History & Heritage

History & Heritage: The country’s history starts with ours.

Visiting the Smithsonian American Art Museum & Renwick Gallery

Wander through three centuries of American art The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC is one of the largest and most expansive collections of American art in the world. The museum’s two locations, the main building in Penn Quarter and the Renwick Gallery in Downtown , represent...

Smithsonian American Art Museum - Washington, DC
Southwest Waterfront: Past, Present & Future

Located at the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, the land has been shaped and reshaped by visionaries who profited from the Southwest Waterfront ’s abundant natural resources. Today, visitors have much to see in this unique neighborhood a few blocks from the National Mall . The Past...

Southwest Waterfront skyline
Turning Back the Clock with Virginia Ali

You might have heard that Washington, DC has experienced a significant resurgence in recent years, as new restaurants, retail and attractions flock to the city. Few people have witnessed as much change in the District as Virginia Ali, who along with her husband Ben opened up the DC institution Ben’...

bens chili bowl
3 Days of African American History & Heritage in Washington, DC

Morning Start your day at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial . Opened in summer 2011, the memorial was designed as a lasting tribute to Dr. King's legacy and will forever serve as a monument to the freedom, opportunity and justice for which he stood. It is the first federal memorial to honor a....

MLK Memorial at Night - National Mall - Washington, DC
Visiting the Washington National Cathedral

Stained-glass windows, Gothic spires and flying buttresses make the Washington National Cathedral look ages old, but the grand church was actually constructed during the 20th century. Though overseen by the Episcopal Church, the house of worship welcomes people of all faiths to its impressive site...

National Cathedral Exterior
7 Ways to Experience the Obamas’ Washington, DC

In addition to being the First Family of the United States, the Obamas are also big fans of Washington, DC, regularly getting out into the neighborhoods and on the National Mall . Local blogs and newspapers often report on unexpected date nights at a hot restaurant, a surprise visit to a boutique...

resident Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk from Marine One on the South Lawn upon arrival at the White House following a trip to California, June 16, 2014
Visiting the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

Where and what is the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial? The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is the first national memorial dedicated to the tragic events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. All 184 lives lost in the attack on the Pentagon are represented by “Memorial Unit” benches. Surrounding the...

pentagon memorial
3 Days in President Lincoln's Footsteps in Washington, DC

Morning Start your day at the Lincoln Memorial . Lincoln’s statue gazes out across Memorial Bridge to Arlington National Cemetery , which was home to Robert E. Lee’s former estate. Hop into a cab to visit President Lincoln’s Cottage . Lincoln spent his summers here in 1862, 1863 and 1864, a...

Lincoln Memorial
100 Free & Almost Free Things to Do: African American History & Culture

Washington, DC’s history is entwined with its large population of African American residents, as evidenced by the more than 200 sites on the African American Heritage Trail in the city. Here are more than 20 important sites that celebrate the history and experience of African Americans in the...

Funk parade
3 Days of Favorites in the Nation's Capital

Morning The National Mall , home to many of the museums of the Smithsonian Institution , is a great place to start your day. See the magnificent jewels, dinosaurs and mammals on display at the National Museum of Natural History ; the airplanes and interactive flight simulators at the National Air...