Washington Tourist Activities
The Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, DCA, receives passengers from a wide variety of other US airports, and from a few Canadian airports as well (those that are equipped with US border preclearance facilities). It is a busy airport, handling over eighteen million passengers per annum, and the closest airport to the nation’s capital city, Washington, D.C. Tourist attractions in the area are plentiful, and include the famous White House, a palatial mansion that has been the home of every US president to date (besides George Washington). The city hosts many popular festivals, parades and sporting events as well, which are all popular amongst tourists.
The city of Washington is regarded as one of America’s most beautiful cities, as it features many wonderful monuments and memorials, as well as buildings with impressive architecture. It has a large number of public parks as well, which are lovely green areas that are used to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Tourists will find a good selection of hotels for their accommodation requirements, although many can be on the expensive side, especially during the main tourist season that runs approximately from April to September. Washington hostels, however, are available for visitors who require a cheaper form of accommodation.
The capital city of the US is located in the District of Columbia, although it’s national airport is found in the state of Virginia, just on the other side of the Potomac River. The city covers an area of approximately 65 square miles, or 170 kilometres, and is to the southwest of New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore, to the southeast of Pittsburgh and to the north of Raleigh and Richmond. It has a large number of notable districts. Downtown Washington is where many of the city’s most popular tourist attractions can be found, as it is filled with museums, theatres and distinctive landmarks. It also has many popular department stores and restaurants. Foggy Bottom is a historic neighbourhood, Judiciary Square has been the centre of Washington’s judiciary and local government for many years and the Penn Quarter District is home to the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building, one of the major tourist attractions. Other interesting areas include Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, the Shaw District, Georgetown, the Upper Northwest District, Capitol Hill and Anacostia.
One of the best ways to see Washington attractions is by guided tours. There are trolley guided tours available that are very popular, and that will take you to see all the main attractions of the city, whilst listening to interesting commentary regarding each one. However, many tourists ‘go it along’, and have a wonderful time. The following are some of the most popular places to visit. Opposite the White House (tours are possibly available of the White House) is Lafayette Square, a lovely park in downtown Washington. It is named after a hero of the American Resolution, Marquis de Lafayette, and features beautifully landscaped gardens and a statue of Andrew Jackson upon his horse. Guided tours are available for the Naval Observatory in the Georgetown District. This is a working observatory, with attractions such as short films regarding astronomy and a high-powered telescope. On the grounds as well, is the home of the vice-president.
Along 10 Street and Constitution Avenue visitors will find National Mall, which is packed full of many sights, attractions and entertainment. Here the Washington Monument can be seen, which is about 555 feet tall. It was built in 1884 to honour George Washington. This monument is also considered to be the tallest freestanding masonry structure in the world. Further interesting landmarks in Washington include the Jefferson Memorial, also in the National Mall area, that is dedicated to the third president of the United States, the State Department, the Washington Library of Congress, the Octagon (an interesting structure with eight sides and once the home of President Madison), the Albert Einstein Memorial, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI Building), the Theodore Roosevelt Island and Memorial, Tudor Place and the Lincoln Memorial, which is one of the most visited and photographed of Washington landmarks.
Ford’s Theatre is another famous place to visit in Washington, as it was the venue of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It has a number of articles that relate to the incident on display at the Lincoln Museum that is in the basement area. Many tourists also love to take a guided tour of the Washington Bureau of Engraving and Printing, where about USD 500 million is printed each day, and at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, many summer festivals and open-air concerts are held. Nearby the Foggy Bottom Metro Station is the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, with no less than six theatres which often come alive with plays, ballet performances and operas. Popular as well, is the Crescent Trail, a lovely stretch of about eleven miles that passes by many scenic areas of the city, including views of the Potomac River, and the Verizon Centre, which was formerly known as the MCI Centre, and where famous sporting events are held.
Children are far from forgotten in Washington, as families almost always pay a visit to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, the Science Museum of Virginia, the Washington National Aquarium and the Children’s Museum of Richmond (alongside the Science Museum. The aquarium of the city is filled with intriguing sea creatures, including piranhas, sharks, large sea turtles and alligators, and also features a touch tank that is popular amongst children. Large land animals can be enjoyed at the zoo, such as lions, tigers, bears, elephants, giraffe and gorillas, as well as tropical birds and reptiles. The two giant pandas that live here, however, are by far the most popular. They are known as Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. At the Science Museum there are themed attractions relating to physics, electricity, computers, chemistry and much more, and over 250 permanent hands-on exhibits. The museum dates back to 1970. The Children’s Museum of Richmond is regarded as one of the top children’s attractions in America, featuring many entertaining things to do. There are interactive displays, hand-on activities and play areas that include a pirate’s ship, a castle and a covered safari train.
Nearby Washington, D.C, attractions include Monticello, the Pentagon office, Mount Vernon, Arlington House, the Carlyle House, the Clara Barton National Historic Site, the FedEx Field and the Audubon Naturalist Society. Further details of these and the many other attractions of the city and nearby can be found at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, or at the tourist centres in Washington, D.C