It’s been an early morning for us, flying in from New York but we’ve arrived in Washington DC. The city is situated very close to the east coast and was founded as the nation’s capital in 1791. Compared to other capital cities around the world, Washington is very small, covering an area of just under 70 square miles, but don’t get me wrong, it has a lot to offer.

The city is well known for offering some of the nation’s most famous monuments and museums, all in one place. Only 4 blocks away from our hotel was our first stop, America’s best protected residence, the White House. Home of every US president since 1800, the White House was designed by an Irish-born architect and burnt to the ground by the British during the war in 1812. With reconstruction beginning almost immediately, the porous sandstone walls were whitewashed with a mixture of lime, rice glue, casein, and lead, giving the house its familiar colour and name. Today it’s the residence of 45th US President Donald Trump and with the Secret Service guarding the area, you can’t really get close enough to take the perfect photo.

We then strolled down to the National Mall, a 2-mile green strip also known as “the Nation’s front lawn”. The Washington Monument takes center stage at the National Mall standing 555 feet high. This massive marble structure was built to commemorate the first US President, George Washington. However, if you stand in front of the monument, you’ll notice a line about 150 feet from the ground where the marble stones changes colour. This is due to construction stopping in 1854 due to a lack of funds and the intervention of the American Civil War. Construction resumed few years later but the marble stone was sourced from a different quarry, causing a change in shading.

To the east is Capitol Hill and the Capitol building, home of the US Federal Government. To the west is the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King Jr made his famous “I have a dream” speech and where Lincoln sits watching over the reflection pool. To the south is Thomas Jefferson, keeping an eye on the White House from his own memorial, built in the style of Ancient Rome.

Just across the river to the west, not far from the Pentagon, is Arlington National Cemetery, where you’ll see rows and rows and even more rows of tombstones, all dedicated to the soldiers that made, as the Americans say, “the ultimate sacrifice for their country”. This is also the final resting place for President John F. Kennedy and we had the opportunity to visit his grave, marked by the eternal flame.

We also popped in at the Air and Space Museum where we found everything ranging from the Wright Brothers’ first plane to the latest Boeing 747 and space shuttles. This museum is free to enter and an absolute must see when you visit DC.