#99 best destination in the world

Lincoln Memorial

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Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • National monument built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln
  • Built in 1922
  • Since the 1930s the monument has been symbolic of race relations
  • Was the location of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech

National Museum of African American History and Culture

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Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • National museum documenting African American history and culture, with over 36,000 artifacts
  • Opened in September 2016 in a ceremony led by President Barack Obama

National Museum of Natural History

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Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • The fourth most visited museum in the world and the most visited natural history museum in the world
  • Holds the national collections and research facilities
  • Collections contain over 126 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts
  • Home to 185 professional natural history scientists, the largest group of scientists dedicated to the study of natural and cultural history in the world
  • Opened in 1910

National Gallery of Art

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Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Museum was privately established in 1937 for the American people by a joint resolution of the United States Congress
  • Gallery’s collection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, medals, and decorative arts traces the development of Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present, including the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas
  • Gallery often presents temporary special exhibitions spanning the world and the history of art
  • One of the largest museums in North America

United States Capitol

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Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Home of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government
  • The original building was completed in 1800
  • The Capitol is built in a distinctive neoclassical style and has a white exterior

National Air and Space Museum

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Museum established in 1946 as the National Air Museum
  • It is the the second most visited museum in the United States
  • The museum contains the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, the Friendship 7 capsule which was flown by John Glenn, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1 which broke the sound barrier, the model of the starship Enterprise used in the science fiction television show Star Trek: The Original Series, and the Wright brothers’ Wright Flyer airplane
  • The National Air and Space Museum is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and spaceflight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics

National Museum of American History

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Museum that collects, preserves, and displays the heritage of the United States in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific, and military history
  • Among the items on display is the original Star-Spangled Banner

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • United States’ official memorial to the Holocaust, it provides for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history
  • The museum is dedicated to helping leaders and citizens of the world confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity, and strengthen democracy
  • The collections contain more than 12,750 artifacts, 49 million pages of archival documents, 85,000 historical photographs, a list of over 200,000 registered survivors and their families, 1,000 hours of archival footage, 93,000 library items, and 9,000 oral history testimonies
  • Researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have documented 42,500 ghettos and concentration camps created by the Nazis throughout German-controlled areas of Europe from 1933 to 1945

White House

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Official residence and workplace of the president of the United States, and has been the residence of every U.S. president since John Adams in 1800
  • The residence was designed by an Irish-born architect in the neoclassical style
  • It was modeled after the building on Leinster House in Dublin, a building which today houses the Irish legislature
  • Construction took place between 1792 and 1800, using Aquia Creek sandstone painted white

National Portrait Gallery

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Historic art museum founded in 1962, its collections focus on images of famous Americans
  • A hallmark of the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection is the Hall of Presidents, which contains portraits of nearly all American presidents

National Museum of the American Indian

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Museum devoted to the culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas
  • The collection includes more than 800,000 objects, as well as a photographic archive of 125,000 images
  • The collection is divided into the following areas: Amazon; Andes; Arctic/Subarctic; California/Great Basin; Contemporary Art; Mesoamerican/Caribbean; Northwest Coast; Patagonia; Plains/Plateau; Woodlands

Smithsonian Institution Building

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Smithsonian Institution’s administrative offices and information center
  • The building is constructed of Seneca red sandstone in the Norman Revival style, and is nicknamed the Castle, completed in 1855
  • The main Smithsonian visitor center is also located here, with interactive displays and maps
  • A crypt just inside the north entrance houses the tomb of James Smithson

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Art museum initially endowed during the 1960s with the permanent art collection of Joseph H. Hirshhorn
  • It was conceived as the United States’ museum of contemporary and modern art and currently focuses its collection-building and exhibition-planning mainly on the post–World War II period, with particular emphasis on art made during the last 50 years

Freer Gallery of Art

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Asian art museum that contains art from East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Islamic world, the ancient Near East, and ancient Egypt, as well as a significant collection of American art
  • The Freer houses over 26,000 objects spanning 6,000 years of history from the Neolithic to modern eras
  • The collections include ancient Egyptian stone sculpture and wooden objects, ancient Near Eastern ceramics and metalware, Chinese paintings and ceramics, Korean pottery and porcelain, Japanese folding screens, Persian manuscripts, and Buddhist sculpture

Washington Monument

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Obelisk built to commemorate George Washington, once commander-in-chief of the Continental Army (1775–1784) in the American Revolutionary War and the first President of the United States (1789–1797)
  • The monument, made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, is both the world’s tallest predominantly stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk
  • Construction of the presidential memorial began in 1848 and was halted for a period of 23 years, from 1854 to 1877 due to a lack of funds, a struggle for control over the Washington National Monument Society, and the American Civil War
  • A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 27% up, shows where construction was halted and later resumed with marble from a different source
  • The interior is occupied by iron stairs that spiral up the walls, with an elevator in the center

National Mall

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Walk difficulty: Easy
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Landscaped park that contains and borders a number of museums of the Smithsonian Institution, art galleries, cultural institutions, and various memorials, sculptures, and statues