Top 5 Must Do's in Washington D.C.

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With an abundance of history, natural beauty and architectural wonders on hand, Washington D.C. remains one of the greatest world capitals you'll ever visit. Here are five locations you cannot afford to miss during your stay.

1. The National Mall - This massive stretch of open space houses some of the most popular attractions in all of D.C. Begin your journey with a tour of the U.S. Capitol building, including the breathtaking rotunda. Work your way down the mall until you reach the over 500 feet tall Washington Monument. Then head towards the flurry of war memorials including the National World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the stark Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Stroll alongside the reflecting pool before ending your journey with an ascent up the grand staircase of the Lincoln Memorial.

2. The Smithsonian - Many of the Smithsonian Museums actually line the National Mall, including the Sculpture Garden, the National Museum of African Art, the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of American History. The National Air and Space Museum, featuring the Apollo Lunar Module, the 1903 Wright Flyer and The Spirit of St. Louis, remains the most popular of the Smithsonian museums. The National Portrait Gallery, the American Art Museum and the National Zoo lie outside the mall but offer equally fascinating exhibits.

3. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - This remarkable museum serves as a chilling memorial to the genocide of six million Jews in World War II Europe. The exhibits relay hundreds of artifacts, historic footage and photographs relating to the period. The Hall of Remembrance, a somber candle filled room, is the perfect place to end and reflect on your visit.

4. Ford's Theater - The site of President Abraham Lincoln's 1865 assassination, Ford's Theater has been exquisitely preserved to reflect that time period. You can peer into the balcony where Lincoln sat that evening or tour the on-site museum which houses assassin John Wilkes Booth's diary, as well as the gun he used on the president. Admission to the theater also grants you access to the Petersen House across the street, the home where Lincoln died.

5. Washington National Cathedral - This grand gothic masterpiece boasts stunning stained-glass windows and vaulted ceilings. The Pilgrim Observation Gallery, atop one of the cathedral’s towers, offers an extraordinary view of D.C. The cathedral also serves as the resting place for Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan and President Woodrow Wilson.

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