Top Cultural Icons: Arlington National Cemetery, the US Capitol Building & More

Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia, USA promise some of the most iconic spectacles of the country’s history and culture. Walk amid one of the oldest military burial grounds in the country at the Arlington National Cemetery, learn about the country’s presidential history at the Washington Monument and the National Mall and follow the journey of freedom seekers at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway. Explore America's storied past in one — or all — of these 11 landmarks, museums and monuments in Capital Region USA.

The White House, Washington, DC, USA

As the official residence of the United States president, the White House is not just a political place of interest. Gaze upon the lawn’s Commemorative Tree Plantings, some of which are from the 1800s (for the closest view, see the house from the north side along Lafayette Park), or witness the glorious National Christmas Tree lighting up during the holidays. Take a rose-garden tour, or stop by the White House Visitor Center for exhibits, galleries and a retail shop.

Did you know? The White House boasts a tennis court, jogging track, swimming pool, movie theater, billiards room and bowling lane for the First Family's recreation.

US Captiol Building, Washington, DC, USA

A trip through American landmarks isn’t complete without a visit to the US Capitol Building. See firsthand where the United States Congress — consisting of two branches of lawmakers — has convened since 1800 and admire the cast-iron dome, arched ceilings, statues and fountains.

Did you know? Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president, was the first one sworn in on the capitol’s steps in 1801.

Washington Monument & the National Mall, Washington, DC, USA

The National Mall connects and borders more than 20 esteemed attractions around Washington, DC’s city centre. On the western-most line of the 2-mile (3-km) park, the Washington Monument stands proudly as a tribute to the first American President, George Washington, whose military leadership was vital in the country’s founding.

Did you know? The Washington Monument was the tallest building in the world in 1884, when its construction finished. Additionally, the National Mall has served as a gathering place for American celebrations and civic demonstrations for more than 200 years.

Smithsonian Museums

The Smithsonian Institution boasts a wealth of galleries and educational exhibits, with 20 total museums  in the United States. From the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian American Art Museum to the National Air and Space Museum, these must-see treasures offer insight into US history and culture.

Did you know? Seventeen of these museums are located in Washington, DC (11 of which are within the National Mall), with one (the Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center), in Chantilly, Virginia, USA.

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, USA

Visit the final resting place of presidents, military heroes and more than 400,000 of America's veterans among the green rolling hills of Arlington National Cemetery. Discover the history of the cemetery by scheduling a tour.

Did you know? Notable memorials include the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the burial site of President John F. Kennedy.

Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC, USA

With 112 gargoyles and 215 stained-glass windows adding to its beauty, Washington National Cathedral is the second-largest cathedral in the US. The church is known as a safe haven for spiritual gatherings and offers visitors tours, worship services, tributes, concerts and recitals. Schedule a sightseeing tour of the cathedral.

Did you know? You’ll find the bust of "Star Wars" villain Darth Vader carved into a gargoyle upon the cathedral's northwest tower, the result of a carving competition while the tower was under construction in the 1980s.

Monticello, Virginia, USA

Just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, you can tour the scenic mountaintop home and gardens of President Thomas Jefferson. Get a day pass for the grounds and house, or take a closer look at how enslaved people worked and lived on the plantation.

Did you know? Monticello is Italian for "little mountain."

Mount Vernon, Virginia, USA

Perched on the banks of the Potomac River and featuring idyllic landscapes, a resorted mansion and interesting artefacts sits the estate of George Washington, America’s first president. Plan your visit to Mount Vernon to experience the impressive homestead, gardens, galleries and Washington’s tomb.

Did you know? Mount Vernon is named after British Navy Admiral Edward Vernon. Learn more about him and Washington on a multilingual audio tour of the estate.

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

Step back in time with a visit to this historic town that recreates early Colonial life in Williamsburg, Virginia. Explore the blacksmith shop, courthouse, hospital, homes and other restored buildings. Shop in the Merchants Square, have a hearty meal in a tavern, and consider spending the night at the ornate Williamsburg Inn or its surrounding accommodations.

Did you know? Although Richmond is the state capital of Virginia today, Williamsburg held that honour for most of the 18th century.

Library of Congress, Washington, DC, USA

Stretching across three buildings on Washington, DC’s Capitol Hill, America’s oldest federal institution and largest library offers much more than breathtaking Gilded Age architecture. Inside the Library of Congress, you’ll find art galleries, exhibits showcasing relics — including a rough draft of one of the most foundational United States documents in history, the Declaration of Independence — and more wonders. Explore the Library of Congress’ current exhibitions.

Did you know? The library contains more than 158 million books sitting on 838 miles of bookshelves; while visitors cannot rent books, there are reading rooms available by appointment in each building.

Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland, USA

This Sharpsburg, Maryland, USA national park commemorates the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single-day battle in the American Civil War. With majestic statues and monuments, a library, field-hospital museum, visitor centre, church and cemetery, there’s no shortage of intrigue and information to find here. Check out our three-day Civil War discovery itinerary.

Did you know? The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest single-day battle in the Civil War, leaving more than 23,000 soldiers killed, wounded, or missing.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, Maryland, USA

Explore this scenic and historic drive to 45 sites related to the legendary activist Harriet Tubman, who risked her life to lead hundreds of enslaved people to freedom. See where she grew up, worked and escaped her captors. Discover other places to celebrate the life of Harriet Tubman in Washington, DC, USA.

Did you know? The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park & Visitor Center in Maryland, USA features exhibits, audio guides, a shop and seasonal interpretive programmes.