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Washington, DC

The City of Washington in the District of Columbia is a far more dynamic, attractive town than most government cities. It has overcome countless challenges, from near-abandonment by Congress after the War of 1812 to the world's highest murder rate in the 1980s, to emerge as one of the USA's top tourist attractions. Monuments to federal puissance, such as the Capitol, Supreme Court, White House and Washington Monument are designed to impress visitors, while such historical structures as the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial and Vietnam Wall are sometimes exultant, sometimes sobering reminders of the past. The nation's capital also boasts one of the world's premiere research organizations, the titanic Smithsonian Institution, all of whose museums are free to the public. And when you're ready for the real Washington, the city behind the federal city, be sure to visit the cultural and culinary attractions of such neighborhoods as Georgetown, Adams-Morgan, Dupont Circle and Shaw & the New U District.A short drive away from the city are Mount Vernon, George Washington's manor, and Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's quirky home. Area day trips include numerous Civil War sites and colonial towns, such as Williamsburg and Jamestown.

National Air and Space Museum National Air and Space Museum
There are dozens of aircraft here, everything from the Wright Brothers' Flyer and Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis to World War II planes and Apollo 11. In the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater, you can view one of the ever-changing films on the five-story screen. After the film, you can touch a moon rock or visit the original Star Trek model of the Enterprise. Educational exhibits introduce the ideas of aerodynamics to children and track the influence of flight technology on our culture.
FDR Memorial FDR Memorial
This monument is not only a memorial to the nation's 32nd president, but also a remembrance of the people of his time. The monument stretches along the Tidal Basin with four outdoor gallery rooms, connected by granite passageways. Each room exhibits aspects of Franklin D. Roosevelt's terms in office. The second room, for example, depicts the Great Depression with statues waiting in a bread line and of a man listening to a fireside chat. Another room contains a statue of Eleanor Roosevelt, the only memorial to honor a First Lady. The monument is glorified by waterfalls and pools.
National Zoological Park National Zoological Park
This is one of the nation's finest zoos. It was created by Congress in 1889 and designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and New York's Central Park. The zoo is famous for its giant pandas from China, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, but you will find all sorts of critters, both familiar and exotic, crawling about the place.
Jefferson Memorial Jefferson Memorial
Designed by John Russell Pope, this Roman-style monument to Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, is elegant and simple. Jefferson's 19-foot statue stands within, surrounded by some of his most inspirational writings. This is a perfect after-dinner destination. At night, the view of the Washington Monument across the tidal basin is one of the most attractive in Washington, especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

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