Sally’s Adventures: Things to do in the nation’s capital

There’s no shortage of things to see and do in Washington, D.C.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:05 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2023 at 6:03 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (WSFA) - Washington, D.C. is a destination for many, and there’s a two-hour direct flight from Montgomery Regional Airport. Once there, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

The National Mall is known as America’s front yard. Its memorials and museums tell the story of the people and events that shaped the nation.

“The National Mall encompasses probably a dozen of the most famous monuments and memorials,” said National Mall spokesman Mike Litterst.

The oldest and perhaps most famous of those is the Washington Monument, which towers 555 feet above the city.

“It is America’s grandest tribute to probably her greatest founding father, George Washington.” Litterst said.

The Lincoln Memorial honors America’s 16th president. Litterst said it’s almost equally as famous today as the site of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. King gave that speech 18 steps from the top of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

The National Mall also includes a memorial that honors King. A 30-foot statue of the civil rights leader serves as the centerpiece.

Washington D.C is also where America pays tribute to our fallen heroes. Some of these spots include the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial and, most recently, the World War I Memorial.

The National Mall also houses several museums, including the National Air and Space Museum.

“The National Air and Space Museum looks at the incredible things we’ve done in the air, whether that’s flying through the skies or visiting the moon,” said museum spokeswoman Amy Stamm.

The museum maintains the world’s largest and most significant collection of aviation and space artifacts. For example, it houses the Wright Flyer, which made the first airplane flight in 1903, plus Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit, the spacecraft used to get to the moon, plus commercial and sport airliners.

The museum tells the story of the people and communities who helped the world take flight and aims to inspire a new generation of explorers.

“We talk about how in order to get to the moon, 400,000 people were involved in that and they were from all kinds of states, all kinds of cities, including Alabama,” said Stamm.

One museum in Washington, D.C. lets you go undercover. It’s the International Spy Museum.

“In every story anyone knows from history, there’s usually an intelligence or espionage component. So we kind of get to tell all of these stories of world history but with some extra spice to it,” said the museum’s media relations manager, Aliza Bran.

Visitors can test their spy skills at eight interactive exhibits. You can take on a spy mission with a cover identity during your visit, test your hiding skills, crawl through an air vent without blowing your cover or see if you can fit into a small car compartment.

Guests can also see the tools spies used throughout history, like a lipstick pistol and hidden cameras. If you catch it, you can see a legendary James Bond car come to life. The Aston Martin that Bond drove in “Goldfinger” is on display at the museum. It has machine guns and an ejector seat.

“There’s definitely a lot of spying going on in Washington, D.C., so it’s fun to be able to tell that story,” Bran said.

One piece of advice for Washington travelers is to wear comfortable shoes, as you will likely do a lot of walking. There are too many incredible features at every location to list here, so be sure discover more on your next visit. Click here to see more things to do.

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