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Our nation's capital offers an impressive variety of things to see and do: explore the museums to view some of America's treasures, tour the monuments in remembrance of our nation's heroes, or visit federal agencies to witness your government in action.
Many attractions in D.C. do not require tickets, including the 13 museums of the Smithsonian Institution. Additionally, I encourage everyone from California’s 24th Congressional District to drop by my Congressional office during their visit to Washington, D.C. to pick up Gallery Passes to view the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate chambers.
More than four million people visit the most hallowed burial ground of our fallen military annually, many coming to pay final respects at graveside services, of which nearly 100 are conducted each week, Monday through Friday. Visit the graves of Presidents John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft, the Curtis-Lee Mansion, and the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Open to the public at 8am 365 days a year. From April 1 to Sept. 30 the cemetery closes at 7pm; the other six months it closes at 5pm (703) 607-8000.
Metro stop: Arlington Cemetery
The BEP prints billions of Federal Reserve Notes for delivery to the Federal Reserve System each year (the BEP does not produce coins – all coinage is minted by the United States Mint). In addition to U.S. currency, the BEP produces several other security documents such as portions of U.S. passports, materials for Homeland Security, military ID cards, and Immigration and Naturalization Certificates. Open Monday through Friday (except for Federal Holidays) from 9:00am to 2:00pm (extended hours during summer), with tours conducted every 20 minutes. Admission Fee: None, but tickets are required. Public same-day tour tickets are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Groups larger than 10 must submit tour requests directly to the BEP, the request form can be found here .
17th Street and New York Avenue, NW - one block west and south of the White House. The main entrance is on 17th Street. Special needs access is at 1701 E Street, around the corner from the 17th Street entrance. Phone: (202) 639-1700.
Metro: Farragut West station or Farragut North station.
This memorial is a tribute to both President Roosevelt and the time in which he lived. There is a sequence of four outdoor rooms –containing shade trees, waterfalls, statuary, and quiet alcoves– each representing on of FDR's four terms in office. Open 24 hours daily. There are park rangers available from 8am to midnight every day except Christmas Day. Located between the Potomac River and the Cherry Tree Walk of the Tidal Basin at 900 Ohio Drive, SW. There are no fees to visit any of the monuments or memorials in the park.
Metro stop: Smithsonian
A living memorial, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated here in 1865. Located at 517 10th Street, N.W. Open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm, except during rehearsals and performances. (202) 426-6924.
Metro: Metro Center
Established by Congress, this museum is a national memorial to the Holocaust of World War II. Located at 100 Raul Wallenberg Place, S.W. Open daily from 10:00am to 5:30pm. Admission Fee: None, but same day tickets are needed to view the permanent exhibit and are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets can also be ordered in advance on the museum's website. (202) 488-0400.
The Senate and House Galleries are open to visitors when either body is in session. Additionally, the House Gallery is open 9am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday, when the House is not in session. Passes are required to enter either gallery at any time. Visitors may obtain House Gallery Passes from Congresswoman Capps’ office just by dropping by during regular business hours. If you plan on taking a tour of the Capitol, please pick up gallery passes prior to your tour – this will save you a trip.
Metro: Capitol South
The Marine Corps War Memorial stands as a symbol of this grateful Nation's esteem for the honored dead of the U.S. Marine Corps. While the statue depicts one of the most famous incidents of World War II, the memorial is dedicated to all Marines who have given their lives in the defense of the United States since 1775. (703) 289-2500. Location: Located on Marshall Drive, between Route 50 and Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, VA.
Metro stop: Rosslyn
This memorial is dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, the third president, author of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Inside a replica of the Roman Pantheon is a bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson. Memorial is located at the Tidal Basin in East Potomac Park, S.W. The public may visit the Thomas Jefferson Memorial 24 hours a day. However Rangers are on duty to answer questions from 9:30am to 11:30pm daily. (202) 426-6821. You may rent paddleboats at the Swan Boathouse and cruise the Basin.
This tribute to President John F. Kennedy has five theaters, and is home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Opera, and the American Film Institute. Tours are conducted by Kennedy Center volunteers daily from 10:00am until 1:00pm. Located 2700 F Street, NW. Tours depart from the parking plaza on Level A.
Metro: Foggy Bottom
From 1950 to 1953, the United States joined with United Nations forces in Korea to take a stand against what was deemed a threat to democratic nations worldwide. At war's end, a million and a half American veterans returned to a peacetime world of families, homes, and jobs - and to a country long reluctant to view the Korean War as something to memorialize. But to the men and women who served, the Korean War could never be a forgotten war. The passing of more than four decades has brought a new perspective to the war and its aftermath. The time has come, in the eyes of the Nation, to set aside a place of remembrance for the people who served in this hard-fought war half a world away. An etched granite mural runs alongside statues of soldiers as a memorial to those who answered the call, those who worked and fought under the trying of circumstances, and those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. Located on the National Mall, southeast of the Lincoln Memorial. Open 24 hours daily. The memorial is staffed from 8am to midnight every day except December 25 by park rangers who are available to answer questions and present interpretive themes. (202) 634-1568.
Metro: Foggy Bottom
Visit the largest library in the world and one of the most beautiful buildings in Washington. Guided tours of the Jefferson building are offered Monday through Saturday at 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm (no 3:30pm tours on Saturdays). In addition, the Library of Congress offers the option of reserving tour space for large groups of 10 – 60 people.
Metro: Capitol South
This monument, in honor of Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth president, overlooks the Reflecting Pool and faces the Washington Monument and the US Capitol. The Greek Parthenon replica that houses Lincoln’s statue is one of Washington’s most famous and recognizable landmarks. Located on 23rd Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W. Open 24 hours daily – closed Christmas. (202) 426-6895.
Metro: Foggy Bottom
Situated on a four-acre site along the Tidal Basin, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, and on a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. The Memorial honors a man of conscience, the freedom movement, and his message of freedom, equality, justice, peace and love. It is the first memorial on the National Mall devoted, not to a president or war remembrance, but to a citizen activist. Hours: Open 24 hours daily. Park Rangers available 9:30am-11:30pm, for more information call: (202) 426-6841.
Mount Vernon is the most popular historic estate in America. Located 16 miles south of Washington, D.C. and 8 miles south of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, the plantation rests on the banks of the Potomac River. (703) 780-2000.
Metro: Huntington Station - Exit to the lower level (Huntington Avenue) of the station to catch a Fairfax Connector bus to Mount Vernon.
The Rotunda of the National Archives Building in downtown Washington, D.C., displays the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. Located at 8th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W. Open daily 10:00am to 5:30pm.
401 F Street, NW, between 4th and 5th streets. Wheelchair access at 4th and G streets.
Metro: Judiciary Square - Red line. Telephone: (202) 272-2448.
The National Cathedral is a popular tourist destination for its architectural beauty and as a spiritual resource for the country, welcoming visitors of all faiths. Individuals and families can take self-guided or audio tours through the Cathedral. Audio tours are available for rental Monday through Friday 10:00am to 4:00pm, Saturday 10:00am to 3:00pm, and Sunday 12:30pm to 3:00pm. Groups of 13 or more must schedule a guided group tour. Visitors may also tour the expansive gardens, learn about the individual gargoyles that decorate the gothic Cathedral, listen to bell demonstrations, or participate in tower climbs to see breathtaking views of Washington, D.C. Please visit the National Cathedral’s “Visit Us” section on their website for more information.
Classical and Modern art exhibits. Located at 4th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W. Open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm. and Sunday from 11:00am to 6:00pm. Admission Fee: None. (202) 737-4215.
1145 17th & M Street. Exhibits of famous scientific expeditions. Phone: 800 NGS LINE (800 647 5463)
A marble wall plaza engraved with the names of officers killed in the line of duty. Located between E and F and 4th and 5th Streets, NW. Open 24 hours daily. (202) 737-3400.
Metro: Judiciary Square
The sprawling lands of the National Mall & Memorial Parks include the Mall, the public promenade extending from 3rd Street near the Capitol to 14th Street, including the:
Explore the National Mall with this walking tour provided by National Geographic.
1811 R Street NW. Telephone: (202) 265-6280.
Metro: Take Metro's Red Line to Dupont Circle. Leave through the Q Street exit. Walk one block north on Connecticut Avenue to R Street. Turn right and walk east two blocks to 18th Street.
2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE in the Washington City Post Office Building on Capitol Hill (next to Union Station). Metro: Take Metro's Red Line to Union Station. Leave through the Massachusetts Avenue exit. As you get off the escalator, the National Postal Museum will be to your left.
The World War II Memorial commemorates the sacrifice and celebrates the victory of "the greatest generation" – the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home. The site lies along the central vista of the National Mall, between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. The memorial rests at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool along 17th Street, NW/SW. Open to visitors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (800) 639-4WW2.
Located at 3001 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Open daily from 6:00am until 6:00pm.
Metro: Woodley Park/Zoo
Tours of the Pentagon are available to schools and educational organizations. For more information contact the Pentagon Tour Office.
1600 21st Street, N.W. The Phillips Collection is located in the Dupont Circle area, one-half block off of Massachusetts Avenue on 21st Street, between Q and R Streets. Offices and Visitor information: (202) 387-2151. Metro Stop: RED line of the Metro to the Dupont Circle Station. Exit to Q street. At the top of the escalator, go left on Q street one block to 21st Street. The museum entrance is located halfway up 21st Street on the left.
Open daily 10:00am to 5:30pm. Admission Fee: None.
Metro: Smithsonian (for most of the museums). (202) 357-2700.
Arts and Industries Building - 900 Jefferson Drive, S.W.
Freer Gallery of Art - 12th Street and Independence Ave.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden - Independence Avenue at 8th Street
Museum of the American Indian - Fourth Street & Independence Ave., S.W. 202-633-1000
National Museum of American Art - 8th and G Streets, N.W
National Museum of American History - 14th Street and Constitution Ave, N.W.
National Museum of African Art - 1050 Independence Avenue, S.W.
National Museum of Natural History - 10th Street and Constitution Ave, N.W.
National Portrait Gallery - 8th and G Streets, N.W.
Renwick Gallery - Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street, N.W.
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms are 18th Century-style rooms used by the Secretary of State, the Vice President, and Members of the Cabinet to entertain foreign and American dignitaries. These rooms hold a premier collection of 18th Century American Furniture, paintings and decorative arts. Located at 2201 C Street, N.W. Interested parties may see the State Department Diplomatic Reception Rooms Tours website for more information on this fine arts tour. Admission Fee: None. (202) 647-3241.
Metro: Foggy Bottom
The State Department Exhibit Hall is located in the center of the Harry S. Truman building, the State Department headquarters. It showcases artifacts of American diplomacy and the stories behind them. It is open to public groups of 4 or more people by appointment only.
Metro: Foggy Bottom
2320 S Street, NW. Telephone: (202) 667-0441. Metro Stop: Take the red line to the Dupont Circle stop. Leave the station via the Q Street exit. Walk north on Connecticut Avenue. At the intersection of Connecticut Avenue, Florida Avenue and S Street cross Florida Avenue and go left. Take immediate right onto S Street. Continue walking up S Street 2 long blocks to The Textile Museum on the left.
One of Theodore Roosevelt’s greatest legacies was his dedication to conservation. Today, this 91 acre wooded island in the Potomac stands as a fitting memorial to the outdoorsman, naturalist, and visionary who was our 26th President.
Location: Island in the Potomac. Access from George Washington Memorial Parkway
Metro stops: Rosslyn or Arlington
The U.S. Capitol is among the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world. The Senate and the House of Representatives have met here for more than two centuries. The Capitol Visitor Center (CVC), the new main entrance to the U.S. Capitol, is located below the East Plaza of the Capitol – between Constitution and Independence Avenues. The CVC is open to the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Saturday. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Inauguration Day. Tours are free, but tour passes are required. You may reserve your tickets online. If you have difficulty securing a tour online (or have a party of 10 or more) please call our D.C. office (202) 225-3601. Additionally, a limited number of same-day passes are also available each day at the Information Desks in Emancipation Hall on the lower level of the Visitor Center.
Metro: Capitol South
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city with a visit to this serene living museum located in Northeast D.C. The National Arboretum is over 446 acres and contains unique garden displays and collections such as the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, Azalea and Dogwood collections, and the National Grove of State Trees. Admission is free. For more information on planning your visit please click here.
View the night sky through a 12-inch telescope. Located 34th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Open Monday evenings at 8:30pm. (202) 762-1438.
Located at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 123, Washington, D.C, 20004-2608. The D.C. Metro's Green and Yellow Line stops at Archives-Navy Memorial, steps from our front door. There is a Motor Coach Drop on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, between 7th and 9th Streets, in front of the U.S. Navy Memorial. The Memorial offers a Concert Hotline at (202) 737-2300 ext. 768 for updated schedules or cancellations due to weather.
Located on First Street and Maryland Avenue. The Court convenes on the first Monday in October and stays in session until it has heard all of its cases and handed down all of its decisions. The Court hears oral arguments the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the first two weeks of each month. Visitors can listen to arguments on either the short three to five minute tour, or they can watch the entire proceedings. Visitors who wish to stay for the entire proceedings should arrive at the Court by approximately 8:30am to get in line as entry is on a first-come-first-serve basis. Admission Fee: None.
Metro: Capitol South
Constructed of black granite to honor all Americans who served in the Vietnam War. In chronological order are over 58,000 names inscribed in the marble wall. Located at Henry Bacon Drive and Constitution Avenue, N.W. Open 24 hours daily. (202) 634-1568.
The Voice of America Studio Tour is a behind-the-scenes look at live broadcasting in radio, television, and the Internet in several of the 44 languages used by the VOA. Tours are free to the public, guided with audio and video features, and last 45 minutes. Reservations are recommended but not required. Tours are offered at 12:00pm and 3:00pm. Monday through Friday. Voice of America is located at 330 Independence Ave., S.W. Washington, D.C. 20237 off of the Federal Center S.W. Metro stop on the Blue and Orange Lines. Phone: (202) 203-4990.
The magnificent tribute to our nation’s first president is a four-sided monument, modeled after an Egyptian obelisk, and is over 555 feet tall. Around the base of the monument are fifty flags symbolizing the fifty states of the Union. On August 23, 2011, an earthquake registering 5.8 on the Richter scale occurred 84 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., and damaged the Washington Monument. The National Park Service has closed the Monument and is assessing the damage to it. While the inside of the monument is closed at this time, you can visit the surrounding area and take photographs of Washington D.C.’s most prominent structure.