One Day Self Guided Tour
Estimated amount of walking on this tour - 7 miles
is so much to see and do in this city, it would take weeks
to absorb everything at the Smithsonian Museums let
alone all the attractions. Since you don't have time to see
everything, let eTravelDC guide you to some of the best the
city has to offer in a day! Driving
in the city can be a hassle so if you've got a car,
park it and take the Metro to get
around. The fares are based on distance but an all day
pass gives the user unlimited travel after 9:30 a.m. during
the week and anytime on the weekends.
Cemetery opens at 8 a.m., we'll start the day
from there. The Arlington Cemetery metro station is where
you'll get off and only a short distance from the cemetery.
Be sure to grab a map at the visitor's center.
check out JFK's grave and the "Eternal Flame." Turn
around for a good view of the city. The better view is
from the Arlington House which is at the top of the hill.
an eye on the clock because you'll want to make your
way to the "Tomb of the Unknowns" before
the top of the hour. The solemn ritual of the "Changing
of the Guard" takes place every half hour during
the peak season.
should try to leave around 9:30 a.m. to take the
Metro towards the Smithsonian.
Smithsonian Museums on the Mall:
Museums on The
National Mall are always open from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. I
suggest the following order (or the reverse):
Air and Space - You'll find everything regarding
flight at the Air and Space, except for a photo
of Michael Jordan. The museum has chosen
to use Shawn Kemp, also a decent NBA player but no
real flyer, in one of their exhibits.
Hirshhorn has comfortable chairs to view the works of
Calder and de Kooning. It's an easy place to tour;
start at the top and work your way down level by
and Industries - Ever wonder how things work? Check
out this place to find the answer to that question
Both the Sackler and the Freer offer unusual Asian artwork.
Smithsonian Castle - The Castle offers a nice history
and overview of the Smithsonian Museums.
History - The Museum of American History
will make anyone proud to be an American - you
can see everything from Archie Bunker's chair to life
in Colonial times.
History. Natural History has the dinosaurs
||American Indian Museum - This is the newest Smithsonian museum and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 800,000 objects.
Smithsonian metro station puts you right in the middle
of the National Mall and numerous signs point out
which building is which.
view may be overwhelming so if you don't care to see
them all, We personally recommend the Air and Space, Hirshhorn,
American History, and Natural History.
National Gallery of Art is also on the Mall
but not managed by the Smithsonian. For
the purist, the National Gallery of Art offers
2 buildings of collections in a calm and relaxing
|| Hungry? The
National Air and Space and American History Museums
have cafeterias. You can also settle for
the ubiquitous street vendor who offers hot dogs, chips,
pretzels and beverages for a quick and cheap fix.
Washington, D.C. Memorials:
After the Mall,
prepare to see the Memorials.
Monument is open but tickets are needed to enter. They
are free and available at the kiosk on 15th street.
Park Rangers start giving out the FREE tickets at 8:30
am. Get there early enough and you'll be able
to pick your tour, which is anytime from 9 a.m.-11:30
p.m. The kiosk closes at 4:30 p.m. and any remaining
tickets are brought to the Rangers at the monument.
To get to the Jefferson
Memorial, turn left on 14th street and head
for the domed building near the water. Don't worry,
National Park Rangers staff the Memorials from 8 a.m.
through 12 midnight so you won't be alone. From the
steps of the Jefferson, you can see the south portico of
the White House. It's a beautiful spot at dusk
when the sun goes down. Tourists and locals hang
out on the steps or along the Tidal Basin to enjoy
a pretty sunset in nice weather.
Take the path along the
Tidal Basin 100 yards to the left for the FDR
Memorial. That entrance is actually the last chamber
of the memorial, the main entrance is on the other
end by the bookstore. This memorial is huge and covers
over 7 acres. The waterfalls are a tempting
sight in the summer but the Park Rangers might catch
you if you try to take a dip! Be a good
tourist and just toss a coin or two into the pools.
The Lincoln, Vietnam
Veterans, World War II and the Korean
War Memorial are all in one area. You can
make out the top of the Lincoln Memorial from
the FDR Memorial. Take a right on Ohio Drive,
the only street in front of the FDR Memorial,
and cross the stoplight until you see the Lincoln Memorial. It's
a busy street, so use the crosswalk. From the
steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial
is to the right of the reflecting pool; the Vietnam Veterans,
to the left. The powerful figure of Lincoln would
stand 28 feet tall if he jumped to his feet. There's
a lot of symbolism within the memorial, and the
view from the steps is spectacular (just like in the
movie "Forrest Gump"!)
walls of both the Vietnam Veterans and the Korean War
Memorials are eerie at night. You will most likely run across
a veteran who has come here to pay respects to a fallen
buddy. The story of the etched names begins and ends
at the apex where you will find the dates, 1959 and 1975.
A multitude of faces can be found on the wall of the
Korean War Memorial courtesy of computer enhancement. Across
from the wall, the figures on patrol will have
you pondering from whence they came and whither
they will go.
need a rest room break, there's one in the lower lobby of the Lincoln
Memorial. You have now seen the biggest attractions
in Washington DC and can go home happy!