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Washington Holidays Overview

Washington D.C., known to be the second most visited city in America and the most powerful city in the world, attracts millions of travellers each year with its countless museums, marble architectures and monuments.

One thing that you need to have is a lot of time whenever you visit Washington D.C. Cash might not be such a problem as many of the museums are free of cost and most of the famous sights can easily be covered on a budget, but you need a lot of time to explore the plethora of museums, art galleries and magnificent architectures that the city has to offer.

Any trip to Washington D.C. must include a visit to the grand Smithsonian museums, the iconic Library of Congress, the Capitol Hill, the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool and the White House. But, thatís just the tip of what the city has to offer. Apart from its important landmarks and grand architectures, Washington D.C. is also considered to be one of the best places to understand the history of America. Those looking for something more cosmopolitan can check out the National Zoo, enjoy an outdoor concert at the Capitol Hill, visit the various shopping arcades in Georgetown, explore the natural expanses and fiery Salvadoran cuisines offered by Mt. Pleasant or immerse themselves in one of the many bars or nightclubs located all over the city.

The soul of Washington might be its politics and the locals are famous for convincing you that youíre wrong, even when youíre dead right, but then thatís the way the city functions and that is how the people have been grown up Ė they can be as intellectually stimulating as the greatest minds of Manhattan or as open and comfortable as the Irish. It is true that all Washingtonians are extremely opinionated, but they are also known to be friendly and warm.

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Washington holidays - Top Places To Go

1. National Mall
What is it? Extending for over two miles (3km) from the US Capitol to the Potomac River, the tree-lined grassy strip known as the National Mall is the central hub of tourist activity in the city, containing many of Washington DC's most famous attractions. It is home to the tapering Washington Monument, the Lincoln, Roosevelt and Jefferson Memorials, the Capitol, White House, the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Gallery of Art. The Mall is at the heart of the city's social life, the site for many celebrations and festivals throughout the year, and used by scores of joggers, picnickers, food vendors and strollers daily. The Tidal Basin, a beautiful lake famous for its spring show of blossoming Japanese cherry trees, lies to the south. Hours of Operation: The park is open 24 hours daily Phone:(202) 426 6841 (Visitor information)



2. US Capitol
Capitol Hill
What is it? The heart of American government is also Washington, DC's most prominent landmark, the US Capitol, which is sited on the top of Capitol Hill, its giant white dome visible from all over the city. It is the city's top tourist attraction, as well as the most recognised symbol of democracy, and contains the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world. Under the magnificent dome, US governmental policy is shaped and the law of the land is practiced. The interior is richly embellished, with hundreds of statues filling Statuary Hall in honour of important people in the country's history, while paintings and murals decorate the hallways and walls of the Rotunda, depicting 400 years of American history. The enormous circular hall capped by the 180ft (55m) high dome is the hub of the Capitol, with a symbolic fresco masterpiece at its centre. The Rotunda links the north and south wings, the two halves of the Capitol that contain the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, and flags flying over either wing indicate which part of Congress is in session. Hours of Operation: Open from Monday to Saturday between 9am and 4.30pm. Closed Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Access is by guided tour only, every 30 minutes and tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis. To view Congress in session, Americans can get a free pass from their senator or representative valid for two years, and foreign nationals can get a free day pass from the House or Senate appointment desks. Due to increased security it is advised that all visitors phone ahead for up to date information regarding tours Phone:(202) 224 3121 (general information), (202) 225 6827 (tour information)



3. The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
What is it? The White House has been the private residence and administrative headquarters of every President of the United States since 1800. Today an American flag flies over the house whenever the president is in residence. Situated at the edge of the National Mall, the palatial building has undergone numerous alterations over the years, which have included refurnishing and expansion, the addition of the first toilets by Jefferson, and electricity added during Harrison's presidency, as well as personal inclusions by each of its presidential occupants. The White House was adapted to the needs of Roosevelt who suffered polio and a swimming pool was installed; Jacqueline Kennedy developed the famous Rose Garden; Clinton added a jogging track, hot tub and humidor; and the most recent addition is Bush's horseshoe-throwing lane. Tours visit several rooms on the Ground and State Floors, including the Oval Office, the State Dining Room with seating for 140 dinner or luncheon guests, and the Gold and White East Room that is the publicised scene of presidential receptions and other social events. The top two floors are private. The custom that allows free public tours of the president's private home is only stopped during wartime, and since the events of 11 September 2001 the US considers itself to be fighting a War on Terrorism; public tours have been suspended for the time being. The visitor centre provides interesting historical information about the residence and its occupants. Hours of Operation: The White House is usually open for free tours from Tuesday to Saturday from 7.30am to 11.30am, with additional tours in summer, but visitors need to queue early at the visitor centre to get a ticket. At present tours are limited to certain groups due to increased security and all visitors are advised to phone ahead for up to date information regarding tours. The White House Visitor Center is open daily from 7.30am to 4pm Phone:(202) 208 1631 (White House Visitor Center), or (202) 456 7041 (for up to date, 24-hr tour information)



Washington holidays - Top Events


1. National Cherry Blossom Festival

From 2007-03-31

To 2007-04-15

What is it? One of Washington DC's most famous events, the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the arrival of spring, and commemorates the original gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the city from the people of Tokyo in 1912 as a symbol of friendship between the two countries. Visitors flock to the city to admire the beautiful pink and white blossoms that surround the Tidal Basin and to join in the festivities that include a cultural blend of music, dance and art demonstrations and performances from Japan and Washington, a fireworks display and parade. The Parade is the festival's biggest event with spectacular floats, marching bands, costumed dance groups and giant helium balloons. A Japanese Street Festival after the parade exhibits the traditions, arts and food of Japan. Where is it? Tidal Basin



2. Smithsonian Folklife Festival

From 2007-06-30

To 2007-07-06

What is it? The Folklife Festival is a unique Washington DC tradition and is the largest annual cultural event in the city. It is a living cultural exhibition that celebrates the heritage of different states and regions as well as international communities, and includes music and dance performances, craft demonstrations, storytelling, exhibits, traditional food and cooking demonstrations, and workshops. Where is it? National Mall



3. National Independence Day Celebration

From 2007-07-04

To 2007-07-04

What is it? One of the largest Fourth of July celebrations in the country, the capital puts on a grand show to celebrate the nation's birthday, with the city's biggest and most impressive parade, music concerts, arts and crafts, an evening performance by the National Symphony Orchestra on the steps of the Capitol building, and one of the country's largest fireworks displays. Where is it? National Mall



4. Chinese New Year Parade

From 2006-11-18

To 2006-11-18

What is it? Welcoming in the Chinese Lunar New Year are spectacular lion and dragon dancers accompanied by the celebratory sounds of drummers, musicians and firecrackers. The colourful festivities wind through the streets of Chinatown where authentic food is laid on by the local restaurants. For more information contact the Washington DC Convention and Tourism Corporation on 202 789 7000. In 2007 begins the Year of the Boar. Where is it? Chinatown



5. St Patrick's Day Parade

From 2007-03-18

To 2007-03-18

What is it? Due to its increasing popularity this annual event has been dubbed 'The Nation's St Patrick's Day Parade' and is a family day in celebration of the Irish culture. The festivities include Irish musicians, dancers and singers, marching bands, pipe bands and floats. Where is it? Constitution Avenue




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About This Page

Information on Washington Holidays, Washington Hotels, Holiday Packages in Washington (city breaks, short stays, all inclusive and luxury deals). Also provides links and resources to Air Travel, Flights and Washington Car Hire Options

Holidays Travel Guide content part sourced rom, copyright © Globe Media Ltd. By its very nature much of the information contained in the travel guide is subject to change at short notice. Travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevent authorities. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to a person as result of information contained above.