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Washington, DC, The Nation’s capital, sits at the center of the region which is traversed by the Potomac River. The seat of the Nation's government provides visitors with some of the worlds most famous landmarks including the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the Smithsonian Institution, and a plethora of monuments, museums, historic sites and buildings, and other attractions at the core of the Washington, DC area. From the colonial period the influence of George Washington and the founding fathers is found  in Northern Virginia. on the western shore of the Potomac across from DC. Washington's colonial estate, Mount Vernon,   and other sites dating from the  revolutionary war period can also be found nearby at other historic sites.  East of the Potomac surrounding Washington DC, to the north, east and south are the Maryland suburbs of Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties offering a multitude of attractions (as well as nearby Baltimore and Annapolis).

While you are in Washington, DC, you should visit the following:

Lincoln Memorial

This grand memorial to Abraham Lincoln overlooks the Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol. It is located on 107 acres in Potomac Park.  The memorial was built 1914–17. The building was designed by Henry Bacon and styled after a Greek temple. It  has 36 Doric columns representing the states of the Union at the time of Lincoln's death. Inside the building is a 19-foot marble statue of the 16th president by Daniel Chester French and two murals by Jules Guerinnside and inscriptions of his Second Inaugural Address and the famous Gettysburg Address.  Open: Daily except Christmas. Park ranger in attendance 8 a.m.-midnight Admission: Free  Metro: Foggy Bottom-GWU.  Related Links: Lincoln Memorial Homepage

Established in 1910, the National Museum of Natural History is the second most popular of all of the Smithsonian museums.  The museum's collections include over 125 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, and human cultural artifacts.  Notable exhibits  include the Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals, which displays preserved pelts of mammals throughout the world, some of which were collected by former president Theodore Roosevelt. The museum's  Hall of Dinosaurs includes one of the largest collections of Dinosaur fossils in the world. Other exhibits detail the evolution of life on Earth,  the National Gem Collection, which includes the Hope Diamond and Orkin Insect Zoo.  Open: Daily 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; extended summer hours determined annually. Group tours and tours for visitors with disabilities by appointment; call (202) 357-2747 (voice) or (202) 633-9287 (TTY). Closed December 25. Admission: Free  Metro: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle.  Related Links: National Museum of Natural History Website
The International Spy Museum examines the history of espionage.  It's also examines the importance of espionage in winning the Cold War. The museum includes a permanent exhibition of artifacts, combined with historic photographs, state-of-the-art audio visual programs, and computer interactive displays which chronicle espionage throughout history.  Open: Every day, except Thanksgiving, Christmas  and New Year's Day Admission: Adult (ages 12-64) $15 Seniors (65+), Active Duty Military & Intel Community $14 Child* (ages 5-11) $12 Children age 4 and under free.  Metro: Metro Center  Related Links: International Spy Museum

The National Mall's sometimes known a the "Nation's Front Yard" is the open space and parklands envisioned by Pierre L'Enfant's plan, which was commissioned by George Washington.  Running form the Lincoln Memorial on the Potomac to the Capitol Building it  includes the 2,000 American elms which line the Mall and the 3,000 internationally renowned Japanese cherry trees which grace the Tidal Basin. Along the Mall are the majority of the museums which comprise the Smithsonian Institution.   The centerpiece of the mall is the Washington Monument which lies directly south of the White House. 


There are many more places to visit in the nations' capitol, for a listed resource of places, visit: