Explore > District of Columbia > Welcome to District of Columbia
welcome header

Welcome to the District of Columbia

Washington, D.C., boasts some of the world’s most iconic monuments. Look beyond the stone and steel splendor, though, and you’ll find the nation’s capital leads a dynamic life that changes with the trends and seasons. Wedged between Maryland and Virginia on the Potomac River, this compact, diamond-shaped municipality packs in hip eateries, diverse shops and lush parks between its marble memorials and neoclassical government buildings.

Closeup of a red rose

State Flower: Rosa “American Beauty.” Getty Images

Explore the Mall and Beyond

The typical visit to D.C. starts at the National Mall, a nearly 2-mile stretch of green space that connects the Lincoln Memorial at one end and U.S. Capitol building at the other. Also found along the Mall is the towering Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Among the most spectacular sights in the city is the shimmering image of the Washington Monument on the surface of the vast Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

US Capitol Building with reflection on the water

Tanarch/Getty Images/iStockphoto

D.C. Art

Near the Capitol, you can see 141,000 works of art dating back to the Middle Ages at the National Gallery of Art. Science-minded travelers can view celestial bodies from a high-powered telescope at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, closer to the Capitol Reflecting Pool. After a day of sightseeing, savor D.C.’s international dining scene in the lively Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Shaw neighborhoods.

View Spectacular Floral Displays

Every spring, cherry blossom trees transform the banks of the Tidal Basin just south of the National Mall into a cotton candy wonderland. Capture the best photos by following the 2-mile path on the shoreline or rent a paddleboat and admire the blossoming pink tufts from the water. Even if you miss cherry blossom season, you’ll still want to visit the basin’s south bank to see the elegant Thomas Jefferson Memorial; the north bank is home to the immense Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Flora fanatics can also check out the U.S. National Arboretum for its azalea blossoms and impressive collection of plants from around the globe.