The Washington Post
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(Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Top local attractions

Stephanie Merry  |  Updated 07/18/2011

Visitors can't miss these quintessentially Washington spots that also share the benefit of free admission.


Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington, VA

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is the setting for the somber changing of the guard, while the eternal flame burns at the grave of John F. Kennedy.


Jefferson Memorial

Washington, DC

Anchoring the cherry blossom-lined Tidal Basin, this dome reflects the third president's love of neoclassical architecture.


Lincoln Memorial

Washington, DC

Stand in Lincoln's shadow and brush up on the Gettysburg Address in this massive homage to the 16th president.


National Gallery of Art

Washington, DC

This two-building museum, established by the U.S. government, houses more than 100,000 pieces of art from Rubens to Rothko.


National Museum of American History - Smithsonian Institution

Washington, DC

All the Smithsonian museums are worth a peek, but the shiniest of all is the home of the Star-Spangled Banner, Dorothy's ruby slippers and an array of gowns worn by first ladies.


National Zoological Park - Smithsonian Institution

Washington, DC

The giant pandas, along with about 2,000 other animals, await visitors in the 163 acres along Rock Creek Park.


U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC

Check out where the big decisions are made (or filibustered), plus see the building's recent addition -- the Capitol Visitor Center.


Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Washington, DC

The unique memorial of stark black granite with white etching contains more than 60,000 names of those who died in Vietnam.


Washington Monument

Washington, DC

At 555 feet, Washington's tallest structure defines the D.C. skyline, and the views from the top can't be beat.


White House

Washington, DC

The first family's home is the perfect background for a photo op, while visitors who plan ahead can secure tours of the executive mansion.


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