Below you will find a selection of links where you can learn more about the Washington, DC, area.
The Executive Branch
The Legislative Branch
The Judicial Branch
Getting To and From Washington
Washington is served by three airports and an AMTRAK train station. Washington Reagan National is by far the closest airport to downtown DC and the only airport that is served by METRO.
- Washington Reagan National Airport
- Dulles International Airport
- Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
- Union Station—Served by AMTRAK and regional rail lines
Getting Around Washington
- Public transportation in Washington is outstanding with extensive rail and bus service.
- The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority operates Metrorail and Metrobus service which serves Washington, Virginia and Maryland.
- The D.C. Circulator buses offer routes through various areas of DC including a bus that travels from Capitol Hill to Georgetown.
You will be living in the 19th-century neighborhood adjacent to the U.S. Capitol known as Capitol Hill. Pierre L’Enfant, designer of Washington selected this area’s high ground as the ideal location for the city’s capitol building. In addition to this area, which you will undoubtedly explore, there are many interesting neighborhoods throughout the city.
- Downtown, between the Capitol and White House north of Pennsylvania Avenue, newly revitalized with the Convention and MCI Centers, theaters, restaurants, hotels, and stores
- Dupont Circle. a vibrant neighborhood adjacent to downtown and is home to many shops, restaurants and private art galleries
- Georgetown, adjacent west of Dupont Circle, a famous historic district, partly residential and partly commercial, and also a hugely popular nightlife, restaurant, and shopping district
- Adams-Morgan, northeast of Dupont Circle up 18th Street: a popular, nightlife area famous for its wide array of ethnic eateries The Golden Triangle, essentially a business district, adjacent south of Dupont Circle full of offices, shops, and restaurants
- Kalorama, adjacent northwest of Dupont Circle along Massachusetts Avenue’s embassy row, Washington’s ambassadorial quarter, all beautiful mansions and handsome town houses.
- Foggy Bottom, south of Dupont Circle, home of George Washington University, the Kennedy Center, and international organizations, including the World Bank and the State Department
- Cleveland Park and Woodley Park comprise the Connecticut Avenue corridor, which is home to many shops and restaurants. The National Zoo and Washington National Cathedral are found in these neighborhoods.
- Alexandria, Virginia, with its Old Town, is historically preserved and a strong shopping and nightlife district reachable by Metro.
- The Washington Post
- The Washington Times
- Washington City Paper
- Washingtonian Magazine
- Washington Monthly
Performing Arts and Entertainment
- The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, with six theaters, is the dominant performing arts organization in the city, and a leading institution in the country. The Kennedy Center offers a wide variety of local, national, and international troupes and performers in over 3300 performances a year. You can find individual performances or examine multiple programs in opera, symphony, jazz, ballet, dance, theater, film, chamber music, humor, and celebratory festivals. Depending on availability, students can obtain half-price tickets. Free performances are offered daily at 6:00 p.m. at the Millennium Stage of the Grand Foyer.
- The MCI Center, for sports, concerts, ice shows, etc.
- The National Theater, historic downtown theater often running Broadway musicals.
- The Warner Theater
- Ford's Theater, for more intimate productions
- The Shakespeare Theatre, plays by the Bard and other classics, in superb productions
- Arena Stage, Washington's premier regional theater, emphasizing classics and major new works
- The Studio Theatre, a small company with edgy contemporary productions
Historic sites and monuments
Washington is home to so many historic sites. You could visit one each day of the semester and many would still remain unseen. Take the time to visit the well known in addition to seeing some of the places that are off the beaten path.
Arlington also hosts a large number of sights, especially Arlington National Cemetery with its Veterans’ memorials, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Kennedy grave sites, Iwo Jima Memorial, and Carillon. The Pentagon is nearby.
There are, of course, many other historic sites to visit:
- National Archives, where key government documents are kept and displayed
- Bureau of Printing and Engraving, from where the money comes
- Ford’s Theater and Lincoln Museum, site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination
- Dumbarton Oaks, for its eclectic museums and superb gardens
- Hillwood Museum and Garden, the Merriweather Post mansion
- Tudor Place Historic House, an old Georgetown estate
- The Octagon House, one of the earliest homes remaining from the earliest days of the capital, now devoted to architecture and design
- Washington National Cathedral, Episcopalian cathedral, with ecumenical emphases and cultural programs, site of many of Washington’s major political-religious ceremonies
- National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, on the campus of Catholic University, the largest Catholic church in America
- US Naval Observatory
- Mount Vernon, plantation home of George Washington, a few miles down the Potomac
Museums and galleries
The Smithsonian Institute is a collection of museums that offer one of the most comprehensive collections of art and artifacts in the world. All Smithsonian museums are free and open to the public.
The Smithsonian map can quickly direct you to your choice of web sites for:
- The Anacostia Museum, focusing on African American culture
- The Freer Gallery and Sackler Gallery for Asian art
- The Hirschorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the concrete donut holding modern art, particularly sculpture
- The National Air and Space Museum, the incomparable collection of America's contributions to flying
- The National Museum of African Art
- The National Museum of American History with artifacts from the Star Spangled Banner to Dorothy’s ruby slippers Link to http://americanhistory.si.edu/
- The National Museum of the American Indian
- The National Museum of Natural History, great for kids of all ages who like dinosaur bones, giant cockroaches, sparkling gems, and stuffed everything
- The National Portrait Gallery, unfortunately closed for renovation
- The National Postal Museum, holding the nation's amazing collection of stamps
- The National Zoological Park, now with pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian and all their furry friends
- The American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery
Not all of Washington’s great museums are associated with the Smithsonian.
- The Newseum explores the history of news and reporting
- The Holocaust Museum comprehensively examines the terrible and systematic genocide of Germany’s Nazi regime
- The National Building Museum celebrates architecture, design, planning, and engineering
- The International Spy Museum is the latest addition to the scene
Art museums, in particular, are especially fine.
- The National Gallery of Art has two wings, West for classic and East for modern, both exceptional in terms of collection, architecture, and special exhibits
- The Phillips Collection, America's first modern art museum, is one of the country’s best small galleries
- The Corcoran Gallery of Art has an excellent American collection
- The National Museum of Women in the Arts
- The Kreeger Museum of Modern Art
Finally, there are many art galleries in town, with an especially large concentration nearby, organized as Galleries of Dupont Circle.