What’s Doing in Washington, D.C.

Visitors at the Phillips Collection in the Dupont Circle of Washington, D.C.

Visitors at the Phillips Collection in the Dupont Circle of Washington, D.C.

By Jesse Sokolow on 21 September 2015
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Washington, D.C., the seat of the U.S. federal government, is also home to many monuments, museums, cultural venues, and memorials. Named for the nation’s first president, George Washington, in 1791, the city was located on land donated by the neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia, with the portions donated by Virginia returned to the state in 1846.

The low, sprawling skyline is enforced by the federal Height of Buildings Act of 1910 that limits the height of buildings to the width of the fronting street plus 20 feet (6.1 meters) or a maximum of 130 feet (39 meters). Among the few exceptions are the Capitol building at 289 feet (88 meters) and the iconic 555-foot (169-meter) Washington Monument.


Start your visit with a trip to the National Mall, which includes a number of worthwhile destinations. First is the Smithsonian Institution, which has 11 museums and collections on the National Mall. The National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden are just part of the Smithsonian collection that is on the mall.

A gallery at the National Air and Space Museum

A gallery at the National Air and Space Museum

Also located on the National Mall is the National Gallery of Art, which includes works from notable artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, John Singleton Copley, Rembrandt, and Giovanni Bellini.

Next, walk over to the iconic Washington Monument, the world’s tallest stone structure. Once the tallest structure in the world (until it was overtaken by the Eiffel Tower in 1889), the monument continues to be a major tourist attraction and a symbol of American strength and independence.

Across the Reflecting Pool stands the Lincoln Memorial. Open 24 hours a day, the structure, in the Greek Doric temple style, houses the seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and is worth a visit during the busy daylight hours, or the eerily empty and private nighttime hours, as demonstrated by President Richard Nixon’s pre -dawn visit in 1970.

Click here to continue to Page 2The White House, Botanical Garden, and National Zoo

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