There is so much to see and do in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas of Maryland and Northern Virginia. The National Capital Area is one of the most exciting places in our great country.
Maryland surrounds almost three-quarters of Washington, D.C., and is a cornucopia of interesting places to visit. From life on the Chesapeake Bay with its tasty fresh crab to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis that prepares young men and women to become professional officers in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. From the great city of Baltimore with its professional football and baseball teams to the Eastern Shore with its beautiful beaches and shoreline, Maryland offers the chance for an exciting new excursion every weekend.
Just south of NSA Bethesda is downtown Bethesda, offering dining, shopping, arts and entertainment. Whether you’re looking for a four-star restaurant, or just a quick bite to eat, flea markets or movie theaters, this local thriving community is the place to go. With ample parking and access to the Metro, Bethesda also has several art galleries, shops and parks. For more information, visit www.bccchamber.org.
Annapolis is the Maryland state capital and is also known as the “sailboat capital of the world.” Annapolis is the home of the U.S. Naval Academy and Saint John’s College, and is located at the mouth of the Severn River on the Chesapeake Bay. Downtown in the historic area, originally established in 1695, City Dock is a favorite place to visit. Known to local boaters as “Ego Alley,” it’s the weekend and evening scene of a steady parade of expensive yachts. There is plenty to eat and drink in the area and power boat shows every October. The nearby U.S. Naval Academy has the world’s largest dormitory housing over 4,000 midshipmen. Favorite sights here are the crypt of John Paul Jones in the Academy Chapel and the Severn seawall with its mast from the battleship Maine (sunk in Havana in 1898). There is also an early submarine, a Mark XIV torpedo (memorial for 52 U.S. submarines lost in World War II with 3,505 men) and other Navy hardware.
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
One of America’s oldest seaports and one of the world’s newest travel destinations, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was established in the seventeenth century. The Inner Harbor has a rich maritime heritage and today is complemented by exciting attractions such as the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center. The Inner Harbor is close to Fells Point and Little Italy with water taxis providing the opportunity to view the Baltimore’s dramatic skyline on a leisurely cruise as well as transport to other exciting city locations.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Strathmore Center is a 2,000-seat concert hall that houses the highest caliber acoustics and its location is convenient and easy to get to with plenty of complimentary parking available for ticketed events. Call (877) BSO-1444 or log on at www.BSOatStrathmore.com for more information.
Northern Virginia is a region of striking contrasts, distinct from the rest of the state in many ways. Arlington and Alexandria, decidedly “inside the Beltway,” are fast-paced urban settings. Slightly further away Northern Virginia yields to leisurely scenic byways with its award-winning wineries, white-fenced horse farms and a variety of local, regional and national parks. Shoppers can delight in the upscale offerings of malls or enjoy browsing one of the many outlet stores of NOVA. History buffs can enjoy a never ending choice of places to visit like Arlington National Cemetery, the home of George Washington Mount Vernon and the Iwo Jima Memorial. For more information, visit alexchamber.com.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery has a number of fascinating sites to visit, including the Tomb of Unknowns, the Amphitheater, Arlington House, and the grave of President John F. Kennedy. Outside of the Tomb of Unknowns, there is a changing of the guard every half hour in the summer and every hour the rest of the year. The cemetery opens to visitors daily at 8a.m. From April thru September, the cemetery closes at 7 p.m. From October to March, the cemetery closes at 5 p.m.
Marine Corps Memorial Iwo Jima Statue
This 78-foot memorial, created by Felix de Weldon, commemorates all the Marines and Corpsmen who have died in battle since 1775. It’s open daily 8 a.m. to midnight. It’s located on Route 50 at Arlington Boulevard & Ridge Road.
The Women in Military Service for America Memorial
Situated on 4.2 acres of land at the ceremonial entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, the Women’s Memorial is the first major national memorial honoring women who have served in our nation’s armed forces during all eras and in all services. The history of women serving in defense of our nation began more than 220 years ago with women who served in the American Revolution and continues with those who serve today. It’s open daily, except Christmas, from April to September from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. From October to March, it’s open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Old Town Alexandria
Alexandria is unique – an historical place that keeps pace with the modern world. The city is part of a large metropolitan area surrounding the nation’s capital, yet it has retained its period character. About one-quarter of the town’s 15 square miles has been designated as a national or local historic district. Alexandria was home to those who made American history – George Washington, George Mason and Robert E. Lee – and many other men and women.
The District of Columbia, our Nation’s Capital and the most powerful city in the world, is the hub of American political life and a broad international cultural diversity. The city is a textbook, come to life for the entire family. From its’ majestic monuments, many free museums and historical treasures to its’ unique neighborhoods and numerous street festivals, the city is a glorious mix of delightful contrasts. For ease in getting around town Washington’s Metro System, one of the best and easiest to navigate systems in the country provides a connection to the surrounding neighborhoods in the city, Maryland and Northern Virginia. For more information regarding WMATA (Metrorail and Metrobus) call (202) 637-7000 Visit dcchamber.org for visitor information.
The White House
The President’s house and one of the most popular sights in D.C., the White House is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Only the public rooms on the ground floor and the state floor may be visited and hours are limited. The White House may be closed at various times due to security concerns and special events. For more information, call (202) 208-1631.
West of the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument, stands the Lincoln Memorial. With the words of the famous Gettysburg Address and murals of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation adorning its walls, the imposing 26-foot seated statue of the 16th president sits in the center of the Greek Revival structure. Built to honor Abraham Lincoln, perhaps one of America’s best-loved presidents, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 1922, and remains to this day a symbol of freedom. The memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Park rangers are available from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Call (202) 426-6895 for more information.
This memorial, dedicated to the author of the Declaration of Independence, stands on the south shore of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. The circular structure made of Vermont and Georgia marble, combines architectural elements of the dome of the Pantheon of Rome and the rotunda designed by Jefferson for the University of Virginia. A 19-foot statue of the third president towers in the center of the memorial and the marble walls bear inspiring quotations. One of the best times to visit this monument is early spring when thousands of Cherry trees blossom throughout the Tidal Basin.
John F. Kennedy Center for the
Under the guidance of Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, this center for the performing arts opened Sept. 8, 1971, as the official memorial in Washington to honor President John F. Kennedy. The Center features a rooftop promenade overlooking the Potomac River, three dining areas and five performing arts theaters: the 2,700-seat Concert Hall, home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the Opera House, also a setting for ballet, the Eisenhower Theater, the Theater Lab and an American Film Institute Theater. Free tours of the Center are available. Call (202) 416-8341 for more information.
Perhaps the most photographed strip of land in the world, the National Mall is a testimony to the American commitment to free speech and the right to congregate. It was the architectural brainchild of 18th century French engineer Pierre L’Enfant. The mile-long oblong stretch of green, running between Constitution and Independence Avenues, is home to demonstrations and tourists and is surrounded on both sides by the twelve buildings of the Smithsonian Institution’s wondrous museums. They include: The National Museum of Natural History, The National Museum of American History, the National Gallery of Art, the Hirshorn Museum, the Air and Space Museum, the Botanical Gardens, and the brand new National Museum of the American Indian. The Mall is flanked by the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building gleaming in the East and the Washington Monument piercing the sky in the West.
Built in the old-world tradition and probably the last great Gothic cathedral to be erected, the National Cathedral was finished in 1990 after 83 years of construction. Bring binoculars to view the menacing beasts, gruesome gargoyles and fanciful creatures, which adorn the outside walls. Located on the corner of Wisconsin and Massachusetts Aves., N.W., the Cathedral offers Episcopalian and interdenominational services. Call (202) 537-6207 for times of services and tours.
The National Zoo
Located at 3001 Connecticut Ave., N.W. in the heart of the city, more than 5,000 animals are housed in this beautiful 163-acre park. One of the main attractions is the newest pair of giant pandas from China. Grounds are open April thru October from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and November thru March from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The National Zoo is easily accessible by Metro. Call (202) 673-4800 for more information.
National Museum of the American Indian
The opening of this museum marks a unique cultural achievement as Native Americans from North, Central, and South America realized a long-awaited dream to share and honor their vibrant cultures with visitors from throughout the world. NMAI is located on 4th Street & Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20560. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily and is closed Christmas Day. For more information, call (202) 633-1000.
National World War II Memorial
The World War II Memorial is the first national memorial dedicated to all who served during the war. The memorial, established by the American Battle Monuments Commission, honors all military veterans of the war, the citizens on the home front, the nation at large, and the high moral purpose and idealism that motivated the nation’s call to arms. The World War II is the only 20th-century event commemorated on the Mall’s central axis. The memorial is located on the National Mall at 17th Street between Independence and Constitution Aves.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Known simply as “The Wall,” this moving tribute displays the names of more than 58,000 Americans listed as POWs/MIAs and casualties of the Vietnam War in black, gleaming granite. A life-size statue of three infantrymen completes the experience. Located west of the Mall, near the Lincoln Memorial, and guarded 24 hours a day by men and women who served. Call (202) 634-1568 for more information.