- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Welcome to Washington, one of the most exciting and beautiful cities in the world. America’s Federal City is the seat of government as well as a city of monuments and memorials.

The District of Columbia, full of culture, charm and intrigue, also has an international side in its embassies and everyday neighborhoods.

Aside from its many obvious attractions and sights, the District is known for its politicians, scandals and other prominent citizens. It has some of the country’s oldest churches and has been the base for some of the world’s greatest authors and musicians.

To help you find your way to many of the sights, we’ve provided short capsules on 35 points of immediate interest. Just use the numbers on each item to help you locate the place on the map you wish to see.

To download a PDF of Tourist Guide 2009 and see the large map corresponding to the numbers below, click here and go to Page 8.

U.S. Capitol


East end of the Mall. The new Capitol Visitor Center, located on the east front of the building at First and East Capitol streets Northeast, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is closed Sundays and Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Inauguration days. Admission to the visitor center is free, but tickets are required to tour the Capitol itself. Tours must be reserved in advance, through a member of Congress or through the U.S. Capitol Visitor Services. A limited number of same-day passes are available. Information: 202/226-8000; www.visitthecapitol.gov, Metro stops: Capitol South, Union Station.

The building is most symbolic of the U.S. federal government and the place where laws are enacted by Congress. The Rotunda houses historical paintings, statues and frescoes beneath a massive dome. The gold circle in the center of the Rotunda’s floor marks the place where dozens of eminent citizens have lain in state, most recently former President Gerald Ford.

Visitors wishing to be admitted to the galleries when the House or Senate is in session must obtain passes from the office of a senator or representative. A flag flies over the Senate and House wings whenever either legislative body is in session.

Supreme Court


Across the street from the East Front of the U.S. Capitol. Open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Closed weekends and federal holidays. Information: 202/479-3211; www.supremecourtus.gov. Metro stops: Capitol South, Union Station.

Visits can coincide with court sessions, which are open to the public without a pass. The Supreme Court’s term runs from the first Monday in October through June. Limited seats are available to the public, so visitors should arrive before sessions begin. Two lines form on the front plaza, one for visitors who want to hear the entire argument, the other for visitors to hear a brief portion. When the court is not sitting, 30-minute lectures generally are provided every hour on the half-hour, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A 24-minute film about the court runs continuously from 9 a.m. to 4:25 p.m. daily. A cafeteria, snack bar and gift shop are available to visitors.White house


1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tours of the White House are open to parties of 10 or more, regardless of age or type of group. Tour requests must be submitted through a member of Congress, and are accepted up to six months in advance. The free self-guided tours are given from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, excluding federal holidays. The White House often closes to tours because of official functions, and these usually are not announced until the day before the function.

The White House Visitor Center, at the southeast corner of 15th and E streets Northwest, is open from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily and features many aspects of the White House, including its architecture, furnishings, first families, social events, relations with the press and world leaders, as well as a 30-minute video. Information: 202/456-7041, www.whitehouse.gov. Metro stops: McPherson Square, Farragut North, Farragut West, Gallery Place-Chinatown.

The home of every U.S. president except George Washington, the White House is the city’s oldest public building. Antiques, presidential portraits and other furnishings in their period settings make the White House an unsurpassed museum of America’s leadership as well as the home of the president.

Washington Monument


Center of the Mall, almost midway between the U.S. Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. The monument is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It is closed July Fourth and Christmas Day. Free tickets are distributed from a kiosk on the monument grounds at 15th Street Northwest for that day’s visit on a first-come, first-served basis from 8:30 a.m. until the tickets are gone. Reservations can be made through the National Park Service at 877/444-6777 or www.recreation.gov. There is a $1.50 service charge per reserved ticket, which can be reserved up to six months in advance and picked up at the will-call window of the ticket kiosk. Information: 202/426-6841, www.nps.gov/wamo. Metro stop: Smithsonian.

An impressive marble and granite obelisk, the 555-foot-tall Washington Monument offers panoramic views - 30 to 40 miles in good visibility - of the Washington area from windows on four sides of its capstone. Built from 1848 to 1884 in honor of the country’s first president, the monument is the tallest masonry structure in the world. An elevator takes visitors to the top.

Lincoln Memorial


West end of the Mall. Visitors may view the memorial 24 hours a day. Rangers are on duty from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. to answer questions. There is a bookstore on site. Information: 202/426-6841; www.nps.gov/linc. Metro stops: Arlington Cemetery, Foggy Bottom.

Completed in 1922, the memorial’s 36 columns represent the number of states in the union at the time of the president’s death. Inside, a large marble statue of a seated Lincoln overlooks the Reflecting Pool toward the Capitol. Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and Gettysburg Address are engraved on the interior walls.

Korean War Veterans Memorial


Near the Lincoln Memorial at Daniel French Drive and Independence Avenue Southwest. Visitors may view the memorial 24 hours a day. Rangers are on duty from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily to answer questions. Information: 202/426-6841; www.nps.gov/kowa. Metro: Foggy Bottom.

Nineteen larger-than-life sculptures of representatives of the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force patrol with a mural behind them showing the faces of 2,400 support personnel. To honor the dead, the wounded and the missing, there is a Pool of Remembrance.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial


Near the Lincoln Memorial between Constitution Avenue Northwest and the Reflecting Pool. Visitors may view the memorial 24 hours a day. Rangers are on duty from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily to answer questions. Information: 202/426-6841, www.nps.gov/vive. Metro stop: Foggy Bottom.

“The Wall,” as it is often called, is a modern memorial with black granite walls containing the names of the more than 58,200 U.S. soldiers killed or missing in action from the Vietnam War. Nearby, a bronze statue of three men prepared for battle looks toward the memorial and the names of fallen comrades. The Vietnam Women’s Memorial, a sculpture based on Michelangelo’s “La Pieta,” is nearby.

In November 2003, President George W. Bush signed a bill to authorize the construction of a visitor center for the memorial. It is being planned.

National World War II Memorial


On the Mall between the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool. Visitors may view the memorial 24 hours a day. Rangers are on duty from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily to answer questions. Information: 202/619-7222; www.nps.gov/nwwm or www.wwiimemorial.com. Metro stop: Smithsonian.

Funded primarily by private donations, the $195 million memorial commemorates the 16 million people who served in the U.S. armed forces in World War II, the 400,000 who died and the millions who supported the war effort from home. Construction began in September 2001, and the memorial was dedicated in 2004.

The memorial features a plaza and Rainbow Pool with a series of 24 bronze bas-relief panels depicting scenes of America’s war years at home and abroad. Four thousand sculpted gold stars on the Freedom Wall commemorate those who died.

Smithsonian Institution


Most of the Smithsonian Institution museums are on or near the Mall between Constitution and Independence avenues and Fourth and 14th streets Northwest. Most are open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, except Christmas Day; see individual listings for exceptions. For live and recorded information, call 202/633-1000. For recorded information about the National Zoo, call 202/673-4800. Visit online at www.si.edu. Smithsonian museums are free.

Although he never visited this country, British scientist James Smithson willed his fortune to the United States to establish a center for scientific learning. The Smithsonian Institution has evolved to serve as a fascinating museum as well. Many of its more than 139 million cataloged objects are on display in the District and in traveling exhibits. The Smithsonian umbrella covers art, science, history, and peoples and animals of the world - past and present.

• Smithsonian Institution Building, “The Castle,” 1000 Jefferson Drive SW. Information: 202/633-1000. Metro stop: Smithsonian. Now called the Smithsonian Information Center, it is a good first stop for new visitors. The center has tour videos and interactive computers to answer questions about Smithsonian exhibitions and 100 other Washington attractions. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

• National Museum of African Art , 950 Independence Ave. SW. Information: 202/633-4600. Metro stops: L’Enfant Plaza, Smithsonian.

• Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Place SE. Information: 202/633-4820. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed Christmas Day.

• National Air and Space Museum, Independence Avenue at Fourth Street Southwest. The museum is open for extended summer hours from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. through Sept. 7. Tour information: 202/633-2563. Metro stops: Federal Center, Smithsonian, L’Enfant Plaza. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center for display and preservation of historic aviation and space artifacts opened in 2003 near Washington Dulles International Airport. The center will have extended summer hours from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. May 22 through Sept. 7. The museum is free, but there is a $15 fee to park.

• Arts and Industries Building, 900 Jefferson Drive SW. Information: 202/633-1000. Metro stop: Smithsonian. The Arts and Industries Building is closed for renovations.

• Freer Gallery of Art, 12th Street and Jefferson Drive Southwest. Information: 202/633-1000. Metro stops: Smithsonian, Federal Center SW.

• Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Seventh Street and Independence Avenue Southwest. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, the sculpture garden is open from 7:30 a.m. to dusk. Information: 202/633-1000. Metro stop: Smithsonian.

• National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest. The museum is open until 6:30 p.m. through Sept. 7; check the Web site (https://americanhistory.si. edu) for exceptions. Information: 202/633-1000. Metro stops: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle.

• National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest. The museum offers extended hours until 7:30 p.m. during the spring and summer; check the Web site (www.mnh.si.edu) for exceptions. Information: 202/633-1000. Metro stops: Federal Triangle, Smithsonian.

• Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and F streets Northwest. It is open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Information: 202/633-7970. Metro stops: Gallery Place, Metro Center. The museum’s Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street Northwest, is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Information: 202/633-7970. Metro stop: Farragut West.

• National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and F streets Northwest. The gallery is open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Information: 202/633-8300. Metro stops: Gallery Place, Metro Center.

• National Postal Museum, 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE. Information: 202/633-5555. Metro stop: Union Station.

• Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Asian Art, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. Information: 202/633-1000. Metro stop: Smithsonian.

• National Museum of the American Indian, Fourth Street and Independence Avenue Southwest. Information: 202/633-1000. Metro stops: Federal Center, Smithsonian, L’Enfant Plaza.

National Archives


Entrances on Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues between Seventh and Ninth streets Northwest. The rotunda and exhibit hall are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. the day after Labor Day through March 14. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Admission is free. Information: 866/272-6272; www.archives.gov. Metro stop: Archives-Navy Memorial. Enter on the Constitution Avenue side for exhibits; the research entrance is on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Housing 4 billion documents, the National Archives contains the three charters of American democracy: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. After an extensive renovation, the documents are displayed in more accessible encasements. More records dating from 1774 are now displayed, including the Treaty of Paris and the Articles of Confederation. A 290-seat theater continuously shows a short film about the National Archives, with a film about the Charters of Freedom shown twice daily.

National Gallery of Art


Constitution Avenue between Third and Seventh streets Northwest. West and East buildings are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Closed Christmas and New Year’s days. Admission is free. Hours for the gallery’s sculpture garden, on the Mall on Constitution Avenue between Seventh and Ninth Streets Northwest, are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. A variety of tours is offered; check the Web site for times. Free group tours can be arranged by calling 202/842-6247 at least three weeks in advance. Metro stops: Judiciary Square, Archives-Navy Memorial, Smithsonian. Information: 202/737-4215; www.nga.gov.

The paintings, sculpture and graphic arts of the National Gallery put it in the ranks of the world’s greatest museums. Current special exhibits include “Heaven on Earth: Manuscript Illuminations from the National Gallery of Art” through Aug. 2 and “In the Tower: Phillip Guston” through Sept. 13.

Library of Congress


101 Independence Ave. SE. The Jefferson Building is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Madison Building is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The Adams Building is open from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Hours of reading rooms vary. All buildings are closed Sundays and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days. In addition, the Madison and Adams buildings are closed on all other federal holidays. Free tours of the Jefferson Building start at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. A 3:30 p.m. tour is available Monday through Friday. Information: 202/707-8000; www.loc.gov. Metro stops: Capitol South, Union Station.

Created by an act of Congress in 1800, the library opened in 1897 in an Italian Renaissance-style structure called the Jefferson Building. Newer are the Adams (1937) and Madison (1980) buildings. The library is the largest in the world, housing nearly 128 million items - including books, recordings, photos, maps and manuscripts - on about 530 miles of shelves.

U.S. Botanic Garden


Independence Avenue and First Street Southwest. The conservatory and National Garden are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Visitors are welcome in Bartholdi Park from dawn until dusk. Admission is free. Free 45-minute highlight tours of the conservatory may be available for walk-in visitors; check at the Visitor Information Desk. Group tours are available by calling 202/225-1116 four to six weeks in advance. Information: 202/225-8333; www.usbg.gov. Metro stops: Capitol South, Federal Center SW.

The conservatory is a plant museum that includes nearly 4,000 living specimens with more than 500 kinds of orchids, along with tropical and subtropical plants, cactuses, ferns, palm trees, shrubs and flowers grown in buildings, greenhouses and the National Garden at the foot of Capitol Hill. The National Garden features a rose garden and butterfly garden.

Holocaust Museum


14th Street and Raoul Wallenberg Place Southwest, south of Independence Avenue. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday through mid-June. Closed on Yom Kippur and Christmas. All exhibitions and memorials are free, but timed passes are required for permanent exhibitions from March through August. Beginning at 10 a.m., same-day passes are distributed at the 14th Street entrance on a first-come, first-served basis. For advance tickets, call 800/400-9373 or visit tickets.com. Information: 202/488-0400; www.ushmm.org. Metro stop: Smithsonian.

The $195 million privately funded structure - 13 years in the making - is a five-story building in which 10 percent houses the permanent exhibit on the history of the Holocaust. Each section strikes an emotional nerve and has a collection of 23,000 original photographs, artifacts and displays.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing


14th and C streets Southwest, one block south of the Mall. Visitors center hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays, with extended summer hours until 7:30 p.m. Free tours are offered every 15 minutes weekdays from 9 to 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 to 2 p.m. year-round. From April through August, tours also are offered from 2 to 3:45 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. The bureau is closed weekends, federal holidays and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The bureau also closes to the public if the Department of Homeland Security level is elevated to Code Orange. Tour tickets are required during peak season, March through August, are available beginning at 8 a.m. from the booth on Raoul Wallenberg Place (formerly 15th Street Northwest), and generally are gone by 9 a.m. No tickets are required for tours from September through February; visitors should line up at the visitors entrance on 14th Street. Information: 202/874-2330 or 866/874-2330; www.bep.treas.gov. Metro stop: Smithsonian.

A visit to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing - the nation’s largest money-printing plant, which produces billions of dollars and stamps annually - can be a learning experience. The tour features the various steps in currency production, beginning with blank sheets and ending with wallet-ready bills.

Jefferson Memorial


South shore of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. Visitors may view the memorial 24 hours a day. Rangers are on duty from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily to answer questions. Information: 202/426-6841; www.nps.gov/thje. Metro stop: Smithsonian.

This monument, dedicated in 1943, was built in the style of Rome’s Pantheon, a style popular with Thomas Jefferson, the nation’s third president, author of the Declaration of Independence. Excerpts from Jefferson’s writings are inscribed on the interior walls. The view from the steps is magnificent, especially at night.

FDR Memorial


West Potomac Park at Basin Drive on the Tidal Basin, between Independence Avenue Southwest and the path to the Jefferson Memorial. Visitors may view the memorial 24 hours a day. Rangers are on duty from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily to answer questions. Information: 202/426-6841; www.nps.gov/frde. Metro stop: Smithsonian.

Dedicated in 1997, this 7.5-acre memorial is divided into four outdoor galleries, one for each of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s terms in office. It features sculptures, stone and water (100,000 gallons of water are recirculated through the memorial every minute) and includes a sculpture of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt as well as the president’s Scottish terrier, Fala. Twenty-one quotes from his speeches, messages to Congress and fireside chats are inscribed on the memorial’s walls.

Arlington National Cemetery


On the Virginia end of the Memorial Bridge. Open daily 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. April through September and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. October through March. There is no admission for walking through the cemetery, but there is a fee for the two-hour Tourmobile. Call 202/554-5100 or visit www.tour mobile.com for Tourmobile information. Information: 703/607-8000; www.arlington cemetery.org. Metro stop: Arlington Cemetery.

Occupying 612 acres of hillside overlooking the Potomac River, Arlington National Cemetery was founded on 200 acres confiscated from the family of Robert E. Lee’s wife. It was intended to be a cemetery for Union soldiers of the Civil War. Today the nation’s largest shrine to war dead is the burial site for two U.S. presidents - John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft - and more than 300,000 other citizens.

Sites of special interest in Arlington National Cemetery:

• Tomb of the Unknowns - The unidentified remains of members of the armed services from both world wars and the Korean War are buried near a plain 79-ton marble block. These recipients of the Medal of Honor are watched around the clock by sentries who change guard hourly from October through March and every half-hour from April through September.

• Kennedy Grave Site - John F. Kennedy, the nation’s 35th president, is buried next to his wife, Jacqueline, near their infant son and stillborn daughter in a simple grave area marked by an eternal flame. A few steps away is a curved wall inscribed with quotations from his inaugural address. The grave of his brother, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, is nearby.

• Arlington House - The beautifully restored Custis-Lee Mansion on a high bluff overlooking Washington was the home of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee until the early days of the Civil War.

• Marine Corps War Memorial - Adjacent to the cemetery grounds is a giant bronze statue that commemorates the famous flag-raising on the western Pacific island of Iwo Jima by Marines during a vicious World War II battle that cost the lives of 5,563 servicemen and wounded 17,343 others.

• Women in Military Service for America Memorial - This is the nation’s only major national memorial honoring all servicewomen, past, present and future. It is located on the 4.2-acre ceremonial entrance to the cemetery. See www.womensmemorial.org.

Kennedy Center


Intersection of Virginia and New Hampshire avenues and F Street Northwest. Free tours are available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The tour features the Hall of States, the Hall of Nations, five of the center’s main theaters, dozens of pieces of art and the rooftop terrace. For tour information, call 202/416-8340. Information: 202/467-4600; www. kennedy-center.org. Metro stop: Foggy Bottom-GWU.

With terraces overlooking Georgetown and the Potomac River, the $70 million John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Visitors don’t even need a ticket to enjoy a performance - free performances are offered at 6 p.m. daily on the Millennium Stage in the center’s Grand Foyer.

Corcoran Gallery


17th Street and New York Avenue Northwest. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. The gallery is closed Monday and Tuesday. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for seniors, military and students; free for museum members and children 6 and younger. Group tours must be arranged a month in advance by calling 202/639-1730. Information: 202/639-1700; www.corcoran.org. Metro stops: Farragut North, Farragut West.

Housing the art collections of philanthropist William Wilson Corcoran and Sen. William Andrews Clark, the Corcoran Gallery holds some of the finest works by American artists. The permanent collections display art from the Renaissance through the Impressionist period. Opening June 20 is “William Eggleston: Democratic Camera; Photographs and Video 1961-2008.”

Ford’s Theatre


511 10th St. NW. The theater, which reopened earlier this year after extensive renovations, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Tours of the theater are free, but a timed-entry ticket is required. Tickets can reserved online through Ticketmaster (www.ticket master.com). The theater is closed Dec. 25 and during rehearsals and matinees, which generally are held Thursday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Information: 202/426-6924; box office, 202/347-4833; www.nps.gov/foth or www.fordstheatre.org. Metro stops: Metro Center, Archives-Navy Memorial.

The site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, Ford’s Theatre was restored to look as it did in Lincoln’s time and reopened for live productions in 1968. The Lincoln Museum, which will reopen later this year, is in the basement of the theater. Across 10th Street, the Petersen Boarding House where Lincoln died is open for tours from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

FBI Headquarters


Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. The FBI is not offering tours until further notice because of extensive renovations. Information: 202/324-3000; www.fbi.gov. Metro stops: Metro Center, Archives-Navy Memorial, Federal Triangle.

U.S. Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center


Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, between Seventh and Ninth streets. The memorial is open daily; the Heritage Center, located at 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days. Information: 202/737-2300; www.lone sailor.org. Metro stop: Archives-Navy Memorial.

The U.S. Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center is made up of a granite circular map of the world, 100 feet across with its 7-feet-high bronze statue of “The Lone Sailor.”

The Heritage Center, inside next-door’s Market Square east building, houses a movie theater, gift shop and a memorial log room. The U.S. Navy Band gives free concerts at the memorial at 8 p.m. Tuesdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Visit the Web site for more information.



Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street Northwest between the U.S. Capitol and the White House and across the street from the National Gallery of Art. The Newseum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; it is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days. Admission is $20 for adults; $18 for seniors 65 and older, military and students with ID; $13 for children ages 7 through 12; children ages 6 and younger are admitted free. Information: 888/639-7386; www.newseum.org. Metro stop: Archives/Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter, Judiciary Square, Smithsonian, Gallery Place-Chinatown.

The 250,000-square-foot museum, touted as “the world’s most interactive museum” features seven levels of galleries, including an interactive newsroom, a 9/11 gallery, a First Amendment gallery and a journalists memorial. In the Newseum’s theaters, visitors can watch historic news broadcasts, original documentaries and breaking news. The museum’s 15 theaters include the Sports Theater, which shows a 25-minute documentary on some of the greatest moments in sports, and the Big Screen Theater, home to a 100-foot-long video wall.

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial


Judiciary Square between E and F streets and Fourth and Fifth streets Northwest. The memorial is open 24 hours daily. The visitors center at 400 Seventh St. NW is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days. Tours of the memorial are offered, but must be scheduled a week in advance; call 202/737-3400 or make a request online. Information: 202/737-3213; www.nleomf.com. Metro stop: Judiciary Square (F Street exit).

Inscribed on the memorial’s blue-gray marble walls are the names of more than 17,500 officers killed in the line of duty, dating back to the first known death in 1792. It honors all of America’s federal, state and local law officers.

The visitors center a few blocks away has information and exhibits on the memorial, an interactive video system, personal mementos left at the memorial and a gift shop. The center also has a display on the National Law Enforcement Museum, slated to open in mid-2013.

International Spy Museum


800 F St. NW. The museum generally opens daily at 9 a.m. March through mid-August. It opens at 9:30 a.m. the rest of the year. Closing times vary from 6 to 9 p.m., depending on the time of year. The last admission to the permanent exhibition is two hours before closing time. The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days. The museum occasionally closes early for special events; check the Web site for updates. General admission for the museum’s permanent exhibition is $18 for adults ages 12-64; $17 for seniors 65 and older, active duty military and members of the intelligence community; $15 for children ages 5-11; children 4 and younger are admitted free. Same-day and advance tickets are sold at the museum; advance tickets also are available through Ticketmaster, 800/551-7328 or www. ticketmaster.com. Information: 866/779-6873 or 202/393-7798; www.spymuseum.org. Metro stops: Gallery Place-Chinatown, Metro Center.

The museum houses more than 600 international espionage artifacts. Interactive exhibits about disguises, surveillance and threat analysis are featured. Lectures, courses and symposiums are offered throughout the year as are KidSpy events, including sleepovers at the museum.

The Phillips Collection


1600 21st St. NW at Q Street. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and holidays. Admission to the permanent collection is free on weekdays, but donations are accepted. On Saturday and Sunday, visitors pay the special exhibition fee as admission, if there is no special exhibition, admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 62 and older and students, free for visitors 18 and younger. A variety of tours is available. Information: 202/387-2151; www.phillipscollection.org. Metro stop: Dupont Circle.

The Phillips Collection houses a permanent collection of 19th- and 20th-century European and American painting and sculpture. It was America’s first museum of modern art. A special exhibit, “Paint Made Flesh,” will run June 20 through Sept. 13. It will feature works by 32 artists, including Pablo Picasso, Alice Neel and Willem de Kooning.

National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall


17th and M streets Northwest. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and holidays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed on Christmas Day. Admission to most of the exhibits is free. Information: 202/857-7588; www.nationalgeographic.com/museum. Metro stop: Farragut North.

The Explorers Hall exhibit area in the National Geographic Society’s headquarters offers dramatic displays of some of the more exciting exploratory missions of the National Geographic Society. Ongoing through Oct. 4 is “Lions & Leopards: The Work of Dereck and Beverly Joubert.” Beginning Nov. 19, the museum will host “Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor,” which will include 15 life-size figures.

The C&O Canal


The C&O Canal Park is open all daylight hours. The Georgetown visitors center, one of six visitors centers on the C&O Canal, is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. It is located at 1057 Thomas Jefferson St. NW (south of M Street between 30th and 31st streets) in Georgetown. C&O Canal tours by mule-drawn boat depart from the visitors center. Hours of operation vary depending on the time of year; call 202/653-5190 for more information. Admission for the one-hour boat ride is $5, children 3 and younger ride free. Boats also depart from the Great Falls Tavern visitor center at 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac. Call 301/767-3714 for information. Information: 202/653-5190; www.nps.gov/choh. Metro: Foggy Bottom-GWU.

The C&O Canal follows the route of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles from the District, to Cumberland, Md. Hundreds of original structures remain, including locks, lockhouses and aqueducts. Millions of visitors hike or bike the canal towpath each year, taking advantage of the Potomac River Valley scenery.

Washington National Cathedral


Wisconsin Avenue and Woodley Road Northwest. The cathedral is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Tours are offered from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday. A variety of tours is available, including audio, garden, gargoyle and self-guided tours. Group tours are available, but reservations are required; call 202/537-6207, ext. 5. The cathedral may be closed to tours during scheduled events and services, check the Web site for up-to-date information on closures. In general, a donation of $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $15 for families is requested to visit the cathedral. The museum store is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas and New Year’s days. Information: 202/537-6200; www.nationalcathedral.org. Metro stop: Tenleytown.

Chartered in 1893, begun in 1907 and completed in 1990, the Gothic cathedral is the sixth-largest in the world. More than 800,000 people visit the cathedral each year, and more than 150 people are interred there, including Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller.

National Zoo


Zoo entrances are on the 3000 block of Connecticut Avenue Northwest and at Harvard Street-Adams Mill Road Northwest off Rock Creek Parkway. Admission is free. Exhibits are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 1 through Oct. 31; and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 1 through March 31. The zoo is open daily except Christmas Day. Group packages are available, starting at $4.95 per person; call 202/633-4480. Information: 202/673-4800; https://nationalzoo.si.edu. Metro stops: Woodley Park-Zoo, Cleveland Park.

The National Zoo, part of the Smithsonian Institution, occupies 163 acres along Rock Creek Park and is the home of about 2,000 representatives of more than 400 species. The young star of the zoo is Tai Shan, the giant panda cub born to Mei Xiang and Tian Tian on July 9, 2005. Recent additions to the zoo family include Kibibi, a western lowland gorilla born Jan. 10, and a baby giant anteater born March 12.

Washington (Mormon) Temple


9900 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington. The visitors center is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Admission is free and free guided tours of the visitors center are offered. The center features concerts and lectures throughout the year and videos are shown daily. The church hosts a Festival of Lights in December featuring an outdoor lights display, a live Nativity scene and nightly concerts. Information: 301/587-0144 or 301/588-0650; www.washingtonlds.org. Most convenient by car. Free parking.

This, the third-largest of the Mormon shrines, is closed to non-Mormons, but the visitors center offers interactive exhibits, photographs of the temple’s interior and helpful missionaries to explain the church’s history and doctrine.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception


Fourth Street and Michigan Avenue Northeast. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 1 through Oct. 31 and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 1 through March 31. Free tours are given at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The gift shop and bookstore are open daily except Thanksgiving Day. For tour reservations, information on services and a schedule of musical performances, call 202/526-8300 or visit www.nationalshrine.com. Metro: Brookland-CUA.

The largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and one of the 10 largest churches in the world, the basilica seats more than 3,000 and features more than 70 chapels and oratories. Nearly 1 million people visit each year.

National Arboretum


3501 New York Ave. NE. From downtown, take Route 50 east/New York Avenue and follow the signs to the arboretum on your right. From Maryland Avenue, turn left on Bladensburg Road, turn right on R Street and follow it 300 yards to the arboretum. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Closed Christmas Day. The Administration Building is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and until 5 p.m. on weekends from March 1 through Oct. 31 and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28. The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The Administration Building and bonsai museum are closed on several federal holidays. Tram tours of the arboretum are offered on weekends and holidays through mid-October at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. Tours cost $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for children ages 4 through 16, free for children younger than 4. For more information on tram tours, call 202/245-4543. Information: 202/245-2726; www.usna.usda.gov. No Metrorail access.

The National Arboretum is an oasis of forestry in the middle of a bustling city. Roads and walking trails wind through 446 acres of plants and trees of every variety. Workshops, lectures and a variety of tours are offered throughout the year. The arboretum also houses a visitors center featuring a bonsai collection.

Mount Vernon


Sixteen miles south of the District on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia. Mount Vernon opens daily at 8 a.m. April through August and at 9 a.m. September through March. It closes at 4 p.m. November through February and 5 p.m. all other months. It is open 365 days a year. Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors 62 and older, $7 for children ages 6 to 11, and children 5 and younger are admitted free. Children must be accompanied by an adult. There is an additional fee to visit the distillery and gristmill; admission packages are available. Group rates and tours are available by prearrangement; a reservation form is available online. Information: 703/780-2000; www.mountvernon.org. The Fairfax Connector Bus #101 can be taken from the Huntington Metro stop to Mount Vernon. Bus information: 703/339-7200.

The home of George Washington from 1754 to 1799, this is one of the nation’s best-preserved plantation houses of the 18th century.

The mansion and more than a dozen outbuildings are open to the public, including the slave quarters and greenhouse. A public wreath-laying ceremony is held at the tomb of George and Martha Washington at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily, April through October. Various tours of the plantation are offered, including garden and landscape tours and a slave life tour. Through Oct. 21, the popular “National Treasure Tour” will be offered several times daily. The tour, which costs $5 in addition to the regular admission, includes behind-the-scenes information on sites at Mount Vernon where filming for “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets” took place.

The Ford Orientation Center and the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center feature 23 galleries and theater spaces full of interactive displays, high-tech exhibits and a comprehensive collection of objects.

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