Washington DC: What to see around The Mall!

Washington DC

A piece of history, just like that. Sometimes this job takes you to places you never imagined. And sometimes you will find yourself in the most interesting moments of history. When I got to Washington, it was shortly after the new American president was elected – and two days before Christmas Eve. The city was empty, everything was being prepared for Christmas or the new president, and a strange atmosphere was taking over. Like the silence before the storm.

eisenhower building washington dc

The White House: Goodbye, Obama!

For the first time in my life I stood in front of the White House, a building I’ve seen numerous times on the news. Isn’t it strange, when you see a familiar place from TV in real life for the first time? I imagined the White House much bigger – it was so huge in my imagination, I was a little disappointed.

washington

While Obama was probably packing his boxes inside, I decided to continue my sightseeing tour and headed towards the Mall.

Washington, DC, and its architecture

lincoln memorial washington dc

Somehow, the architecture in Washington seemed different to me. Parts are supposed to look ancient greek or roman, and in the end it seems like a wild mixture through the world’s history.
washington architecture

At the Mall, a kilometer-long huge alley, you will find most of the important buildings: the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the huge Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial itself.

lincoln memorial reflecting pool washington dc

Although everything was impressive only due to the sheer size, I can’t say I was flashed. And I really had to pee!

kapitol washington dc

But there was no public toilet around at the enourmous Mall. I decided to enter one of the museums along the Mall. It was cold anyway and maybe I’d find something interesting there, too. I found out that the entrance was free, can you believe it?  If I would have read my travel guide more thoroughly, I’d would have known that before:

Most museums in Washington, DC, offer free entrance!

the mall washington dc

And that’s how I got into the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – and I was impressed!

At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington

The quality of the exhibition was exceptionally good, and although I’m not a big fan of Natural History Museums in general, I was genuinely surprised. There were also volunteers in some parts, showing visitors insects, answering questions and having fun with the huge amount of kids around.

national museum of natural history washington dc

Personally, I fell in love with the Butterfly Garden! Thousand of exotic butterflies in a tropical mini-jungle flying around you! So exciting to see those wonderful creatures close!

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  1. Great photos of DC! I have been wanting to go back and really tour the capitol as an adult. We went as kids on a field trip and I didn’t quite appreciate all the history and importance back then. I would love to go back to the Smithsonian especially!

  2. I’m going to DC in 2 weeks so I’ll look forward to checking out a lot of this. The city has such beautiful architecture. I can’t wait!

  3. Ahh, but the butterfly gardens aren’t free. I think you hit DC on the head. You come for the monuments but stay for the museums. You have seen each and every one of the monuments so often that you NEED to see them in person. They are big. The museums are, perhaps, the best free attraction anywhere. Where else can you see the Hope Diamond, an Apollo capsule and the American flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner.

  4. Lovely pictures. I specially liked the street with the leafless trees, the close up shot of the Roman lettering and the one with the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

  5. I was just in DC and went to see where Obama is moving to. We found the house, and low and behold, there were moving trucks parked outside and security teams installing cameras. Not surprisingly, Obama and Michelle were not there carrying in any boxes…

  6. I’ve heard lots of others tell me that when they got there it was much smaller than they had imagined – it is funny seeing buildings that seem familiar to you in real life though! The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool looks so beautiful and peaceful though, I could do a lot of thinking there.

  7. It’s always so interesting to see how places compare to what you had always imagined, isn’t it? We felt the same way when we saw the White House and some of the monuments. I love that the Smithsonian Museums are free too!

  8. I love visiting Washington D.C. All the beautiful monuments and architectural buildings are truly fascinating. The first time I visit Washington D.C., I was surprised that it offered free museums too but I couldn’t be more happier. I love learning and exploring new things so it really made my trip better.

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