No place says America more than Washington, D.C. During an especially divisive election year, we want to share the top five Washington, D.C., must-see things that remind us of what we as Americans have to be proud of, and why America is an outstanding country to call home.

Memorials and monuments

The Nation’s capital is rife with monuments and memorials that don’t simply remind us of historical events and significant figures, but provide deep, meaningful insight into the struggles and triumphs that the United States has faced. Our personal favorite is the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial on the Tidal Basin. This meandering, park-like memorial is much more than a tribute to a great American president, it is an experience that enables visitors to explore a tumultuous period marked by many of the same struggles the country faces today.

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Freedom of speech is one of America’s most cherished ideals. We feel like the ability to create and express as one sees fit is no better represented than at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on the National Mall. We are always delighted at the power that modern art has to explore challenging ideas in innovative and disruptive new ways, and grateful to live in a country where that expression is not suppressed.


When your long days in Washington, D.C., call for a break, you don’t have step out of the spirit on your visit. We recommend grabbing a bite at Busboys and Poets. The 14th Street corridor flagship location is at once a restaurant, bookstore, and performance space, so there is a lot more to do here than just grab a latte or a salad. As we shared in our LGBT guide to Washington, D.C., this is where you come to feel the spirit of democracy in action.

Viewfinder Tip: Many representatives have a weekly constituent event, such as a coffee hour. Check with their offices.


Head to Capitol Hill and request a tour of the United States Capitol building from your State Representative’s office (well in advance). Why? A tour of the United States Capitol building puts you right in the center of the action. Walking those hallowed halls will undoubtedly leave you with a better understanding of the political system. More importantly, you’ll likely leave with a sense of what it means to have a voice and strengthened desire to be a more active part of the community of people being represented in Washington, D.C.


When visiting Washington, D.C., a sobering visit to Arlington National Cemetery is a must-do. We feel strongly that, to fully appreciate what our nation stands for, it is important to honor the sacrifice of the women and men who have given their life for the freedoms we enjoy. It is also incredibly powerful to see a broad range of individuals and beliefs—Christians, Muslims, atheists—represented by those stark white headstones. It reminds us that there is great strength in our diversity. It also reminds us that the freedoms we often take for granted are costly gifts that we must treasure.

What’s your favorite Washington, D.C., attraction?