"Our capitol in the mall" Washington D.C. by mht_in_la

Washington D.C. Travel Guide: 5,728 reviews and 15,318 photos

Washington DC is the Capitol of the United States, and one of the country's most popular vacation destinations. A few years back I used to visit DC every year for a conference. But I always stayed in the Dupont Circle area, rarely made my way to the tourist attractions. In fact I think I had been inside the Capitol and Washington Monument only once as a student.

This year (2004) I made a trip to DC just to sightsee. And I found the reason this is such a popular vacation spot. First, the United States Capitol is located in a mall called the National Mall. And when you have the mall you have the crowd. Americans just love the mall. Most of attractions concentrate in the mall area, and their names all start with "m". You have the museums, the monuments, and the memorials (but no M&M here).

The second great idea they came up with is to put the Capitol of the United States out of the states. If you visit Washington DC, you are visiting a place that doesn't belong to any state. That makes it sound like an exotic vacation destination. To those who live in Virginia, just drive across the Potomac River and you are "out of the states". How wonderful!

As to D.C.'s attractions, the line is getting longer and security tighter these days. Here's a short list of the "tough-to-see" attractions by the degree of difficulty --

1. White House -- you can no longer just walk up and visit White House anymore. The tour is now only for pre-arranged educational groups.

2. Washington Monument -- it's better if you order tickets ahead of time or your chance as a walk-up is slim. A small number of tickets are reserved for walk-up visitors but usually gone in the first 15 minutes of the day.

3. U.S. Capitol building -- it's better if you arrange your tour with your local senator or congress man/woman. Walk-up is possible but the line is long.

The attached photo to the right is WWII Memorial, the newest addition to the National Mall. It was just opened on the Memorial Day this year, a few weeks before my visit. Since it's in an open area with no security, it's very crowded.

  • Last visit to Washington D.C.: Jun 2004
  • Intro Updated Jul 13, 2004
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Reviews (67)

Comments (7)

  • 11dana's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2007 at 10:27 AM

    a lot of humor in your tips

  • crewrower's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2006 at 3:16 PM

    Nice D.C. tips from a West Coast specialist! - John Marshall (1801-1835) - I remember that from high school! He's the one that established the power of the s.court in practice

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    May 21, 2006 at 10:52 PM

    Excellent information - I've copied some of your tips into my DIY guide for my trip in June.

  • londonlover's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2005 at 9:51 PM

    I didn't realize you could get inside the Supreme Court building--that would be interesting when they are sitting. Lovely pictures!

  • Donnylass's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2004 at 7:49 AM

    Great pages thank you - I visited most of the places you mention last year - but I didnt see the panda sculptures - great tip. I must look out for them next time!

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2004 at 4:26 PM

    Arlington is amazing, isn't it? In fact....is there anything in DC that ISN"T amazing?? One of my favorite cities in all the world.

  • Radiomom's Profile Photo
    Jul 11, 2004 at 7:09 PM

    That Library of Congress is really a surprise isn't it? I love to take visitors to visit. There's always something on display that takes my breath away.


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