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The nation’s capital is chock-full of historic sites and landmarks that’ll take you through the country’s founding and development. Here are the top five spots you need to check out if you’re interested in learning about American history during your trip.

Visit the U.S. Capitol

Head over to the stately Capitol Building, overlooking the National Mall, to see how America drafts, debates, and passes legislation, creating the law of the country. You’ll love getting to witness democracy in action—and who knows, you might just catch a congressman or senator pacing the building.

First St NE, Washington, DC 20515
(202) 226-8000

White House

You can’t visit DC without taking some time to check out the stunning White House, home to the U.S. president. While you can’t walk into the president’s residence itself, you can make your way to the White House Visitors Center, where you’ll have the chance to learn about the history the home and its presidential inhabitants.

1450 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20230
(202) 208-1631

Library of Congress

This Washington, DC institution happens to house the Declaration of Independence, meaning it’s a must-see for anyone interested in American history. While you’re there, take in the gorgeous, expansive interior and browse through the stacks of books.

Thomas Jefferson Building
10 First Street SE
Washington, DC 20540
(202) 707-8000

National Portrait Gallery

Until the 1960s, the building that is now home to the National Portrait Gallery served as the U.S. Patent Office. The museum continues to be a store of inspiration and innovation, with plenty of must-see art pieces that pay tribute to the country’s history.

8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC 20001
(202) 633-8300

Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial

Walk over to the National Mall to take a look at two of DC’s top historic sites, the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. Each spot pays tribute to one of the country’s most impactful presidents, giving you a chance to reflect on and learn about their contributions.

2 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20024
2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037