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Places to Visit in Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland

Things to do / Travel Guide

The majority of the attractions in the DC region are concentrated in the area of the Mall which is adjoined by downtown and Capitol Hill, a walk of a few blocks in an easterly direction.

The majority of DC's tourist attractions are found in the Northwest (NW) and Southwest (SW) quadrants of the city. If you accidentally walk in to either of the other sections of the city, you'll quickly come upon some of the less heavily-trafficked tourist areas, and should return in the opposite direction, as these areas are known to be unsafe.

Visit Washington - The Mall, Downtown, and Capitol Hill

Designed as an outdoor recreational area for all types of travelers and curiosity-seekers, the Mall is DC's main tourist attraction. In essence, it is a 400-foot-wide expanse stretching from the base of the Capitol Building to the Potomac River two miles away. Characterized by wide open spaces and a blanket of grass, on pleasant days thousands of people can be seen sunbathing, throwing Frisbees, and just relaxing out in the open. More than 5,000 trees offer shaded areas all around The Mall that are perfect for picnicking and people-watching.

Visit the Capitol Hill complex, referred to as “the Hill,” home to the legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government. The area includes the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, as well as the Library of Congress. Outside of the government facilities, the area is home to numerous parks, bars, and restaurants which offer enjoyable modes of relaxation between visits to the various buildings of political and historic significance.

Bordering The Mall in all directions are the city's most famous monuments, museums and places to visit, as well as the Smithsonian Institution. Memorials to American history, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Memorial, are located in this area as well. Various other memorials, including a large-scale project for the victims of World War II, are in development here, too. In recent decades The Mall has become the chosen site for many large-scale demonstrations, including the iconic civil rights protests of the 1960s and, more recently, the Million Man March. The 555-foot-tall Washington Monument is also found in this area along with the Reflecting Pool, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial.

Also referred to as the Federal Triangle, the downtown area is made up of businesses and government offices including buildings such as the National Archives, the FBI Headquarters, and the Old Post Office Building, which today houses many shops and cafés. The downtown area is replete with museums and attractions and is a central focus of any visit to DC.

Places to Visit in DC - Foggy Bottom, Adams Morgan, and Dupont Circle

Outside of the downtown areas, numerous cultural and historical attractions can be found in the neighborhoods of Foggy Bottom, Adams Morgan, and Dupont Circle, all tucked deep into the friendly confines of the NW quadrant. Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle are healthy walks from the downtown area, while Adams Morgan is further out. Alternatively, the Metro provides for the quickest and easiest way to get to the places to visit.

The Foggy Bottom neighborhood is one of DC's older residential areas. Today, the area is most widely-known for housing the State Department. While the building's exterior is made of unattractive concrete, visitors to the site's Diplomatic Reception Rooms can see many 18th-century architectural masterpieces along with one of the more substantial collections of American-crafted furniture. Close by stands the Watergate Hotel, which obtained its notoriety for the burglary and subsequent scandal that later led to President Richard Nixon's early departure from the White House. Also in Foggy Bottom are the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the campus of George Washington University.

Adams Morgan is at the center of DC's nightlife. It is also the central residence of the majority of the city's Latin American population. The area's colorfully-adorned streets are home to many bars and restaurants featuring a wide variety of cuisines.

Dupont Circle is known as the center of DC's cosmopolitan culture. Featuring original architecture, many bars, restaurants, galleries, shops, museums, and homes, the area is a central attraction both for locals looking to relax as well as tourists in search of a true sense of the urban DC scene.

Places to Visit in Washington - Georgetown

As one of DC's more exclusive neighborhoods, this preserved historic area brings together the past and the present with many authentic shops, bars, and restaurants. Situated along the Potomac River, the neighborhood is famous for its quaintness, which is best appreciated by walking along the quiet side streets. Visit well-known Georgetown University, located here. Many of the city's most prominent residents are current and former members of Congress, as well as other leading political figures.

Places to Visit in Alexandria, Virginia

Located across the Potomac from DC, Alexandria, Virginia looks much like it did when it was first settled more than 200 years ago. Filled with historical and cultural significance, it is a major attraction for visitors to the DC area. The streets here are lined with quaint restaurants, shops, and art galleries.

Arlington, Virginia Places to Visit

Just a few minutes across the Potomac via the bridge adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington, Virginia is home to the Arlington National Cemetery. This is the final resting place of thousands of U.S. military soldiers as well as President John F. Kennedy. The Pentagon, which is the operations base for the U.S. military, as well as one of the world's largest and most strategically sensitive buildings, is located here. Riding the population boom of the capital region, Arlington is home to nearly 190,000 people, including many immigrants who give the area a strong international flavor.

Annapolis, Maryland Places to Visit

Approximately half an hour outside DC, Annapolis, Maryland is home to the U.S. Naval Academy. Referred to as the sailing capital of America, the city features an 18th-century port that served as one of the maritime links between the colonies and the rest of the world. Housing many historical attractions and places to visit, Annapolis also offers great shopping at Arundel Mills, one of the biggest malls in the United States.

Places to Visit in Baltimore, Maryland

A major metropolitan city all on its own, located just 50 miles north of DC, a visit to Baltimore, Maryland can be easily combined with a Washington vacation. With many sites linked to America's early history, Baltimore is a thriving and tourist-oriented area that offers no shortage of attractions. The Inner Harbor, a waterside promenade with many stores and indoor and outdoor attractions, is a “must see.” Close by is Camden Yards, a modern stadium complex that is home to Major League Baseball's Baltimore Orioles. Fort McHenry, famous as the site which inspired the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” is another oft-visited site in the city.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Two hours to the north of DC sits the site of one of the most memorable battles of the Civil War and where President Lincoln gave his historic “Gettysburg Address”. Visited by more than 2 million people each year, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is the largest war memorial in the United States. Reenactments of the epic Battle of Gettysburg are regularly held here throughout the year.

Places to Visit in Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland

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