A quick trip to Washington, D.C., gave me just one day to spend in the nation’s capital. Like so many destinations, one day is just enough to see a few of the more unusual highlights—and more than enough to leave me wanting more.
What to Do
The National Mall is the central point of most sightseeing visits to D.C., so that was where I spent most of my day. The tree-lined open space between Constitution and Independence avenues extends from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol Building, and along each side are several Smithsonian museums and galleries.
Don't miss the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which showcases memorabilia from journeys into outer space, air travel, hot air balloons and more. Of all the relics there, a personal favorite was the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, which carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins back from on their historic journey to the moon in July 1969.
As you walk among the museums and galleries, there are small park areas featuring water fountains, sculptures, gardens, and small benches. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, located next to the National Air and Space Museum, is currently featuring 12 bronze sculptures that represent the signs of the Chinese zodiac. The 10-foot statues surround a beautiful waterfall—and it makes for a great rest stop between museums.
Last but not least, don’t forget to visit the many art galleries along the Mall. The Freer Art Gallery recently opened a showing of the Peacock Room, a collection of more than 250 ceramics assembled by Charles Lang Freer, which he originally displayed in his Detroit mansion. The pieces, hailing from all over Asia, exhibit his belief that all works of art go together regardless of their period. The Freer Art Gallery is also featuring a collection of ancient Chinese and Japanese art, including a handsaw made out of jade!
If You Go
- Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a lot of walking.
- Parking is limited to 3 hours surrounding the National Mall, so get there early to get a head start on the crowds.
- All of the museums are easily accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
- To start planning your trip, request your TourBook® online, or find a Travel Consultant in your area.
A Question for You
What’s your one “must see” stop in D.C.? Leave us a comment below.