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Washington, DC

What to Do in Washington, D.C. Put a tour of the United States Capitol (1st Street and Independence Avenue S.W.) near the top of your must-see list of things to do in Washington, D.C. The Rotunda is filled with paintings, frescoes and an encircling frieze that together present more than 400 years of U.S. history. The Exhibition Hall gallery in the Capitol's visitor center tells the story of Congress' domed meeting place through interactive exhibits, architectural models and historic documents and artifacts.

Antique furnishings, presidential portraits and beautifully appointed decorations make the White House (1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.) a treasure trove of Americana. George Washington is the only president who never governed from the Executive Mansion, but it is one of the few buildings in today's city he would recognize. If you aren't able to take the self-guiding tour (travel requests must be submitted up to three months in advance through your member of Congress), learn more about this essential destination at the White House Visitor Center (1450 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.).

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Climb the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (2 Lincoln Memorial Circle N.W.) and contemplate Daniel Chester French's sculpture of the 16th president, seated in a colossal armchair. Then look to the east for an inspiring vista that takes in the Reflecting Pool, the green expanse of West Potomac Park and the Washington Monument.

The elevator that takes visitors to the observation room at the 500-foot level of the Washington Monument (15th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W.) is open after a three-year renovation. After enjoying the view from above, walk around the grounds and get an up-close view of the iconic D.C. landmark.

In late March or early April spring's arrival is announced by the blossoms of some 3,000 Japanese cherry trees, a 1912 gift from Japan. Their beauty is most fully appreciated on a trip around the Tidal Basin (part of West Potomac Park).

Attend a concert, play, opera or dance performance at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2700 F St. N.W.). This world-class venue and living memorial to the nation's 35th president overlooks the Potomac River.

Peruse the superlative collection of paintings in the West and East buildings of the National Gallery of Art (4th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W.), then take a moment to relax by the fountain in the sculpture garden adjacent to the West Building.

Hang out in Georgetown (M Street and Wisconsin Avenue N.W.); D.C.'s oldest neighborhood has loads of fun things to do. On a sunny afternoon, stroll the leafy residential streets lined with handsome brick town houses. You'll also want to explore the trendy shops and restaurants.

Let your imagination soar like the wondrous array of aircraft at the National Air and Space Museum (6th Street and Independence Avenue S.W.). You'll see the Wright Brothers' 1903 “flying machine”; Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic plane, the “Spirit of St. Louis”; and exhibition areas showcasing lunar rocks and other cosmic objects.

If you're looking for romantic things for couples to do, take a break from sightseeing—and endless walking—at the United States Botanic Garden (100 Maryland Ave. S.W.). Wander among tropical plants and flowers, then cross Independence Avenue to lovely Bartholdi Park and admire the grand, cast-iron Bartholdi Fountain.

The eco-friendly theme continues at Nationals Park (1500 S. Capitol St. S.E.). Home to the Washington Nationals (2019 World Series Champions), it's the nation's first green stadium, and it has plenty of great places to eat during games. If you're unable to catch a home game during your vacation, take a stadium tour instead.

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Washington, DC

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Travel Information

Population

601,723

Elevation

23 ft.

Sales Tax

The District of Columbia's sales tax is 6 percent. Additional increments are attached when purchasing alcohol, restaurant meals, rental cars, commercial parking and hotel rooms. The higher tax rates range from 10 to 18 percent. The sales tax in neighboring Maryland is 6 percent and Virginia taxes range from 4.3 to 7 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

311 in Washington, D.C., or (202) 727-9099

Hospitals

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, (202) 444-2000; The George Washington University Hospital, (202) 715-4000; Howard University Hospital, (202) 865-6100; Sibley Memorial Hospital, (202) 537-4000; MedStar Washington Hospital Center, (202) 877-7000.

Visitor Information

1133 21st St. N.W. Suite M200 Washington, DC 20036. Phone:(202)347-7201

Air Travel

Visitors arriving by plane can land at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) or Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).

Rental Cars

Rental car agencies in Washington are numerous; most have conveniently located offices in the city and nearby Maryland and Virginia suburbs. Arrangements should be made before you leave on your trip. Your local AAA club can provide this service or additional information. Hertz offers discounts to AAA members; phone (800) 654-3080.

Rail Service

Trains pull into the

Buses

The Greyhound Lines Inc. bus terminal is at 50 Massachusetts Ave. N.E.; phone (202) 289-5141.

Taxis

Taxicabs in Washington are metered.

Public Transportation

Transportation by bus or subway is available in Washington.

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