The summer 2015 class of Newsmax interns hit the streets of Washington, D.C., to explore, report, and learn. This series features a look at D.C., including monuments, memorials, and museums, through the eyes of a Millennial.
Everyone knows about the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, but there are plenty of other attractions in the Washington, D.C., area that tourists are encouraged to visit.
Some of these places may not be right in the Constitutional Gardens with the well-known and popularly visited sites, but these gems recommended by members of the National Park Service and D.C. tour guides are places that should not be missed.
Here are some must-see landmarks to visit:
1. Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum
At first mention, the postal museum may not sound like the most exciting spot, but it is for more than the avid philatelists. Featuring stamp galleries of more than 20,000 objects and old mailing planes, boats, and wagons, this place puts a unique twist on what you might find at the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History.
“It’s surprisingly really good and really interesting,” National Park Service guide Robert Hughes told Newsmax. “I think people when they go are surprised by how interesting it is. It tells the history of our country, which is really, really good.”
2. Women in Military Service for America Memorial
Though visitors may see the women’s memorial by the Vietnam Wall, another tribute — his time to all the females who have served — rests in Arlington Cemetery to commemorate the courage and sacrifice of the nearly 2 million women throughout history.
“Women matter,” Old Town Trolley Tours sales representative Eboni Lynch told Newsmax. “We also served in the different branches, and I just think a lot of people overlook it, or they don’t memorialize it too much. You should go see that.”
3. African American Civil War Memorial
This almost secretive treasure recognizes the sacrifices of African Americans who fought for their freedom and to save the Union. It rests nearby the African American Civil War Museum, which tells the story of the individuals that fought as well.
“It took a long time for that to get in,” NPS laborer Eric Lewis said. “It has a lot of historical value.”
4. The National Building Museum
Learn about the architecture of the city, the history of what “home” has meant throughout the centuries, and the tools of the trade in designing and constructing buildings and bridges. Currently, the BEACH exhibit allows visitors to swim through an ocean of translucent plastic balls, but hurry because it only lasts until September 7.
“It’s another amazing site,” Hughes added. “It’s really interesting. It’s off the beaten track.”
5. National Police and Law Enforcement Memorial
Located right at the Judiciary Square Metro station, this memorial reminds visitors of the sacrifice local law enforcement makes for the country.
“I think it’s really beautiful, and people don’t think about,” Hughes said. “It honors law enforcement officers from all over the country who have fallen . . . When we think about the military memorials, of course, and honoring those who have fallen, but I think our law enforcement are important too. I think people see it, and they’re like, ‘Wow! This is something.’”
6. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Secluded by the tidal basin, the FDR memorial honors the 34th president of the United States and spans seven and a half acres of land. It features quotes from and statues of the four-term president as well as events that occurred during his period in office, including a bread line as a nod to the Great Depression.
“FDR was our U.S. President during a crisis of life,” National Park Service gardner John Wehrli told Newsmax in explanation of why the spot is important.
7. National Harbor, Maryland
This small downtown area features shops and space to walk along the banks of the Potomac River. A Ferris wheel is found off the dock, and Saturdays feature a fresh fish market.
“They have lots of sites there,” Lynch said. “They also have children’s museums and building museums. It’s a great family way of getting out and looking at sites other than the National Mall.”
8. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
The MLK memorial is the newest major addition currently on the National Mall. It honors the civil rights movement King led with an engraving of the leader himself into a giant granite stone and features quotes from his speeches.
“MLK used language instead of violence,” Wehrli told Newsmax on the significance of honoring King.
“It’s been a long time getting there, and I think it’s very pretty there with the granite and stone,” Lewis said.
9. Sewall-Belmost House and Museum
Capturing the story of how women eventually earned their suffrage and other rights, this museum captures the spirit of the movement and highlights the characters who helped achieve it. The museum also covers the National Women’s Party and its fight for gender equality.
“You should check that out,” Lynch said. “Women have been through a lot. We’ve come a long way, and we still have a long way to go. It tells the story of voting.”
10. Crime and Punishment Museum
This site takes visitors on a journey showing how criminals were punished far into the past until today. It also features the stories of some of history’s most well known criminals. The television show “America’s Most Wanted” is also filmed there, and people can even watch the show as it is being produced.
“It’s only one way in and one way out, and you get a little bit of history about how crimes were punished from the very beginning with tools and everything they used,” Lynch said. “It’s interesting. That would be one of the best museums.”
11. D.C. War Memorial
Located in between the World War II and Lincoln Memorials, this secluded gazebo-like memorial on the National Mall remembers those from the District who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I.
“For years it’s been neglected. Just recently they cleared away around the brush,” Lewis said. “It was one of the first war memorials dedicated to the city of Washington, D.C.”
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