Washington DC - things to do in one day

Friday, May 17, 2013

The day after the flight and left the motel, finally we reached the city centre of Washington DC. The adventure and the exploration of North America was really starting!

As we spent one day there, I'm going to show you the things to do in Washington DC in one day!

Diaries of an explorer


We parked the car close to the National Mall, not far from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.  The National Mall in an impressive park that displays the memorials of some presidents of the United States and also some influential people such a Marthin Luther King. It is surrounded by many important museums and for this reason in some miles it has enough attractions for a couple of days of visit.

If you want to concentrate your visit in just one day  it's better to leave the museums and visit the National Mall.  Here you find a useful map:

1) The first attraction of course is the White House, the house of the president of the USA: honestly when you are there you would imagine something bigger and larger, but of course for security reasons it's surrounded by a huge garden!
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Clearly it's not visible to public and you should easily wonder why! :-)

2) In the middle of the part, there's the Washington Monument (or Washington Memorial), an obelisk erected in memory of the first president George Washington and completed in 1884, with its 169 meters (555 ft) of marble, granite and bluestone gneiss.
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3) The first impressive memorial was the Franklin Delano Roosvelt Memorial, representing the "capstone of a distinguished career", completed in 1997 with many sculptures, cascades and his famous quotes.
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besides his statue and the one of her wife.
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4) Next recommended memorial is the Martin Luther King Memorial, opened in 2011, 9,1 meters or 30 ft, built on the "Stone of Hope", also with many quotes. The epic phrase "I Have A Dream" as you can see above lays in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
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5) The World War II Memorial: opened in 2004 it is dedicated to the people who served the armed forces during the World War II. It consists in 56 pillars and 2 triumphal arches surrouding a plaza and a fountain. 
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The memorial is bounded by the Freedom Wall, with is 4,048 golden stars, each one representing one hundred of Americans died during the World War II.
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A long pool, called the Reflecting Pool, connects the World War II Memorial to the monumental Lincoln Memorial.
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6) The Lincoln Memorial: that's the most impressive and stunning memorial in the National Mall. Built in 1920, it is in the form of a Greek Doric temple. It has been the site of famous speeches: the most famous was "I Have a Dream" of M.L. King as you can see in the first pic.
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The central hall of the building contains the huge statue of Abraham Lincoln, 8,5 meters (28ft) of marble from Georgia.
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7) The last recommended memorial of the National Mall is for sure the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Completed in 1943,  this neoclassical building contains another huge bronze statue.
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Left the National Mall we reached the closer Arlington Cemetery, maybe a couple of miles far from the National Mall.

8) Arlington National Cemetery: this is the most important cemetery that contains more than 30,000 of soldiers died during the World War II.
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Besides the stunning and monumental memorials seen in the National Mall, I really appreciated the simplicity of the grave of John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Onassis.
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Before leaving Washington, there were other two important buildings to see (even from outside): the Capitol Hill, the house of the parliament of the U.S., impressive white building,
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and the Pentagon, house of the headquarters of US Department of Defense, but from the street you cannot see the "real" form of the building: you should see it from an aeroplane.
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We drove for more than 300 miles to reach the Outer Banks and in particular Kitty Hawk.

Travel tips:
  • One day is enough to see the National Mall and the Arlington National Cemetery;
  • If you want also to visit the museums, another day would be the best option;
  • Washington seemed to be a quiet city, has some nice landscapes and nice sightseeing points from the bridges of the Potomac River.
  • We had our lunch in a Taco Bell, in Norfolk, Virginia - disgusting especially if you are used to a Mediterranean diet;
Where to sleep:
  • If you are travelling on a budget, I would recommend you a motel like the Super 8 Washington, where we slept.
  • If you prefer a luxury hotel, you may choose The Hay - Adams, right in front of the White House - from 230 Euros per double room per night.

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