The Smithsonian Institute is home to one of the largest collections of art, historical artifacts, and preserved documents in the entire world. However, the hands-on exhibits are certainly worthy of exploration. The National Air and Space Museum is one of the most visited of the 19 museums operated by the Smithsonian. Adults and children will love touring the 23 galleries that describe the history of aviation and space travel. The Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater is a huge draw for visitors to this outstanding museum.
The International Spy Museum is one of the most overlooked attractions in Washington, DC. Both young and old will be fascinated by the enormous collection of spy gadgetry and can learn the secrets of the spy trade through participation in the hands-on, interactive exhibits.
The National Zoological Park is part of the Smithsonian and is one of the nation's oldest continuously operating zoos. Families are drawn to the famous panda exhibit as well as the large aviary, reptile house, and the Asia Trail. More than 2,000 animals representing over 400 species are found at this renowned zoological park.
Everyone will want to see the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. Several tour companies offer package deals that take visitors by bus to all of these famous landmarks. Many of the tours also make stops at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Tours also pass the White House and U.S. Capitol.
Strolling The Neighborhoods
Capitol Hill includes a huge reflection pool, countless acres of lush grass and shady trees, and several historic buildings. The Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and Folger Shakespeare Library are all within walking distance of the Capitol grounds.
Just east of the Capitol Building is the famous Eastern Market, one of the most family-friendly open-air markets in the region. Local food, wonderful handmade arts and crafts, and a nice bohemian atmosphere make this a favorite for visitors during their stay in Washington, DC.
The Potomac River is lined with walking trails and flows directly through the National Zoological Park. The smaller Anacostia River is also a wonderful place for strolling and picnicking, and families will enjoy spending time at the renowned U.S. National Arboretum and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, both of which lie along the Anacostia River at the east end of the city.
For those visitors wanting to combine walking with sightseeing, a stroll along the National Mall is the best bet. Stretching from the U.S. Capitol west to the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall includes the Washington Monument Reflection Pool, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Sculpture Garden. Visiting the simple, beautiful Lincoln Memorial is the perfect way to end a stroll along the Mall.