24 Hours in Washington
Home to the White House and Capitol building, it is no secret that Washington in the United States is well-known for the abundance of significant monuments. However – there is much more to this pretty city than you think – walking through the centre, you will be able to look up and see the sky all around you. Named after the first president, Washington has a number of quirky museums to discover, such as the international spy museum and ‘Newseum’, which is dedicated to journalism and the support of free press. There will never be a dull moment – here is a list of exactly why there is always something new to see.
United States Capitol
Situated on the top of Capitol Hill, the 18 century, dome-topped United States Capitol building is the seat of the US Congress. The structure and colour of the building keeps the theme of many significant Government buildings – bright white, neoclassical architecture.
It could be said that the White House is one of the most well-known buildings in the US; as the main residence of every US President from John Adams to Barack Obama, it is subject to heavy security. However, it is possible to gaze at the house (and the snipers on the roof!) from the outside of the gates. The whole of the building and the grounds that it stands on is a National Heritage Site – from this alone, you can see just how important the White House is.
The Lincoln Memorial attracts tourists from far and wide, who wish to enter the Greek-style temple and see the world-famous statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting upon a chair. Martin Luther King made his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech at this very site.
International Spy Museum
With four sections covering ‘secret identities’, ‘school for spies’, ‘spies among us’ and ‘21 Century’, you can be assured that a visit to this museum will be so much fun. Discover the answers to all the questions about espionage you may have, from the reason behind secret identities to the tricks of the trade, as well as the names of celebrities that you didn’t know, had secret spy lives.
The Newseum is an interesting play on words, meaning ‘News Museum’. With seven floors that include 15 theatres and 15 galleries, this museum is dedicated to news and journalism. It may sound quite monotonous, but fear not – there are a number of intriguing interactive displays, featuring intricate detail covering the history of the internet, TV and radio as well as world press freedom. The Newseum aims to educate those of the importance of free press in a democratic society, something which will remain to be relevant for years to come.
United States Botanical Garden
The United States Botanical Garden is the oldest operating botanic garden in the whole of the US. Several historic trees are situated here, of which include the oak that John Crittenden made a speech about ending the Civil War, as well as a tree planted by George Washington and a Chinese oak from the grave of Confucius. Besides the history that dominates the grounds, there are a number of themed gardens waiting to be explored, including ‘rare and endangered plants’, orchid house’, ‘jungle’ and ‘Southern exposure’. Jungle consists of an overhead catwalk that runs directly over the jungle species, while Southern Exposure is a glass-walled, climate controlled tropical garden.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is colossal in both size and in following; consisting of over 70 chapels and oratories decorated by the largest collection of ecclesiastical art in the world, people come from all corners of the world to visit this church as pilgrims or tourists. Take a guided tour, visit the book store and gift shop or have a cup of coffee in this byzantine-era church and spend as much time as you can exploring. It is an amazing experience both inside and outside of the church.