Trying to pick the top five things to do in the DC area is like a Smothers Brothers comedy routine. Mom always liked you best; no she always liked you best, how are you supposed to choose? But choose I must. As a native of the area I've had the good fortune to run up the stairs of the Washington Monument as a child with my out of town cousins and dip my feet in the Reflecting Pool on a hot summer day. Since the stairs of the monument are now off limits and the Park Police frown on cooling your feet you will have to settle for a few snapshots of my favorite places in the DC area.
Lets face it no one can resist a Panda Bear. So of course you have to put the National Zoo on the list. Besides the Panda's there are of course Lions, Tigers and Bears. With the beautiful setting nestled in Northwest DC the National Zoo is a place that you can enjoy at any age. Bring a picnic and make a day of it. Personally I'm always taken in by the Otters. Any creature that gets to lie on its back in the water and shuck oysters has my vote!
No trip to DC is complete without visiting Arlington Cemetery. Though it isn't a place that you hear people laughing, it is a place where you find reverence and history. Whether you are stopping at the eternal flame at JFK's gravesite, watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns or looking over the grounds from the Lee-Custis Mansion you can't help but reflect on all of hero's known and unknown that keep America free.
Great Falls National Park in McLean Virginia is one of the wonderful National Parks in our area that residents and visitors can enjoy. With over 800 acres and 15 miles of trails weekend hikers can find plenty of room to roam. Even more impressive than the trails are the falls themselves and watching the kayakers who take them on. Watching the daredevils on a summer day can't help but cool you down a bit and make you think about the first travelers who may have pondered how to cross the river at this awesome spot.
You can't help but feel a little smarter knowing that you are surrounded by so much knowledge when you visit the Library of Congress. Started with the donation of the Thomas Jefferson book collection in 1815 the library now houses the largest rare book collection in the U.S. The books aren't the only attraction. The architecture of the building which was once considered controversial was called "the largest the largest, the costliest, and the safest" library when it was officially dedicated in 1897.
The fifth choice is definitely the hardest. If I'm forced to stop at five then I'll have to go with the Lincoln Memorial at night. Designed after the Parthenon in Athens the 36 columns represent the number of states in the union at the time Lincoln was assonated. Famous for not only honoring our 16th US President but also where Martin Luther King stood and made his famous "I have a Dream Speech" in 1963 and where so many gather today to reflect how far our country has come.
If you are coming to visit the area this summer make sure you bring plenty of water and call on your local Active Rain friends for a tour of our town. We always love to show off the famous and infamous spots around town.
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