In an ideal setting, visitors who come to Washington, D.C. would have an unlimited time to walk around and stroll at the city’s iconic monuments. They would have all the time in the world to wander through exhibit-filled museums. But in reality, only few tourists have the luxury of time to visit all the beautiful spots in Washington.
In a day, guests can still enjoy the beauty of this place and visit Washington’s “must see” areas. Fortunately, some of the tourist spots are grouped in a few square miles in the downtown area.
The first destination is the Lincoln Memorial. Each visitor must stand on the steps in front of the Old Abe, look up the National Mall towards the Capitol. Think about the speech of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have a Dream”. Remember the popular Reflecting Pool scene from the movie Forrest Gump.
After the Lincoln Memorial, head off to the north side and walk past the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. This is better known as the Wall. Look into the thousands of names etched in the black stone. Now go east in another couple of blocks, along the Reflecting Pool and see the National World War II Memorial. Take a pause and think about the sacrifice of what people call as our “Greatest Generation”. It is best too to look for an old veteran in a wheelchair, and say a meaningful “thank you”. A number of veterans visit the memorial almost every day.
Now walk up the mall, by foot or taxi, whichever you prefer. You get to see the Washington Monument there. But there is no need to stop since it has been closed since the 2011 earthquake, which damaged the structure. Along the way to the next destination, on the right is the famed Tidal Basin lined with beautiful Cherry Blossom Trees and the Jefferson Memorial.
The Air & Space Museum is considered as one of the greatest Smithsonian museums. Go on and enter since the museum comes with free admission. Head straight to the 1903 Flyer, the plane which the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk, N.C. And when you walk your way out of the museum, note the other planes, aircraft, and space capsules hanging from the ceiling.
Of course, you shouldn’t miss visiting the U.S. Capitol. At most times, the lines tend to get very long. If this is so, you can admire the building from the outside and keep moving. But if you can get inside, the tour will take around an hour, but it’s really not a deal-breaker. And as you leave, don’t forget to admire the beauty of the Supreme Court building located across the street.
From the Capitol, head back on the north side of the mall where you can find the National Museum of American History. This is often referred to as the “America’s attic”. There are thousands of things to see here, truly a treasure trove of America’s history. The must-see exhibits are the original Star-Spangled Banner, the top hat President Lincoln wore at the time when he was assassinated, and the ruby red slippers worn by Dorothy in the movie, The Wizard of Oz.
And the last stop is the White House. You will not likely get inside, unless of course you’ve set it up in advance. Just take a stroll around the iron fence that surrounds the Mansion, pose for pictures, and perhaps wave to the President.