronauts are also buried here. Watch congressional leaders in debate and tour the US Capitol
Washington is a city packed with museums, most of them near the National Mall.
The Smithsonian Institution
represents the world’s largest museum complex. Its 19 museums and the National Zoo are free. America’s most cherished emblems are displayed at the National Museum of American History
, including Abraham Lincoln’s hat and Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves. The 1903 Wright Brothers’ Flyer and Apollo spacecraft draw crowds to the National Air and Space Museum
. The Newseum
documents the media. The International Spy Museum
recreates secret tunnels and explains the fine art of code-breaking.
Portraits, pottery and porcelain
Stand face-to-face with America’s most well-known figures — Henry Ford, Elvis Presley and Barack Obama — at the National Portrait Gallery.
Native American paintings, pottery and clothing are the focus of the National Museum of the American Indian
. The Freer
and Sackler Galleries
display Asian jewelry, porcelain, calligraphy and textiles from Japan, China, Iran and Turkey.
Visitors can relax on their Washington city vacation in Potomac Park
. Bordering the Potomac River
and the National Mall, the park includes the Jefferson Memorial,
Washington’s famous cherry trees
and East Potomac Golf Course.
The National Zoological Park
in the Woodley Park
neighborhood contains thousands of exotic animals including giant pandas.
French bakeries, bistros and wine bars line M Street
in sophisticated Georgetown. Penn Quarter,
immediately east of the White House,
has earned a reputation for fashionable restaurants and diverse cuisine from India, Lebanon, the Philippines and New Orleans. In U Street
, the centre of African-American culture, modest family-run Ethiopian restaurants like Dukem
fill the air with the smell of spicy wot stew and the sound of traditional music. Ben’s Chili Bowl,
also on U Street,
is a Washington favorite, serving up chili “half-smoke” sausages. Expect a line.