Washington D.C. At A Glance
Washington D.C. is a bustling metro area with a mix of modern culture and rich history. Take a walk down the famous National Mall, and surround yourself with beautiful historical monuments, such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. No visit to D.C. is complete without a trip to landmarks such as the Capitol building, the Supreme Court, and the FBI Building.
1. The Smithsonian Museums – The Smithsonian Institute is comprised of 19 museums, and countless other research centers, affiliate museums, and traveling exhibitions. These museums are FREE and open to the public, which is great on a college student’s budget. Here are a few of the most popular places to visit:
•National Museum of Natural History – This museum is dedicated to the exploration of the natural worlds of plants, animals, and the environment. Exhibits include “The Sant Ocean Hall,” “OrchidsThrough Darwin’s Eyes” (Through April 26, 2009), and “Written in Bone, Forensic Files of the 17th-Century Chesapeake” (Through February 2011).
•National Museum of American History – This museum showcases important events, achievements, and icons from American history, covering areas from government to pop culture. It just re-opened after a two-year renovation. Visit “Thanks for the Memories: Music, Sports and Entertainment History” to see popular icons like Kermit the Frog and Dorothy’s famous red heels. Exhibits include “First Ladies at the Smithsonian’” and “America on the Move.”
•Smithsonian Art Museum and Renwick Gallery – These galleries feature famous artists and collections showcasing American history in art. Exhibits include “The Honor of Your Company Is Requested: President Lincoln’s Inaugural Ball” (through Jan. 18 2010), “1934: A New Deal for Artists” (Through February 27, 2009 to January 3, 2010), and “Graphic Masters I: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum” (Through May 25, 2009). The Renwick Gallery presents fine objects of arts and crafts throughout American history.
2. The International Spy Museum – This interactive museum is dedicated to the history of espionage. Visit the “School for Spies” for unique and surprising spy equipment and technology; “Spies Among Us” for code breaking and agents during World War II; and “The Secret History of History” for a secret history of surprising “spymasters” throughout the ages. Admission is $18.
3. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum – This world-famous memorial museum provides visitors with a comprehensive look at the Holocaust and its impact on the world. Take a self-guided tour through “The Holocaust,” a permanent exhibit with personal narratives and artifacts from the tragedy, including a railcar and thousands of items taken from victims. Also check out “Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story” for a somber look at how the Holocaust affected children.
1. Verizon Center – The Verizon Center is a sports and entertainment facility home to NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. In addition, the Verizon Center hosts world-famous concerts and performers, such as Bon Jovi, Prince, and Disney on Ice. Before a trip to Washington D.C., be sure to check out the shows and sporting events to get tickets.
2. 9:30 Club – 9:30 is a main music venue in Washington D.C. that brings in artists like Rodney Atkins, Jimmy Eat World, and the “Next Big Thing” tour that features local artists and acts.
Surrounding yourself in the nation’s history can be rewarding and tiring, so plan for long days and plenty of film! If the government isn’t your thing, then take on the entertainment and shopping experiences that the city has to offer!
By Katherine Sears