Photograph by Dan Westergren
Designed by an idealistic Frenchman, constructed (largely by slave labor) upon dredged marshland, named for a fledgling nation’s founding father, and established as the seat of the U.S. government, Washington, D.C., is a fitting Main Street for an upstart nation. Today’s Washington is a capital of interconnected neighborhoods and identities, a quixotic place of grand boulevards and marbled monuments seaming into age-worn cobblestone streets and gossiping-on-the-front-stoop neighborliness. At the heart of this so-called “capital of the free world” is a small town far more romantic than most politicians would admit.
Washington, D.C., with its monuments, museums, and neighborhoods, dazzles visitors year-round.
See our gallery of the best hikes within an hour of U.S. cities where the only prerequisite for exploring is a pair of sneakers.
Our experts recommend the top attractions in and around Washington, D.C—with advice on how to get the most out of your visit.
From lively concerts to thought-provoking presentations, captivating films, and engaging family events, National Geographic Live! brings you the world and all that’s in it.
At National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C., past and current expeditions, adventures, and scientific research come to life.
This exhibit celebrates African American contributions and opens February 2, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
Submit your best shots for a chance to be featured in our weekly galleries and to win a grand prize trip for two to Alaska.