Washington, D.C. Feature
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Top Things to Do in Washington, D.C.
Home of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the marble Capitol is an architectural marvel filled with frescoes and statues. Tours begin at the new Capitol Visitor Center. The Capitol grounds are equally stunning—Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect famous for New York City's Central Park, designed them. A tour of the interior is impressive, but nothing beats attending a live debate on the House or Senate floor.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue may be the best-known address in the United States. Every president but George Washington has lived here, and many heads of state have passed through its hallowed halls. The self-guided tour lets you follow their footsteps through the historic rooms. Note that it takes advance planning to visit the White House.
The epitome of a landmark attraction, this 555-foot, 5-inch obelisk is visible from nearly everywhere in the city. Ride to the top to see views of the District, Maryland, and Virginia.
Lincoln, Jefferson, and FDR Memorials
The key to all three of these memorials is to stop, stand, and read the writing on the walls. There's nothing quite like reading the Gettysburg Address while the massive marble statue of Lincoln broods behind you. Ponder the first lines of the Declaration of Independence at the Jefferson Memorial, and remember the line "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" as you encounter the stark monuments to poverty and war at the FDR Memorial.
Like its 14th-century counterparts, this 20th-century cathedral has a nave, transepts, and vaults that were built stone by stone. Unlike those historic buildings, the National Cathedral has a gargoyle in the shape of Darth Vader. For a unique experience, come for a tour and tea.
If you enjoy formal gardens, visit the 10-acre grounds of Dumbarton Oaks, one of the loveliest spots for a stroll.
Arlington National Cemetery
The serene hills across the Potomac from the Tidal Basin are the final resting place for some 340,000 members of the armed services, from Civil War casualties to fallen soldiers of the Iraq War. A visit here can be both sobering and moving.
Mostly flanking the National Mall, these illustrious galleries hold everything from Kermit the Frog to the Spirit of St. Louis and the Hope Diamond to Rodin's Burghers of Calais.
Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans, and World War II Memorials
Touch a name on "the Wall." See your reflection alongside the statues of veterans of the Korean War. Search for the stories of those who lost their lives in WWII. These memorials are interactive, personal, and unforgettable.
The pandas, easily China's most recognizable ambassadors, may be the zoo's most famous attraction, but they're not the only highlight. Monkeys, elephants, and lions never fail to delight, and more-exotic residents, such as sloth bears, red pandas, clouded leopards, and Japanese giant salamanders, can be found on the Asia Trail.
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